We've all had issues with internet connectivity at some point in our day-to-day lives and some of us just slow internet as given. But is there something you can do about it? Read our guide to find out why your internet may be slow and what you can do about it.
First step: testing your internet speed
Before deciding if your internet is too slow and what you need to do to fix it, it is important to test your internet speed and understand what it means.
How is internet speed measured?
Internet speed is measured in how fast data can be downloaded or uploaded. These are known as download speeds and upload speeds.
These speeds are shown in how many bits of data are downloaded or uploaded per second, commonly shortened to bps. As internet connections can transfer thousands of bits of data per second, larger measurements are often used to display internet speeds.
Kilobits per second (Kbps) - 1,000 bps
Megabits per second (Mbps) - 1,000 kbps
Gigabits per second (Gbps) - 1,000 Mbps
As Kbps are usually too slow and Gbps too fast for most internet speeds, Mbps is the most commonly used measurement of internet data speeds.
What is a fast internet speed?
100 Mbps and higher is often considered to be a strong or fast internet speed. Speeds at 100 Mbps and higher can comfortably manage a four-person household on multiple devices as well as background internet use from smart devices.
There are many broadband providers that boast speeds in excess of 100 Mbps and some even into the gigabits. These are what are known as superfast, ultrafast, and gigafast. you can find out more about high-speed broadband providers here.
What is a slow internet speed?
Broadband with download speeds less than 25Mbps is often considered to be unsuitable for most households, even with one or two people. These speeds will struggle to manage video streaming and will run poorly on multiple devices.
What is a good internet speed?
Any broadband internet with upload and download speeds between 25Mbps and 100Mbps should be able to comfortably handle HD streaming, downloading videos and music, and stable online gaming.
How can I test my internet speed?
Click here to visit our internet speed test that will tell you exactly how fast your upload and download speeds are as well as additional diagnostics.
What can I do if my internet is slow?
Here are some quick and easy steps that can help most homes improve their internet connection speed.
1. Reset your router
It may seem old hat at this point, but turning your wifi router on and off again does occasionally work. Sometimes a slow internet connection can be solved with a simple restart, but for persistent issues, your router will need a reboot.
Switch off or unplug your router at the mains and wait ten seconds before turning it back on. Give it 30 seconds to a minute to see if your broadband connection reestablishes itself with better speeds.
2. Move closer to your router
Sometimes having your wifi router in another room can slow your connection. Removing physical obstructions can help improve wifi signal, or buying a wifi extender can improve speeds to multiple rooms or floors.
3. Check any background processes
Most modern electronic or smart devices will have some form of internet connection. These can include your smart home devices such as an Alexa, your gaming console, smart tv, and even baby monitors, all of which can eat up your bandwidth.
Reducing the number of devices that are simultaneously connected can improve your download and upload speed considerably.
4. Check how many people are sharing your network
Do you have a bandwidth hog living in your home who is constantly eating up all your data? Online gaming, zoom meetings, and streaming that requires a high download speed can all cause internet slowdown.
Reducing the amount of internet traffic occurring at once, especially during peak times, can greatly increase your speed.
What if my internet is still slow?
If the above steps are still not working, you may need to take extra steps to improve your broadband speed.
Use a wired connection
While we all enjoy the freedom that comes with a wireless internet connection, having a wired ethernet connection will always bring you faster, more reliable connections.
Wired internet connections have a dedicated ethernet cable that connects to each device, meaning there is no data traffic or unstable connections. This also means that download and upload speeds are considerably faster, with some offering up to 5 Gigabit speeds.
Get a new router
If you are on an old broadband plan or package it may be that your router is out of date or can't handle the current connection speed. Contact your ISP to see what they can do to provide you with a new wireless or wired router, or visit our guide to find the best wireless routers.
Call your internet service provider
Wireless internet connections are improving all the time, meaning the top internet service providers (ISPs) are constantly having to upgrade their services and hardware.
If you are on an old broadband package then it may be that your wifi hardware is out of date, or alternatively, your broadband provider is no longer the strongest connection in your area. Major ISPs like Virgin Media, Sky, and BT all have dedicated customer service teams who are on hand to help you improve your speeds and keep your custom.
If they can't do anything to help improve your internet speed, it may be time to look for a new broadband deal.