5 Solutions To Fix Slow Broadband Speeds
Few things are more frustrating than a slow internet connection. It’s 2019 after all, and the world is moving at a faster pace across all industries. As Singapore has the greatest average broadband speed in the world, it is simply unacceptable for Singaporeans to be frustrated over slow internet.
But if you’re suffering from slow internet, don’t despair. Here are some common causes of a slow connection, and how you can fix them.
1. There are too many devices or people connected
If you have a spouse or grew up with siblings, you may be familiar with the all-out warfare that ensues over the battle of who gets the TV remote.
Fast forward a few years and you now have a similar battle over Wi-Fi. The wrong broadband plan can lead to many people fighting for the Internet. The difference here is that nobody wins – when too many people are connected to your Wi-Fi network, the internet speed will slow down for everyone if your broadband plan doesn’t offer enough bandwidth.
Each person in your household may have multiple devices connected to the internet as well, taking up even more bandwidth. For example, your bandwidth-hogging spouse could be simultaneously browsing the web on a smartphone, streaming a movie online on the smart TV and downloading files on the PC. Now, multiply that for everyone in your household.
If your broadband plan doesn’t offer enough bandwidth to accommodate that many people or devices, your internet speed could slow to a crawl.
Consider upgrading to a better plan. However, before you change your broadband plan, use Speedtest.net determine if you’re getting the speed your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is advertising – try to do so when there aren’t other people or devices connected to your Wi-Fi network.
If everything is in order, and you only experience a drop in speed when there are multiple people connected, then it’s possible that your broadband plan doesn’t offer enough bandwidth for your household’s needs.
2. Your router is too outdated
You probably wouldn’t expect a 5-year-old smartphone to be as fast as a brand new one. That’s how it is for your router too.
If you’re using an outdated router, it may not be able to support the speeds advertised by your broadband plan. For example, if your plan offers 1 Gbps bandwidth, but your router only supports half of that, you won’t be able to reach the maximum possible speed that you are subscribing for.
Check your router’s specifications to see if it can support your broadband’s speed. This is a good time to consider if you need to change your broadband plan, as your ISP will typically provide a new router for free or at a reduced price when you subscribe or upgrade your plan.
3. There is high Wi-Fi interference
When your device connects to the internet via Wi-Fi, it uses radio waves to send signals in the air. However, when there is Wi-Fi interference, these signals will be obstructed. This can reduce your broadband speed or cause constant disconnections.
Some common causes of Wi-Fi interference include:
- Wireless devices. Any wireless device, even if it’s not Wi-Fi related, can cause interference. These include baby monitors, wireless speakers, wireless headsets, etc.
- Household appliances. Appliances like microwaves can generate radio frequency noise that interferes with your Wi-Fi.
- Structural interference. Placing your router near physical barriers can obstruct wireless signals. Some building materials have higher interference potential than others – surfaces like mirrors, concrete and metal cause more interference than wood or plaster.
Try moving your router to a central location in your home. Keep it away from other devices, appliances, mirrors and dense building material.
Alternatively, a router upgrade can reduce interference. Older routers use the 2.4GHz band, while newer routers use both the 2.4GHz and the 5GHz bands. Imagine these frequencies as highways: if you only have one highway for all your devices, congestion can occur. Having two highways frees up congestion so that traffic can move faster.
4. You have weak Wi-Fi coverage
Weak coverage can happen when there is high Wi-Fi interference, or when the reach of your router isn’t sufficient for the size of your home – the general rule of thumb is that Wi-Fi routers operating on the 2.4 GHz band have a range of 46 metres when indoors. This can result in dropped connections and weak or non-existent signals in certain areas of your home.
Consequently, you might have had to camp out in certain areas of your home, just because those are where the Wi-Fi signal is the best.
If you’ve ruled out high Wi-Fi interference as a cause for your poor coverage (see point no. 3 above), then it could be that your router isn’t capable of broadcasting your Wi-Fi signal throughout your entire home.
Try moving your router to a central location in your home, away from other devices or appliances that can cause interference. If that doesn’t work, or isn’t a practical solution, consider getting a Wi-Fi extender – this device repeats your router’s wireless signal to expand its coverage.
However, Wi-Fi extenders can be a bit of an annoyance, as they rebroadcast signals as separate Wi-Fi networks. This means that as you move around the house, you’ll need to manually switch back and forth between the strongest Wi-Fi network. A more seamless (albeit more expensive) solution is to install a mesh Wi-Fi system. This system relies on a main router and a series of mesh nodes to provide Wi-Fi coverage to an area. They operate on a single network, so you’ll always be automatically connected to the nearest node.
5. You are being throttled by your ISP
Does your connection slow down during certain hours of the day, or when using particular services like Netflix and YouTube?
If so, your ISP may be throttling you.
Here’s how throttling works: when too many people are connected to an ISP’s network at once, congestion can occur, slowing down broadband access for everyone. To deal with this, ISPs may prioritise some traffic over others by throttling (or slowing the speed of) heavy-data users. So if you’re torrenting large files or streaming 4k video, your ISP may limit your bandwidth to reduce the usage impact on other users, especially during peak hours resulting in slower Internet speed.
If you suspect throttling, use Speedtest.net to measure your internet speed. See if your measurements vary during different times throughout the day. If you have significantly different measurements during the morning and the night, or if your access to data-heavy services doesn’t seem to reach your Speedtest measurements, your ISP may be throttling you.
If your ISP is throttling your connection for certain services only – say, if you only experience slowdowns when streaming on YouTube – using a virtual private network (VPN) can help. A VPN disguises your network traffic so your ISP can’t see what services you’re connecting to. However, this only works if your ISP is slowing down access to certain services – if your bandwidth is throttled in general, a VPN won’t be able to help.
An easier solution is to simply choose an ISP that doesn’t throttle your internet connection – yes, those exist!
Your access to speedy internet can depend a lot on your broadband plan and provider, so choose wisely! Use our broadband comparison tool to pick a bandwidth capacity and price that will suit your needs and budget.
If you are looking for a broadband that prioritises performance, Singapore’s Speedtest Awards , ViewQwest has introduced advanced WiFi mesh systems for different needs of users.
ViewQwest’s Orbi Mesh Plan, Orbi Mesh Smart Plan and ASUS AX Mesh Plan offer the best range of solutions in a value package.
Better WiFi, twice the speed, more connected devices, high definition music, lower battery consumption and the world’s best digital assistant Amazon Alexa are what users will gain from these plans. For those who put gaming needs above all else, the ViewQwest Raptor Gamer with absolutely zero traffic throttling will create an amazing gaming experience.
Enjoy blazing fast broadband without any throttling
Choose from Freedom Plans, Max Plans and Raptor Plans to suit your business, personal and gaming needs