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You’ve no doubt experienced stressful days at work and home, but is there anything quite like the frustration of experiencing slow Internet wherever you are?

We do our best to set you up with the fastest speeds around, by giving you dedicated access without overcrowding your bandwidth with subscribers. 

However, it happens: we still get calls from Internet service customers complaining of slow speeds. And as much as we’d like to flip a switch and magically accelerate their service, the reality is that the cause may be right under their nose–and within their power to fix. 

So, what gives? But before you call your ISP in a panic, here are the steps to determine what’s at the root of your slow Internet service: 

First things first: Test your Internet speed 

Testing your Internet speed is a good way to figure out if your Internet speed is actually to blame for a slow Internet connection. To do this, go to speedtest.net. This will tell you your ping speed (how fast your connection response time is), your download speed (how fast you can load web pages or stream videos), and your upload speed (how fast you can send huge files or how clear your video-chatting capability is, for example). 

For reference, since users typically download more than they upload, that number should be higher. The average Internet user needs about 12-25 Mbps of download speed, according to the FCC. You’ll want to run this test multiple times in different scenarios; think of yourself like an Internet scientist, testing variables as you go:

  • Test first when connecting an ethernet cable directly from your computer or laptop to your router. Since the connection here is literally point-to-point, this is the best, most reliable test.
  • Re-run the test at different times of day, noting that you will see reduced speeds during peak times at the office (around 9am, when colleagues are checking email or accessing cloud files) or at home (maybe closer to 7pm when you’re trying to watch Netflix while your kids might be gaming or watching YouTube videos).
  • Turn on WiFi and run these tests again from different locations in your office and in your home to see if there is any noticeable difference.

If your Internet speeds are registering decently when you have a hard-wire connection, but less so over WiFi, the culprit for a slow Internet connection may be your router.

What can go wrong with your router? Here are 3 aspects to consider:

1 – Router throughput

Each router or access point is designed to handle a certain amount of traffic and devices.  If you have more than 4 devices connected to WiFi you may need an upgrade, or more routers to handle the amount of connections and devices.

2 – Router age

Just like any appliance, if your router is getting on in years, you might need to trade it in for a newer model. Routers are only good for about 2-3 years – if yours is any older than that, it’s time to replace it.

3 – Location and obstruction

Consider where your router is in your home or office relative to where you’re working. If the router is located downstairs but you’re working upstairs, you’re probably going to experience slower Internet because of the distance between the two connection points and the obstruction of walls and floor, for example. 

Lots of folks put their routers in places that avoid distraction – in a cabinet in the entertainment center, or a spare office with the door closed. However, doing that only impedes the signal, which might lead to a slow Internet connection. 

Need a new router, or help installing or positioning it? We can help; click here to contact us. You can buy a router on your own, or we can supply it. We’d be happy to help you set yours up on site or over the phone. And if you’re not a Future Link Internet customer yet, check here to see if we serve your area.

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