Why your internet speed matters

Fezile Biyela
Internet Provider Comparisons

You can access thousands of movies and TV shows in just a few clicks, work from your kitchen counter in your sweatpants and connect to virtually anyone, anywhere in the world. What a time to be alive! What makes this all possible? The internet, of course!

If you want to get the best experience in the digital world we live in, having a fast internet connection is absolutely crucial. From online streaming to remote work and education, a reliable and fast internet connection is no longer a nice to have but a must-have. 

A slow internet speed from the 1980s simply won't cut it anymore. It can lead to frustration, poor video quality, and buffering issues, making it difficult to get things done efficiently. We need fast, instant and reliable - every time. 

That said, your internet speed isn't immune to the occasional dip or change over time. In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to improve your internet speed. 

We will cover everything from understanding internet speed to best practices for maintaining optimal speed. By the end of this article, you will better understand how to optimize your internet connection for the best possible experience.

What is internet speed, again?

As the name suggests, internet speed is the speed or rate at which data is transferred from the internet to your device. It is measured in megabits per second (Mbps) or gigabits per second (Gbps). How fast or slow your internet speed depends on several factors like the type of connection, network congestion, and the device you're using to access the internet.

It's essential to keep in mind that not all internet connections are built the same. There are several types of internet connections, including DSL, cable, fiber-optic, and satellite - each with advantages and disadvantages. For instance, fiber-optic is the fastest internet connection type currently available, but because it's newer than more traditional internet connections, it has yet to be available everywhere. 

Can you improve your internet speed?

Improving your internet speed can improve your online experience, increase productivity, and save you hours.

The question we see get asked a lot is whether there is something you can do about your internet speed. And absolutely, there is! There are many ways to improve your internet speed, including upgrading your hardware, switching to a new internet plan, optimizing your Wi-Fi network, and reducing network congestion.

Simultaneously, these are the same factors that affect your internet speed, like having too many people or devices connected to the internet at once, using really old and outdated equipment no longer fit for purpose, and poor signal strength.

Again, the good news is that there are ways to improve your internet speed.

10 ways to improve your internet speed 

1. Run an internet speed test

First and foremost, check your internet speed. Before you start troubleshooting your internet speed, it's essential to review your current speed to get a baseline. This will also help you identify whether your methods to boost your speeds have been effective or if your internet plan calls for an upgrade. 

2. Troubleshoot common internet speed issues 

Basic troubleshooting techniques can resolve common issues such as outdated equipment, network congestion, and poor signal strength. Checking to see if your equipment firmware is up to speed, moving your router to a more central location in your home, disconnecting devices that aren't using the internet or simply restarting your router and the modem is an excellent place to start.

3. Keep your router in a central location

Your router's location can affect your internet speed. If it is located in a corner or on the floor, it may have trouble reaching all the areas of your home. Moving your router to a central location, such as a high shelf, can help improve your internet speed.

4. Update your device and router firmware

Regularly updating your device and router firmware can help ensure that they're operating at optimal levels, which can improve your internet speed.

5. Upgrade your internet plan 

Maybe initially, you weren't using the internet for what you're using it for now. There may be more internet-demanding activities you have going on. Or you have way more devices using the internet than when you got your internet plan. All these factors come into play when it comes to internet speed. If your internet plan can't keep up with your current lifestyle, it might be time to upgrade it. 

Thankfully, this doesn't have to be stressful or time-consuming. We at HomeLinkd offer an easy-to-use platform to search and find the best internet service providers in your area. 

6. Optimize your Wi-Fi network 

Optimizing your Wi-Fi network can improve your internet speed and reduce the risk of interference. This can look like turning up your signal strength to its maximum level to travel faster and wider. Every router's configuration will be different. It's best to do some digging around for the best way to set up your Wi-Fi network to get the best results on your router.

7. Reduce network congestion 

Reducing network congestion involves limiting the number of devices connected to your network and optimizing your router settings. This particular step isn't always the easiest, but it has to be one of the most important. Yes, you want your iPad to stay connected to the internet, but it's been gathering dust next to your bed for the past week. While you may not be actively using it, it doesn't mean there aren't apps running in the background still. 

The more devices connected to your network, the more bandwidth is being used. Cutting down the number of devices connected to your network will help a great deal when it comes to improving your internet speed. So, be ruthless.

8. Use a wired connection

Using a wired connection instead of Wi-Fi can help improve your internet speed, especially if you're in a location with a weak Wi-Fi signal. Ethernet cables offer a faster and more stable connection, so consider using them whenever possible.

9. Invest in a Wi-Fi extender or mesh network 

A Wi-Fi extender or mesh network can improve signal strength and coverage, resulting in faster internet speed. These two power tools can help stretch your Wi-Fi signal strength even further. Doing so will help improve your internet speed because the signal strength will be stronger. They're an excellent investment if you have a large home and want to use Wi-Fi anywhere in your house.

10. Contact your internet service provider for assistance 

If all else fails, contacting your internet service provider for assistance may be necessary. It could be that there's some servicing that needs to happen, you need hands-on assistance or simply that you're not getting the speeds you're paying for. If, even after trying the previous steps, you don't see a change, get on the line with your ISP and request further professional assistance.

How your network security can affect your internet speed

Network security is essential for protecting your devices and data from cyber threats. However, certain security measures can also slow down your internet speed. Here are some network security measures that can affect your internet speed:

1. Antivirus software

Antivirus software can help protect your devices from viruses and malware, but it can also slow down your internet speed. Consider using a lightweight antivirus software that doesn't use up too much bandwidth.

2. Firewalls

Firewalls can help block unauthorized access to your network, but they can also slow down your internet speed. If you're experiencing slow internet speed, try disabling your firewall temporarily to see if it's the cause.

3. VPNs

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) can help protect your privacy and security, but they can also slow down your internet speed. If you're using a VPN, try disconnecting from the VPN temporarily to see if it's the reason behind your slow internet speed.

How to reduce network interference and congestion to improve your speed

Network interference and congestion can play a big part in how fast or slow your internet speed is. But there are ways to reduce interference and congestion.

Move your router away from other electronics

Electronic devices like TVs, radios, and microwaves can interfere with your Wi-Fi signal, which can slow down your internet speed. Moving your router away from other electronics can help reduce interference and improve your internet speed.

Turn off devices you're not using

Devices connected to your network but not in use can still consume bandwidth and slow down your internet speed. Turning off devices you're not using can help reduce network congestion and improve your internet speed. Remember that old iPad by your bedstand?

Change your Wi-Fi channel

If you're in a location with many Wi-Fi networks, changing your Wi-Fi channel can help reduce interference and improve your internet speed. You can use a Wi-Fi analyzer tool to find the least congested Wi-Fi channel in your area.

Schedule downloads and updates during off-peak hours

If you have large downloads or updates to complete, schedule them for off-peak hours when fewer devices are using the network.

Getting the proper internet settings for faster internet speed

We cannot emphasize this one enough. Ensuring that your internet settings are optimized for optimal performance will set you up for success. Here are some settings to check:

  1. Adjust your router's settings: Many routers come with default settings that may not be optimal for your home network. Adjust your router's settings to optimize internet speed and performance.
  1. Use Quality of Service (QoS): QoS is a feature that allows you to prioritize certain types of traffic over others. For example, you can prioritize video streaming over file downloads to ensure a better streaming experience. Whatever works for you.
  1. Disable bandwidth-hogging applications: Some applications, such as peer-to-peer file sharing applications, can consume a lot of bandwidth and slow down your internet speed. Disable these applications or limit their bandwidth usage to improve internet speed.

3 things to consider when trying to improve your internet speed

When it comes to improving internet speed, there's no one-size-fits-all solution. The best way to go about it will depend on your specific needs and circumstances. 

In your journey to improving your internet speed, here are some factors to consider:

1. Your internet plan

The speed and quality of your internet plan will determine just how much you can improve your internet speed. If you have a slow internet plan, upgrading to a faster plan will have a significant impact on your internet speed. 

2. Your home network

The quality and strength of your home network will also affect your internet speed. Upgrading your router or optimizing your Wi-Fi network may be necessary to improve internet speed.

3. Your budget

Some methods to improve internet speed may be more expensive than others like upgrading your router and modem or switching to a higher internet plan. Consider your budget and choose a method that fits within your financial constraints.

What to consider when upgrading your internet plan

This method may cost more money, but it can also provide a significant improvement in your internet speed. When choosing a plan, make sure to consider your household's internet usage and needs. Look for plans with higher download and upload speeds and ideally, go for a plan that offers unlimited data usage.

Be sure to look out for data caps on internet plans. Some internet service providers may have data caps, meaning that after a certain amount of data usage, your internet speed may slow down, or you may incur additional charges. Before signing on the dotted line, read the fine print. It will save you big time in the long run.

How to optimize your Wi-Fi network to improve your internet speed

One of the most common reasons for slow internet speed is a poor Wi-Fi network. If you're experiencing slow internet speed, optimizing your Wi-Fi network could be the solution you need. Here how you can optimize your Wi-Fi network:

  1. Position your router in a central location: Make sure your router is in a central location in your home, away from obstructions such as walls and furniture.

  1. Change your router's channel: Routers typically operate on channels that can become congested, causing slow internet speeds. Use a Wi-Fi analyzer app to see which channel is least congested, and then change your router's channel accordingly.

  1. Update your router's firmware: Like any other technology, routers need updates to function optimally. Check your router's manufacturer website for updates and instructions on how to install them.

  1. Use a Wi-Fi extender or mesh network: As mentioned earlier, if you have a large home or multiple floors, a Wi-Fi extender or mesh network can help ensure that the Wi-Fi signal is distributed evenly throughout your home.

3 easy hacks to faster internet speed

Clearing your browsing history and cache 

This is great in two ways:

a) you'll be freeing up space on your computer or mobile device and

b) you'll be helping improve your internet speed.

  1. Clear your browsing history: Most web browsers have an option to clear your browsing history. So, it's a super easy way to improve your internet speed and clear your history. Two birds, one stone.
  1. Clear your cache: Your browser's cache stores temporary files that can slow down your internet speed. Clearing your cache can also help improve your internet speed.

Using an ad blocker Ads 

This work in 2 ways: no more unwanted ads of hot singles in your area loading on web pages and better internet speed. So no more taking up unnecessary bandwidth and resources, more internet speed for you. And the best part? There are many ad blockers available for free online.

Upgrading your router  

If your router is old or outdated, upgrading to a new router can help improve your internet speed. Newer routers typically have better technology and features that can improve your Wi-Fi signal. And you may find that your router can’t handle heavier usage or isn’t designed to support more devices and higher internet speed.

When upgrading your router, consider the size and layout of your home or office, the number of devices you need to connect, and the internet speed you require. Look for routers that are compatible with your internet plan and offer the latest Wi-Fi technology, such as Wi-Fi 6, which can provide faster and more reliable internet speeds.

To recap

If you find yourself in a position where you need to improve your internet speed, you are not alone in this. Just keep in mind the factors we've discussed. And remember to consider your budget in all of this. Some methods to improve your internet speed may come at a higher price tag than others.

Be sure to weigh out the long-term benefits of different methods. While upgrading your internet plan might be costly, having slow internet speed might compromise your work or school productively and ultimately, quality of your online experience. Decide what's worth investing in and what you're ruling out.

Faster speed, better experience

One thing is for sure: improving your internet speed will enhance your online experience, whether you are streaming videos, working from home, or just browsing the web. By understanding the factors that affect internet speed and the various methods available to improve it, you can take steps to optimize your internet speed and get the most out of your internet service. 

Whether you choose to troubleshoot common issues, upgrade your internet plan, optimize your Wi-Fi network, or invest in a new router or mesh network, there are many ways to improve your internet speed and ensure you're on your way to a breezy internet experience with no interruptions.

Written by:
Fezile Biyela
Digital Writer

Hi, I’m Fez. A chai-drinking, worship-singing, and words-loving copywriter. I’m a digital native obsessed with staying connected with the world around me. That’s why you’re seeing me here – helping you stay connected. Happy reading!

Discover the Best Plans for You

We have a wide selection of plans to choose from, so you can find and select the perfect one to suit your needs.

There's a deal for with fast, reliable and secure internet. With dozens of plans and bundle offer to choose from, you'll be spoilt for choice.

CenturyLink is your trusted provider of internet, home phone, and TV services. Whether you're at home or on the go, CenturyLink offer fast and reliable internet.

Get fast speeds, more data, and bigger savings on Viasat's reliable home internet plans!

EarthLink offer high-speed internet that’ll always keep you connected whether you're streaming your favorite shows or video chatting with friends.

AT&T offer you a variety of options to get the high-quality services you require, including DSL, fiber optic and fixed wireless networks, streaming and satellite TV services, and extensive 5G coverage.

Frontier, a leading provider of high-speed internet, TV, and phone services, offer various plans to fit your needs and budget.