Signs You May Need an Internet Speed Upgrade
Written by John Ketelhut in Home Technology for Your Home
One of the more frustrating things that online users experience today is waiting… waiting for a webpage to load, a song to play, an email to send, a movie to download—time spent that you’ll never get back. So when online activities such as these start to take longer than normal, it might be a good time to review your internet connection speed. Increased slowdown like this could be a sign that you need more speed to keep up with your online demands.
A big user of internet bandwidth is online video. Frequent “buffering” when watching videos such as Netflix, YouTube, etc. is a very common result of an insufficient connection. In addition, the video playback might look poor, which is often caused by the online video provider (such as YouTube) playing the video at a lower quality to limit bandwidth usage in order to reduce buffering.
Other signs and considerations that may require a speed upgrade:
- Online-gaming experience is poor
- Backups and online syncing of multimedia are slow or failing
- You’ve recently connected new devices to your at-home network via a wired or Wi-Fi connection
- You’re planning to add more online subscriptions or smart devices (Smart TVs, temperature monitoring, security systems, etc.)
Using Speed Tests
When you start to experience speed issues, it’s likely the first thing you’ll want to do is run a speed test on your home network. Using an online speed test site or tool is an easy way to get the job done—we recommend you try this one, which is available on Arvig.net.
There are many other popular speed-test sites out on the web; however, please use caution when using them. These sites are located in various locations across the internet, which creates a tangled mess of networks supplied by numerous companies and entities. With so many players involved, speeds typically fluctuate from time to time.
In addition, when running speed tests, it’s good to run the tests on multiple computers in your home, just to rule out any computer issues. When running the speed tests, try to ensure no one else is using the internet (i.e. turn off Wi-Fi on smartphones or tablets) or watching Netflix at that time, or your results will be inaccurate.
Once you run the test, the site should provide you a download and an upload speed result. Run the test a couple of times to make sure you have a consistent result. Compare those results to what internet package you subscribe to; the results should typically be within 10 to 20 percent of the advertised speed.
A poor online experience could actually be the result of an issue in your home, and not necessarily a result of slow speeds. One of the first things you should do is restart all of your devices. This includes your computers, laptops, video-content boxes (such as Roku), and even your modem and router.
An old router is a common reason for slow speeds. One way to rule out the router as the problem is to bypass the router completely by hooking up a single computer directly to your internet connection. If your online experience improves with that direct connection, your online issues might be caused by a router issue or something else in your home. Sometimes, a simple reboot of the router (turning it off and on again) can help.
If connecting directly to your internet connection provided a better online experience, but a power cycle of the router doesn’t make a difference, try hooking up your computer directly to the router with a data cable. If that helps your performance, you might need to troubleshoot your Wi-Fi connections. If you’re still having issues after that, then a new router is likely what’s needed.
If only one of your computers is having performance problems, the issue might be with that device. Common things that slow down computers are: hardware limitations (older computer), a virus-infected or full hard drive (computer needs a cleanup), malfunctioning network card, or the computer may simply need to be restarted.