Now more than ever, we’ve needed our internet to be in top form. But when you use something often and push it to the limits of its abilities, that’s when you’re most likely to find the weak spots and problems.
Some signs of an underperforming (or underwhelming) network might include:
- Video problems like lag or excessive choppiness
- Downloads and uploads that take forever and a day
- Problems loading or using web pages with lots of elements on them
The biggest give away will be those download and upload speeds and tips to increase internet speed. Certain problems can be caused by your hardware itself being overwhelmed, or software not playing nicely with your system. But how quickly you can send or receive data basically comes down to fixing internet connection.
A Basic Primer on Internet Speeds
When we talk about ways to increase internet speed, there are different facets to consider.
Understanding the Different Parts of Your Internet Speed
Your Bandwidth vs. Your Internet Speed
When you sign up for an internet plan, the packages are usually advertised by bandwidth. That’s the full and optimal operating capacity of the network. You and all the other users won’t ever increase internet speed and reach near that fast. However, the more bandwidth that’s available, the better your actual speeds should be.
If the internet provider specifically advertises their download speeds, those should be closer to what you actually experience. But, it will still be a wide range.
What Is Mbps?
Full bandwidth and personal internet speeds are measured in bits (or bytes) per second. It’s how much information can be transferred in a single moment. Generally, a higher number in this category is better.
However, measurements are commonly displayed in Mbps, megabits per second. Change the unit, and the numbers will change as well, by several magnitudes. Here’s a guide to the units from small to large – average internet speed displayed in Gbps would look terrible, while it would look blazingly fast if displayed in Kbps.
- Kbps (kilobits per second)
- KBps (kilobytes per second)
- Mbps (megabits per second)
- MBps (megabytes per second)
- Gbps (gigabits per second)
Why Is My Upload Speed So Much Slower Than My Download Speed?
That’s relatively normal! We download data constantly, whether it’s loading a page, streaming music and videos, or actually grabbing a file off of the net. So, with many internet providers, downloads are given priority and thus go faster.
Internet Types: Fiber vs. Cable vs. DSL vs. Satellite
- These are all types of broadband internet, which is much faster than the by-now-ancient standard of dial-up.
- Fiber internet offers the highest bandwidth and fastest speeds by far, but it isn’t available in every area. Due to the fiber optic cables that make fiber internet so capable, installing the infrastructure is costly and time-consuming.
- Cable, DSL, and satellite internet are fairly comparable for speed on lower bandwidths, but cable and satellite are capable of a higher upper range. Satellite sometimes seems slower than it actually is due to transmission delays – the signals coming from space, after all.
How Fast Should My Internet Be?
- First, check with your internet service provider (ISP). Look through the bill or go to their website. Your particular internet package should note the bandwidth, plus detail maximum and minimum speeds. Dig a little further to find out if you have some kind of data cap that might allow them to throttle your speeds.
- Then run a speed test to see what numbers you can actually achieve. Try: SpeedTest.net, Fast.com, or Google “internet speed test” (for their built-in module)
- Remember, internet speeds are also affected by your internet type, which part of the country you’re in, and general strain on the system. You and every other user in an area might experience slowdowns if everyone starts streaming in 4k at once on all their devices, for example. How fast your internet should be is often a moving target.
How to Increase Internet Speed
Now that you’re well versed in all things regarding internet speed, let’s discuss how you might boost internet performance. After making changes, we recommend re-running a speed test. For the most accurate results, try running a speed test at a specific time, making all your desired changes during the day, and then testing the next day at the same time as before.
Upgrade Your Plan with the ISP.
- Try this simple booster to increase internet speed if you can afford it. Because if your bandwidth is low to begin with, there’s only so much you can do.
- Consider local providers who might offer an internet type other than your own, like fiber or cable or satellite over DSL.
- See if you can find faster speeds at a similar or better price. And if you’re wondering how to improve upload speed in particular, this is a surefire way to do it.
Upgrade and Tend to Your Hardware.
- The router and modem, sometimes combined into a single device, are what actually connects you to the internet and create your home network. Your ISP might lease them out to you, but you can also purchase your own higher-performing models. Any routers and modems seriously benefit from being restarted regularly.
- You can get Wi-Fi extenders or additional routers if you believe the problem comes down to good bandwidth with improper coverage. Make sure all your cables and plugs are also in good working order.
- How to increase internet speed doesn’t always come down to buying something. Various settings play a major role as well. PCMag.com has a nice rundown, but it isn’t an exhaustive list, so be sure to explore Wi-Fi channels, too.
- Finally, make sure your router is unobstructed in an elevated, relatively central position for the best signal.
Manage Your Multiple Devices.
- Multiple people all using their devices at once is sure to slow down your internet. The same goes for many people outside your network, all using the same provider’s services – a peak usage rush hour.
- However, even devices sitting idle can draw from your resources. They may download updates automatically or upload them to the cloud in the background.
- In these cases, the answer to “How to increase download speed?” and “How to increase upload speed?” is the same! Change the settings to disable that, schedule a convenient time for those actions, or simply power down extraneous devices when they aren’t in use.
Install an Ad Blocker.
- To put it simply, some pages are so bogged down with ads that they make your internet work much harder than it needs to.
- You can block ads across the board or only activate it on worst offender websites.
Use a firewall and run a virus scan.
- If your machine is infected with something, your network could be being diverted toward nefarious background activities. Or someone could be bumming off your data directly.
- One sign of this is a sudden drop in overall performance or speed. Have you taken a recent interest in how to boost download speed after no previous problems?
- Reverse the damage by running a virus scan and removing anything that’s found. Ensure your firewall or antivirus program is active, and your Wi-Fi is secured with a password.
Try Going Wired!
- When most else fails, switching from Wi-Fi to an ethernet cable can easily increase internet speed. You’ll need a quality cable to take full advantage of that, though, because they support different max speeds.
- It’s an excellent solution for rigs that probably won’t move around – your TV, a desktop computer, or gaming console. Try picking only one of those, preferably whatever is closest to the modem, and give ethernet a shot.
You might feel like tossing the whole machine away when the internet is crawling along at a snail’s pace, but keep the peace for now. First, implement some of these tricks to see if the situation improves.
The easiest fixes can be done in minutes, while the more extreme options – dropping some cash on better hardware or faster speeds from your ISP – still aren’t considered to be too out there.
Good luck. May your upload and download speeds always meet expectations.