Imagine you are happily downloading a file or movie when suddenly, there is a disruption in connectivity and the download starts all over again. Or imagine when a file of 100MB takes about an hour to download. Slow internet is one thing nobody likes to experience. It can be very frustrating, and may even ruin the entire browsing experience. But as frustrating as it is, it is still something everyone experiences from time to time, mostly when we least expect it.
So what can cause bad internet speed/performance?
Poor internet speed can be caused by several factors such as speed throttling, ISP issues, bad weather conditions, low bandwidth, hardware/device faults, or even traffic/overcrowding in networks.
However, In solving internet browsing issues, your approach should depend mostly on your network setup, basically whether you are using a WiFi router or not.
Router Issues And Solutions
If your setup involves a router, then your troubleshooting should start by considering the location. How far is your PC to the WiFi router or modem being used? If the distance between your PC and the internet source (router) is too far, it may affect the network signal. To fix this issue, keep the router or network source as close to the computer as possible, in a spacious area where there is little or no interference.
If you are sure that the space between the router and the computer is optimal, and you are still getting a weak signal, then your router may have developed a fault. In this situation, it is best to carefully inspect the router to check for any physical or technical damages or at least signs of it. If there seems to be none, then the router may be malfunctioning from overuse. Just put it off, leave it for a while, and then restart.
Overcrowding is one factor that many internet users forget to take into consideration. Every router has a limited bandwidth, and so the fewer the users, the better the internet speed. Too many users connected to a router will definitely lower the internet speed, especially when the number of users is maxed out. Different routers have different limits as regards the number of users, depending on the model of the WiFi. New models (with the latest technology), can carry up to 250 users at once, with good internet speed. But if you know your router doesn’t perform well with many users, disconnect some users from the network and see how the speed will improve.
Note: If you try the above and the router still gives off a poor signal, then it may be that it is old and due for replacement.
Phones And Computers
In case you were wondering, “Can My Device Affect My Browsing Experience?” The answer is a big “YES”. Your phone or PC can largely affect your internet performance.
If you are browsing with a phone, for instance, the wireless technology used by that phone is the biggest factor that’ll influence its performance online. Presently, 5G is the fastest, followed by 4G, then 3G, with the least being 2G. Depending on which technology your phone is using, your browsing experience will vary. A 4G network will give an internet performance that is above average, 3G would give an average performance, and 2G will give a very poor performance. 5G is currently the fastest, although it hasn’t been integrated globally yet.
The WiFi signal strength and bandwidth also vary from phone to phone. This is why two phones connected to the same WiFi network, may exhibit different browsing speeds.
For PC users also, only PCs with the latest technology can draw a strong signal from a network, giving the user an optimum browsing experience. Your Computer networking devices and peripherals, also matter. For the best browsing experience, only use high-end peripherals. If there are any cable connections involved in your internet (or ethernet) setup, it is necessary to check these cables. A wrongly connected cable or a worn-out cable, may compromise or completely nullify your network.
Sometimes your awful browsing experience may not be your fault or that of your device, but actually that of your ISP ( Internet Service Provider). The following are some of the ISP issues that may compromise your browsing experience:
Several ISPs throttle the internet speed of their users, especially when the user crosses a certain threshold in data consumption. Throttling is a phenomenon whereby an ISP slows down a user’s internet speed on purpose. It is mostly done to regulate network traffic and reduce bandwidth congestion. Most times, throttling is set to take effect once the user has consumed a certain amount of data. However, low-budget subscription plans are generally assumed to be throttled. A typical case of throttling is when an ISP network is browsing but refuses to download. The simplest solution to throttling is to purchase a new data plan or contact the ISP.
Your Data Is Almost Gone
It is common knowledge that no data, no browsing. But the truth is that most times, the browsing and downloading speed may start to decline when the data is reaching its limit. Also, ISPs may not wait until your data is 100% consumed, before disconnecting you. So while browsing, always watch your data closely. If it gets close to the limit, expect throttling or no connection at all.
Low Bandwidth Plan
Some data plans by default have low bandwidth, meaning their users will experience poor browsing speed irrespective of throttling. These data plans are usually cheap, and so have inferior internet speeds compared to the expensive ones. The simple solution here will be to purchase a better data plan.
In extremely bad weather like during heavy rainfall, or high humidity, it is natural to expect poor network signals. The water droplets are said to absorb network signals. So no matter what the ISP may do at that moment, you will still experience poor network signals or no signal at all. At this point, it is best to wait patiently until weather conditions are favorable.
ISP mechanical failures may cause internet speed to suffer. Some of such failures include:
1. Faulty or non-functional Network Mast
2. Damaged Or Disconnected Network Cables
3. Other malfunctioning equipment
Other times it may be a Server Upgrade. ISPs upgrade their servers from time to time, to remove bugs and improve overall network performance. Such upgrades may take a day or more, and during that time, users will experience poor internet or no network connection at all. Always watch out for such notifications from your ISP for server upgrades, so you don’t bother browsing at such times (because you may get frustrated).
Other Minor Causes And Their Solutions
|Other internet-consuming apps are running in the background||Restrict your background data, or force-close those apps if you can|
|Your browser is on data saving mode||Put off data saving mode and see how it performs|
|The location has poor signal||Try Changing your location to see how the signal improves|
|Poor network terminals/receptors||Change the affected terminals or use another device entirely to connect and browse.|
|Device lagging due to overuse||Reset everything or shut down and allow to rest for a while, then reconnect later|
|Slow VPN||Change the VPN server or use another VPN entirely|
|Too many wifi users||Disconnect some users|
|Malware||Do a quick scan, remove malware if any.|
|Overcrowded website||Try visiting the site at night when it’s most likely to be less crowded|
Whatever the cause may be, one very cheap solution is to call your ISP, or better still just wait a while to see if the browsing speed improves later on.