Diagnosing Slow Internet Speed – WHS 105 – The Wired Homeschool

Internet Too Slow

I often get asked about how people can speed up their Internet connection. To begin with, there is no software that can do this. If someone is trying to sell you software that they claim will speed up your Internet connection avoid them. It’s snake oil. There are some very easy things you can do yourself to diagnose a resolve a slow Internet connection. Before you begin diagnosing get a baseline for your connection speed using SpeedTest.net. Run it on every device possible.

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1. Restart Everything – Shut off everything and restart devices in this order: Cable modem > Router > Computer(s) connected to your router > Wireless devices like iPods, iPads, gaming consoles, etc. As you start each device test your connection speed from a computer connected directly to your home router (if you have one). Most of the time the process of restarting devices will clear up the problem. If you figure out which device on your network is causing the problem you can begin troubleshooting there.

Use an Internet speed test to diagnose slow Internet speeds

2. Verify Internet connected software is working properly – It could be that you have a security update or cloud backup software that’s using up your bandwidth. It could also be iTunes trying to download a HD movie. Check various software packages to make sure they’re not the cause. A few years ago I noticed with Skype on iOS 6 that my son had on his iPod it would flood my wireless network.

3. Connect your computer to your cable modem – Most people use routers at home and the problem could be your home router. If software or other devices don’t appear to be the culprit, connect your home computer directly to your cable modem and run check your speeds. If you’re still experiencing slow speeds and you’re sure you’ve verified that all your computers and devices are working correctly the problem could be with your ISP. Pick up the phone and make the call.

Sometimes when you’re running a speed test you’ll find the culprit quickly. Maybe you get slow speeds on your child’s laptop but everything else runs great. You can now zero in on the laptop and skip all the other diagnosing. Problems that affect every device on your home network can be a little more difficult to ferret out so you need to be methodical in your approach to resolving the problem.

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