Why is my internet so slow? Common causes and expert tips

September 2, 2021

There’s nothing worse than slow internet. Watching the buffer wheel continuously spinning, or the infamous egg timer hovered around your mouse cursor is a tedious annoyance that happens to everyone. What’s worse than slow internet speeds? Having slow internet whilst you’re at work trying to meet a deadline, host an important virtual meeting or researching for a new project. Uncooperative internet speeds are a burden to any business, workplace or home slowing down the productivity,  workflow and even interrupting a streaming session of your favourite television series! 

But what causes slow internet speeds? We’re going to debunk common myths about slow internet as well as discussing different factors that can cause your internet speed to work slower without you noticing.

Myths about slow internet speeds 

The more users, the slower the speed– This is a common misconception regarding internet speeds. Although more people online using the same connection can cause internet slowdowns, this is because the router or server being used isn’t suitable for multiple users. If you have the right internet infrastructure or package in place, multiple users shouldn’t affect the speeds of the internet. 

The closer you are to the router, the better the connection – Of course, server proximity is a factor in internet speeds. You need to be within the specified range of your internet server in order to pick up a signal.  However, it’s not a major factor. If the infrastructure of the internet a mile before your home or office is poor or doesn’t have a great connection, then your router won’t perform well for you. Congestion is also important. You could be sat next to your internet router, but if congestion is bad at another location along with your connection, then you will still experience slower internet speeds.  

Speed boosting software can help- Speed boosting software bought over the internet is most often a scam. This ‘software’ has been available since phone dial-up internet was the only option and has never been proven to work. Don’t get scammed trying to improve your internet speeds. Perhaps, you could take a look at your own data management and clean up file software as this can have a small positive impact on internet speeds.

What can cause slower internet speeds? 

As you’ve probably gathered, there are many different factors that can cause internet speeds to plummet. It’s important to ensure that the broadband package you have installed is the right one for your needs. If you have an office space and need to supply internet to 20 people simultaneously, your needs will obviously differ from that of a person who needs internet access for a family home. Often, one of the biggest contributors to slow internet speeds is that the wrong device and internet package is in place that isn’t suitable for specific requirements. 

The first thing you can do in order to decipher if you need to investigate your internet speeds is to run an internet speed test. This test is free and easy to do and will provide you with real-time information regarding the speeds your internet is reaching. You can then use this data to review if you are getting the speeds you’re supposed to based on your broadband package. 

It’s important to be aware of background programs on your computer, as they can use up bandwidth. Some software, like Windows Updates or other update programmes, often work in the background and can be hidden behind other applications. Although very useful, these updates can consume the network resources. It could be helpful to check your computer for background activity that is using internet access as you may notice applications that aren’t necessary and by disabling them, you could help to improve your internet. 

Avoiding signal interference can help to regulate your internet speed. Wi-Fi and other wireless connections can perform badly due to signal interference. This is where computers continually resend data messages in order to overcome signal overlaps. Household appliances or neighbour wireless networks can interfere with your own signal. Try to reposition your router or change your Wi-Fi channel number to try to avoid signal interference from other devices.

Worms or other malware can affect your internet speeds. Devices can catch internet worms through computer networks. This type of malware can spontaneously generate network traffic in the background without being noticed and can cause your internet connection to appear slow. 

What can I do to get better speeds?

Ensure your router is set up correctly. The router is the key element to providing you with suitable internet speeds. For example, improperly setting the MTU of a router leads to performance problems if it’s set too high or too low. Making sure that your router’s settings are consistent with the manufacturer’s documentation and your provider’s recommendations will help to ensure that your internet speeds remain steady and reliable. It’s also worth noting that making sure your router is kept in a suitable, cool place will also help to prevent it from overheating and causing havoc with your internet supply. 

Finding the right internet provider is key to maintaining a fast internet speed. Switching with NBC is an easy way to ensure that you are getting the best internet speed for your business at the right price. Our experts at NBC can find you the best broadband packages, specific to your business needs. Don’t compromise on internet speeds, contact NBC today to get started.

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