What Affects Internet Service Quality?
The 5 biggest impacts you need to consider
The way we use the internet has changed dramatically in just the past few years. Our smartphones automatically connect to WiFi when we walk into the house; computer backups run constantly in the background to keep our data secure; music and photo applications sync data to cloud applications; our thermostats and even refrigerators are connected to the internet, making it easy to add to a digital grocery list or adjust the temperature while we’re away.
All of this and more prove just how much more connected we are than ever before—and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down. Your internet performance, on the other hand, might not always be able to keep up.
There are a variety of reasons your Internet service may seem slower than it should. Here are the top five:
Number of devices
When customers call into the Help Desk at Arvig, one of the biggest things we see impacting the customer’s quality of service is the number of devices being used in the household at one time. If you are on your laptop, while your husband is watching Netflix on his tablet, and your son is playing Xbox LIVE in his bedroom, the quality of service is likely to lag because you’re sharing your household bandwidth with all of those devices.
Fifteen years ago, families typically had only one computer in the home. Today, think of all the devices you connect to your internet—smartphones, tablets, laptops, gaming systems, home automation technology such as thermostats or light fixtures. The list goes on.
If suddenly your internet speed seems slower than usual, do a quick run-through of the house to see who is sharing that connection. Often, if you turn off just one of those bandwidth-sucking devices or applications, it’ll help resolve your issue. If this happens too often, however, you may want to consider upgrading your package to a higher speed to accommodate your household’s internet usage.
Modem and Router
How long ago did you sign up for your internet service, or purchase the WiFi router in your home? When internet performance isn’t up to par, sometimes the cause is the age or quality of the equipment. Especially if you recently upgraded from a lower speed package, the new speed may require a router or modem with a little more power. New computers—with higher processing speeds—also might be maxing out your old router or modem. Talk to your internet service provider if either scenario may be something you think you’re experiencing, and they can troubleshoot with you.
Another common issue with your router could be its signal strength. Depending on where your WiFi router is placed in your home and the overall structure of your house (Does the signal have to go through a lot of walls to get to where you’re located? Do you have metal siding?), interference can play a part.
Other wireless devices, including old cordless phones, can also impact the signal, causing extra noise that slows down your service. In addition, your neighbor’s WiFi network could also be hindering performance. Some options that may enhance the strength of your router are: adjusting the WiFi channel to a less congested one; moving the router to a central spot in the home to improve coverage where it’s needed; modify security settings on the router; or consider replacing the router with a newer model.
In some cases, if your service is down entirely, wires and cables could have been unplugged or loosened. Before throwing the router out completely, check to make sure everything is hooked up in the right place. Sometimes a simple reboot of the router will improve your Internet browsing experience.
Sometimes if your service isn’t working, your computer itself could be the issue. One way to test this is to see if other devices in the home are experiencing the same problems. If you find that it’s only the one device that’s acting up, check all the cords and ensure the wires and cables are tightly plugged in to the correct ports.
Another consideration is the age of your computer. The average lifespan of most technology—the general period of time during which you can expect optimum performance from that device—is five years. But that can vary for you, depending on the way you’re using it.
For most users, you don’t need a lot of juice to do some light web surfing and sending emails. But if you’re playing games, downloading large files, or backing up photos to the cloud, then your hard drive or other computer component, may be slowing you down. If your computer is more than 5 or 10 years old, and you’re on a higher speed tier, it might be time to upgrade your technology to keep pace with your internet demands.
There was a time we were all only concerned with how fast things would come to us, so the internet infrastructure that most people are connected to today was built for download speed. With the way we use the internet now, however, we’re constantly pushing out information.
We’re connecting to the cloud, syncing our phones to upload pictures to social media or online backup sites, connecting to iTunes and other applications, or playing games that require two-way communication, such as like Xbox LIVE. We’re using more bandwidth to upload data just from the simple ways we’re handling our technology. Upgrading your upload speed can typically solve a lot of internet quality issues.
Bandwidth is a finite resource. Compare internet bandwidth to the highways that you drive your car on. If the highway starts to get congested, which sometimes happens during rush hour, everyone slows down.
When everyone is on the internet—surfing the web or maybe even watching Netflix—the available bandwidth gets used up.
An internet network is made up of connections and equipment that resemble roads. Those connections get congested from time to time, typically during prime time (7 p.m. to 9 p.m., weekdays). That’s why at Arvig, we are continually making investments to upgrade those connections to help minimize peak-hour congestion.
Slow or unreliable internet performance is frustrating for everyone, but knowing what factors might be impacting your service can help to resolve the issues easily and quickly.
Do you need assistance with your internet service? Arvig Technical Support is available to chat online 7 days a week. Visit arvig.net or call 877.290.0560.