download speed

14 Surefire Ways to Improve Your Internet Download Speed

Like most internet users, there is a good chance that you are also suffering from one of the many issues that cause your internet speed to slow down.

Many factors can disrupt your connection, for instance, multiple devices, old hardware, external interference, etc. So, if you stuck with the problem of slow internet and do not know what to do, here are some ways you can use to enhance your connection. 

Check your internet speed

Before learning about ways for speed improvement, you need to know about two things. 

  • The speed you are supposed to be getting from your provider
  • The actual speed you are getting from your provider 

To find out about the speed of your internet, log on to the provider’s website and sign in to your account. There you will find all the details about your package plan. For instance, if you are using Spectrum Internet, you will find all the information regarding your package on the company’s website along with your billing details.

In case you are unable to access your account, simply call your service provider and ask for the details directly. 

Once you have identified your package plan and the speed for which you have signed up, run a speed test. It is highly recommended that you close all the bandwidth-consuming programs running on your computer before running the download speed test, as it would enable you to get authentic results.

When checking the speed of your internet, you will notice a lot of variation and different results, therefore, run multiple tests through different websites. One of the best download speed calculators is Ookla’s Speed Test. Although many other platforms enable you to check the speed of your internet connection, the two mentioned above are well-known for providing accurate analysis of your connection.

Disconnect all the unused devices 

You might think that if your internet-enabled devices are sitting idle, they are not consuming bandwidth, but this is not the case. Since those devices are connected to the internet, they are consuming data.

Many users set their devices to automatically download and install updates as soon as they are released. This does only include software updates but also application updates. Now imagine the amount of data that these devices will consume even if you are not using them. Therefore, it is always wise to disconnect the devices from the internet if you are not using them. 

Disable unnecessary background processes

When you close an application on your computer, you expect it to cease functioning and stop drawing on your bandwidth. However, certain programs, like the web browser, Dropbox or other data backup service, keep on running in the background even when you are not using them, and they pull down your network’s strength.

So, to close the background processes, first, open the Task Manager on your computer by searching it on the menu or by pressing the “CTRL+ALT+DEL” shortcut. Then, do a quick scan of your network’s performance.

If the CPU usage falls at 0%, it would mean that no background application is hogging your internet. On the other hand, if some processes do show up, you can close them easily from the Task Manager and release choked up bandwidth instantly.

Find the ideal position for your modem

Wireless routers and modems work by transmitting radio signals to your devices. Since these signals are high in frequency, they have a very short distance range. In addition to this, these radio signals can easily get blocked with objects, which degrade the quality of the connection, ultimately reducing the speed of your internet.

So, to boost the speed of your internet, relocate your modem to a place where there are no disruptions and obstacles. If you are unable to move your router to another place, try to minimize the obstacles that might cause the speed to slow down. 

Address the firewall slowdowns

Firewalls are an important part of any operating system. They monitor the communication that takes place between your devices and the World Wide Web, regulate the traffic that passes through and block unauthorized access.

However, overly active firewalls can also slow down your internet performance, in addition to VPNs and antivirus programs, which have security layers of their own. So, the easiest way to boost network speed is to remove excessive firewalls and come down to only one, which will be enough to protect your devices.

You can also disable your VPN when it is not in use to further increase download speed. 

Restart your modem for better connectivity

Smartphone companies like Samsung and Huawei highly recommend users to reboot their devices after every 4 to 5 days. This helps the phone clear the cached memory data and all the background processes, giving it a fresh start.

Wireless routers are also machines that require a reboot to get rid of all the memory, background processes, and cached data. In addition to this, when you reboot a device, it installs all the updates that were waiting in the pending list, making it safer and faster. 

Change the channel of your router

Wireless routers broadcast their signals on a particular channel. Most routers usually have 14 channels and they typically operate between 2400 and 2500 MHz radio bands.

Since the channels are divided into 14 different parts, there is a lot of overlapping in almost all the channels except for three, which includes 1, 6 and 11. These three channels are less crowded and can easily broadcast the signals to your devices, provided that your router supports them.

If you happen to live in an urban community with numerous wireless networks, you might experience slow internet during peak hours, therefore, try to change the channel of your router to enjoy fast and stable internet connectivity. 

Increase the range of your router

If the main problem is the distance from your wireless router, here are some steps you can take to enhance the speed of your connection. Instead of purchasing a new router or a wireless extender (which we will discuss later), try to boost the signal range of your current router.

You can do so by updating the firmware of the router, enabling it to transmit stronger signals. Firmware options like Tomato and DD-WRT allow you to exercise more control over functions that you can perform with your router.

Although there are many other ways to improve the signal quality of your router, updating the firmware is regarded as the best one by the experts of the industry. 

Extend your network’s range with extenders

Positioning matters a lot when it comes to your wireless router. If you place it in a remote corner surrounded by walls, you cannot possibly receive the full spectrum of signals, and therefore, suffer from slow internet performance.

That is why you should move your Wi-Fi router to a more centralized location, so its signals can reach even the deadest zones in your house. Another way to further optimize this wireless network is to purchase a Wi-Fi extender or repeater or even a whole new mesh upgrade. 

  • Wi-Fi Extender – A Range Extender or Wi-Fi booster is a device that acts as a bridge, receives the signals from your router and rebroadcasts them to the weakest areas in your home. It does not enhance the signal breadth itself, but repeats and rolls out the Wi-Fi profile as it is.
  • You can set it up by configuring the WPS button or by using the dedicated mobile app. The latest Wi-Fi Extenders come with top-notch security encryption and several Ethernet ports for a direct link.
  • Some of the best models of 2020 are Linksys RE7000 Max-Stream AC1900+ WiFi Range Extender, TP-Link AC1750 WiFi Range Extender (RE450) and Netgear Nighthawk X4 AC2200 WiFi Range Extender (EX7300). 
  • Mesh Devices – A mesh system works when a cluster of devices are placed in several spots around the house, each giving off a wireless signal and creating an interconnected network with greater Wi-Fi coverage.
  • Nest WiFi with faster speeds, Eero with an easy-to-use app, Netgear Orbi 6 with expansive range and Asus ZenWiFi AX with affordable pricing are some of the best mesh devices in the market as of now.

Keep your connection safe and secure

Always keep your network protected at all times. By doing so, you can significantly improve your download speed and save your data bandwidth at the same time. Furthermore, with password-enabled connections, you ensure that only you and your family members are using the internet without any interference from an outsider.

Plus, when you secure your connection with a password, it becomes difficult for cybercriminals to invade your privacy. On an unrelated note, never connect your devices to open/public networks. With the emergence of technology, online threats have increased to a whole new level, making cybercriminals more dangerous than ever.

Therefore, to keep your data safe from prying eyes, stay away from unsecured networks.

Used a wired internet connection

Wired connections are capable of delivering faster internet speeds than wireless connections. Since only one device is getting all the bandwidth, the concentration level is high and there are no external interruptions from other sources.

To establish a wired connection, you can use an Ethernet cable, which would directly connect to your computer. Connecting the cable directly to your computer from the modem would generate better internet speed and bandwidth. Plus, with cable connections, there is no fear of lost signals and slow speeds during peak hours.

Purchase new equipment

One of the reasons why your internet is performing sub-par could be because of outdated equipment. It might include old laptops, PCs, smartphones, tablets or any other gadget that has not modified enough to handle high-end bandwidth.

You can easily turn this around by getting your hands on the latest versions of devices, which can perfectly support faster internet speeds. Speaking of network, your wireless router has a huge role to play in the signal dispensation inside your house.

If the router is five years old, has ancient wiring and does not use the newest wireless standards, then chances are you will experience throttled speeds.

The more advanced your router’s technology, the better it’ll be able to run higher bitrates. 802.11ac is by far the finest router standard in the market. Alternatively, if you are a big fan of video streaming, then you can always upgrade your Roku or Amazon Fire TV Stick.

The new wireless adapters will perfectly complement your rehabilitated Wi-Fi and give you a spectacular web experience.

Run software fixes for a change

  • You have upgraded your router and your devices, still, the internet speed shows frustrating lags. Then, what else could be creating network problems? The answer is software. The software consists of programs or operating data in general that powers the hardware. Your router might be running on an old update that does not protect your wireless network adequately, or your computer might have a dozen viruses infecting data left and right. If this is the case, then you can try the following protective measures to bring your software up to speed:
  • Install an Antivirus – One of the best ways to detect the presence of malicious codes on your computer and deal with them effectively is by installing a certified antivirus program, like McAfee, Norton or Bitdefender.
  • Such a program will scan your files and network, and remove all possible traces of malware while ensuring 360-degree protection. Once the virus is gone, your device will regain its processing power, resulting in a smoother bandwidth reception.
  • Improve your Web Browser – An old browser will not be able to translate internet speeds well. That is why you need to upgrade it to the latest version or get a new browser altogether. Different browsers have their unique way of handling speeds.
  • Update Router Firmware – Most of the routers are pre-programmed to install the latest firmware updates and bug fixes automatically. However, some might need manual installation. So, check to see if the manufacturer has issued any new updates by logging in to the router settings and processing the blocked updates. This step will make your router work more efficiently.
  • Clear Away Cache & Cookies – Cache is the auxiliary memory, which helps your browser load webpages faster. In other words, your browser stores information in the form of cookies on your device so the next time you access a page, it will not have to run everything from the start. However, cache build-up can also hinder internet speeds and cause loading errors. By clearing away the accumulated memory, you can enhance the bitrate flow.

Change your Default DNS

DNS stands for Domain Name Server. It is a system that converts your textual domain address into an alphanumeric one or IP, which is easier for the browser to recognize, remember and read. Internet providers usually use a dedicated DNS that receives a lot of traffic.

This over-occupied server slows down page loading time and renders a poor internet performance. An alternative to ISP-provided DNS is to change your PC’s settings, so it can use a different server when connecting to the web. 

  • Simply open your computer’s Control Panel.
  • Head to the Network & Internet option.
  • Open Network Sharing Center. 
  • Right-click on the current connection and select Properties.
  • Find TCP/IPv4 and again click on Properties.
  • Deselect “Obtain DNS server automatically” and enter the new protocols in “Use the following DNS addresses” to change your default setting.

This way you will experience a 20 – 30% boost in your internet’s download speed. Two popular DNS servers are OpenDNS & Google Public DNS, just an FYI. 

After implementing these tips, run a download speed check to know if you successfully improved the speed of your connection or not. It is important to realize the fact that the speed of your connection depends on different technologies, which must be integrated properly to deliver the right bandwidth. The aforementioned methods will surely help you enhance your download speed if executed in the right manner.

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