A slow internet connection can be disruptive or even prevent you from doing what you need to do. If you’ve followed the instructions to set up your browser and you're continuing to run into connection issues, we recommend additional troubleshooting steps.
In this guide, we’ll cover:
- Testing your connection
- Checking your hardware
- Rebooting your network
- Calling your internet service provider
- Reviewing additional devices on your network
- Checking your workspace
Note: These are some of the best ways to address a slow internet connection without adjusting your network settings yourself. If these steps don’t resolve your slow internet speeds, consider reaching out to a network specialist or contacting your internet service provider (ISP) for further network assistance.
Testing your connection
The first step to diagnosing an internet issue is getting a baseline reading of your internet speed. There are plenty of free internet speed tests available, but the easiest way to run a test is to use a search engine (such as Google) to search for internet speed tests.
To do so:
- Navigate to Google
- Search for internet speed test
- Click Run Speed Test
- The test will run immediately, and will only take a few minutes
A window will open where the test will run. Your results will display in this window, and will include 3 measurements: Mbps download, Mbps upload, and Latency.
Mbps download measures how quickly information can be sent from other websites or computers to yours
- You’ll need a download speed of 10 Mbps (megabits per second) or higher
Mbps upload measures how quickly information can be sent from your computer to another
- You’ll need an upload speed of 10 Mbps (megabits per second) or higher
Latency measures the roundtrip time it takes for information to be sent between two computers
- We recommend connections with a latency of 300 milliseconds or lower
Internet connections can vary widely throughout an office or a house. One room might have lightning-fast speed, while moving into the next room could lead to dropped connections. We recommend testing your speed in different spaces.
After running the test in various locations, you can tailor your next steps based on whether the connection was consistently slow or sporadically slow:
- Is the connection consistently slow?
- Is the connection sporadically slow?
Checking your hardware
After testing your internet speed, we recommend trying some solutions for slower connections. If you notice the speed is slow throughout your work space, you'll want to check your computer, modem, and router.
Older computers won’t be able to take advantage of the full speed of your internet connection. The standard lifespan of a computer ranges from 3-4 years for laptops and 5 years for desktops. After that, the computer will begin to experience degraded performance on even basic tasks.
If your computer is only a few years old but is still slowing down, you can free up RAM on your computer to speed up your internet connection. To free up RAM, uninstall applications that you don’t use and make sure you’re not running multiple programs simultaneously.
To do this:
Older modems are also unable to process the full speed of your internet connection, and the parts are prone to degrading over time. If your network provider hasn’t updated your modem in a while, it’d be worthwhile to call them and ask about updating your hardware.
To prolong the life of your modem, keep it in a well-ventilated area away from heaters, wireless phones, microwaves, and televisions. Additionally, regularly remove dust from the components with a can of compressed air.
Many modern modems have router functionality built in. If not, you can identify the router as the device with the antenna which is connected to the modem, not to the wall itself.
Routers should be kept away from other devices that emit signals (for example, cordless phones, televisions, and microwaves), and ideally they should be at least 3 feet off the floor.
Like modems and computers, if you haven’t upgraded your router in the past few years, consider investing in a new one. You’ll be able to take advantage of modern features like 5G connections, better network monitoring, and more.
If your router is relatively new but still needs a boost, you can purchase additional antennas for it. Consider a directional antenna that points towards the area where you do most of your work.
Rebooting your network
Rebooting your network can speed up a sluggish connection by purging old data, much like unclogging a shower drain. To reboot your network:
Unplug both your router and your modem
- Wait at least 1 minute
Plug only the modem back in
- Wait at least 2 minutes
Plug the router back in
- Wait at least 3 minutes
Calling your internet service provider
Although you pay for fast internet speeds, you might not be getting all that you're paying for. If you notice that your speed is much lower than the speed you’re paying for, you can call your ISP to discuss why your speed is slow.
Here are some common reasons:
|You might have hit a data cap
|Some plans limit how much data you can use per month. After that limit is met, your ISP will dramatically slow your internet. If this is the case, you might consider looking into a new plan with a higher limit.
|They might not be delivering their promised speeds
|Keep your internet speed results handy when you call your ISP so that you can make sure you receive the speed you’re paying for going forward.
|You might need to upgrade your plan
|If you’re using Telehealth and other data-heavy services, like video streaming, it could be time to discuss a new plan to make sure you have a high-quality internet experience.
Reviewing additional devices on your network
Your internet connection is a resource, and like other resources, it needs to be budgeted for accordingly. Streaming audio and video and downloading large files requires a lot of data, and that puts a heavy demand on your network.
If you share a network with other users who’re watching streaming content or downloading movies, this will also leave you with a smaller budget to work with.
Network administrators can access your network’s Quality of Service (QoS) settings to view which devices are the most data-demanding. If you’re not a network administrator, you can speak with the other members of your office to see if anyone has been performing data-heavy actions. If you find many people in your office are doing video conferencing or streaming, you might consider getting a network of your own so you can pay for only the data you use.
Checking your workspace
Depending on how your space was built, there are several factors that can affect how the WiFi signal travels around your office or home. Factors that can impact your WiFi signal include drywall, plaster, metal support beams, wood, and microwaves.
If your modem is in a separate room from where you do most of your work, consider moving it into your workspace or purchasing a WiFi network extender to give your office better signal.
Microwaves operate at the same frequency as wireless routers. If you have a microwave in your workspace, consider moving it to another room or as far away from your router as you can.