This is part 2 of the blog post about Internet connection and speed. If you need a refresher on how Internet speed works and Internet usage of various online activities, check out part 1 of “How Fast an Internet Speed Do You Truly Need?”
Let’s set the scene. You are watching a movie. Just when the story is about to reach a climax, the spinning wheel of death appears. What’s worse, after you patiently let your video download for a moment and think everything will be fine, five minutes pass into your movie, the spinning icon of doom appears again.
Bad news, you have slow Internet speed or unstable connectivity.
Today, we want to talk about what might impact your Internet speed, how to find your current speed, and most importantly, the actions you can take to improve your Internet connectivity.
Check your Internet Connection and Speed
There are many free Internet speed test tools online. A search of “Internet Speed Test” on Google will lead you to a simple Internet speed test tool that you can use without clicking on any website.
The speed of the Internet delivered to your home and the speed that reaches a device in your home are two different measurements. Your Internet service provider controls the prior. The latter can be influenced by factors outside of your Internet service provider’s control, including Wi-Fi conditions, weather, device capabilities, and more.
When you run an Internet speed test online on your laptop, you measure the speed that reaches your laptop, which could be different from the speed that reaches your other devices at home.
With this simple Google Internet tool, you can learn about your download and upload speeds, latency, and what your Internet connection can handle.
- Download speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps) and tells you how fast data travels from the Internet server to your location or device. Most online activities like loading web pages, downloading files, streaming music or videos are downloads. Usually, your Internet connection is designed to download faster than it uploads.
- Upload speed measures in Mbps how fast you can send data to other locations or devices. Examples of uploading data include sending files via email, saving photos to the cloud, or video conferencing.
- Latency measures the time in milliseconds (ms) it takes for data to travel to its destination and return to your location or device. Latency can impact any Internet connection and make even fast internet connections seem slow. Usually, wired internet connections have low latency when compared to wireless connections. A latency between 20 ms to 40 ms is optimal for most online activities, but lower latency is better for heavier Internet usage like gaming.
What might be impacting your Internet Connection and Speed?
There are many reasons why your Internet speed feels slow when surfing the web, running a video conference, or playing online games.
People don’t always use the full bandwidth of their plans. Research shows that most households use less than 10% of
The equipment you use to connect to the Internet could impact your speed. Up-to-date equipment such as your router and a well-placed Wi-Fi access point can help with Internet connectivity. If your devices are connected to Wi-Fi, that may be your bottleneck. The slow Internet speed might be because the connection to your Wi-Fi access point isn’t good or your connected devices are too far away.
Try moving your access point, restarting it, or upgrading to a better device. You can also try connecting your device directly to the router with an Ethernet cable and cut your Wi-Fi connection out of the picture entirely.
Slow Internet could be attributed to your device or the website you are visiting. You might need to experiment. Try visiting different websites or connecting other devices to the Internet. If the slowness is limited to one particular website, the website is the culprit—not your Internet connection or your device. If the slowness occurs on only one of your devices, the device might need a reboot, or you could run a virus and malware scan. If all of your connected devices are slow, then it is a network problem. You should troubleshoot your router. As a last resort, contact your Internet service provider.
A computer’s lack of resources can also be the culprit of slow speed. The symptoms of this problem often feel similar to having slow Internet connectivity. We have an in-depth description of how to check your computer’s resources in a blog post by our Managed IT and Tech brand, FSA Consulting. However, slow processor speed, lack of memory or RAM, a slow hard drive, and a bad connection to your local network can all feel like a bad Internet connection.
Emailing, web browsing, online shopping, and social networking only take up a small amount of your Internet bandwidth. However, if you have many browser tabs open and are multi-tasking with HD video streaming or video teleconferencing in the background, your Internet speed might suffer. Try closing the unnecessary browser tabs to get the bandwidth you need for your task.
Other people sharing your Internet connection will also impact Internet speed. If your child attends online school, your partner works remotely, or your roommate is always playing online games, a premium plan with faster Internet speeds will accommodate everyone’s needs in your household.
If you don’t know how fast an Internet connection you need, contact your Internet service provider to ask which plan fits you and your household the best.
With Green Light Wireless, you’ll enjoy reliable, high-speed Internet services from a locally-owned and operated company. Check out our Internet service comparison chart to learn how Green Light Wireless is different from other big Internet companies.