With many of us in the United States still working from home, having access to a reliable, high-speed internet connection is more important than ever. Besides needing a strong connection to use for work purposes, we want it for the fun parts of life, too, like streaming movies and music in the evenings or screencasting that fun new yoga workout to your TV! Whatever you use your internet for, you know that when the signal or connection is weak, nothing seems to function as it should.
If you’re currently struggling to try to work, play, and browse with a subpar connection, here’s a few ways you can attempt to give it the boost it needs.
- Be Mindful Of Your Data Limits – Though we’re used to data caps placed on cell phone service by now, some of us forget that even home internet can have limits on the data amount. Since not all internet service providers (ISPs) are transparent about this, be sure to do your own research and examine the ISP’s website, plan details, and your own contract to make sure your service is not being slowed or cut off after using a certain amount. If this is the case, then you have two options. You can 1. Move your service to a provider that doesn’t have or enforce data caps or 2. Plan out your month more in order to be more mindful of the limits of your data services.
- Maintain Your Router – Just like you need a break after working all day long, your internet router also needs a chance to breathe after being worked to the bone during the week. Resetting your router every few weeks can allow it to perform any updates it might need, and turning it off and on will also allow it to refresh your internet connection while it is not being used. The same trick works for modems – your technology needs breaks just like you in order to function properly.
If you’re not super excited about the thought of taking the time to do this each month (even though it is a pretty quick process), you can try out a timer device that connects to your modem and router to turn them on and off for you. Time it for when you’re asleep each night so that you have a fresh connection when you wake up in the morning.
- Trust The Power of Ethernet – It might seem like a dated practice, but there’s no denying that it works. Ethernet gives you a cabled connection to your WiFi which will always be faster and much more secure than a wireless connection, making it ideal for when you’re performing sensitive tasks like bill pay/banking. They’re perfect in particular for those who work from home on a laptop computer, but they also work well for gaming consoles that perform data-heavy tasks like a PlayStation or Xbox or even your TV.
- Move Your Router – We all have certain aesthetics we try to maintain within our homes. Maybe you’re a boho-chic kind of person, or perhaps you carry a more streamlined industrial style. Either way, internet equipment often doesn’t fit into our visions of what we want our house to look like. However, if you’re hiding away your router inside that antique desk or armoire, your internet connection is most likely going to struggle to reach your devices because of the items in its way. Placing your router behind furniture or books or even just having it in a remote corner of the house is going to affect its functionality and slow your speeds.
Instead, move it to a more open location where it can properly connect with your devices. It might not be the conversation piece in the room, but it will do the job you need.
- Close Your Browsers – This one might sound a little silly, but if you’re experiencing slower speeds on your phone right now, check how many apps, tabs, and browsers you have open. In this new age, we’re all constantly doing a million things at once. But, between looking up restaurants, reading reviews, checking out the menu, finding directions to the place, taking photos of the venue and the food, and posting them all to Instagram and Facebook, you’ve just opened up a ton of browsers and apps that you probably won’t need any more for the night.
So go ahead, Instagram that last photo, and then close out of apps you’re not using and of tabs on your browser that you no longer need. It’s a small thing, but it will stop your phone from using data and connection on unnecessary tasks.
- Invest in Virus Protection Software – If you’re one of those folks out there who still refuses to invest in virus protection software, you could already have malware and other malicious viruses on your devices. Many people believe that virus software is too expensive, but it is as vital to your computer as going to the doctor regularly is for you. Check with your internet service provider for discounts. Many major providers like Verizon, Comcast, Frontier Internet, and GotW3 internet offer great deals.
Instead of just fighting off viruses, most software’s now have the ability to install protective measures so that they never have to wield their weapons. Software stops malware and spam in its tracks and runs daily, weekly, or monthly scans (depending on your preferences) to check that everything is safe and working properly.
- Block Ads On Browsers – Ads are not only pesky and annoying – they also slow down your internet connection by blasting GIFs, images, video/audio content, and more in your face. Instead of dealing with their interruption and the affect they have on your connection, block them with an ad-blocking plugin that works to stop autoplay advertisements before they even begin.
- Clear Your Cache – Your cache is a place on your computer that collects information about your browser visits and activity in the form of cookies. This is used mostly by people in the marketing sector who use this information to target you for products and services you might be interested in. As all of this info accumulates on your devices, it can take up space that your connection needs to breathe. To fix this, you can install a plugin that will clear your cache for you easily, or you can manually do it.
- Perform a Speed Test – As much as they don’t want to admit, many ISPs are in fact guilty of slowing customers’ internet speeds as a way to try and get you to pay for the next package up. To combat this, check your bill or contract to see what your speeds are supposed to be with your plan, and then run a speed test online to see what you are actually receiving. If the amount shown by the test is far lower than what you are paying for, call your ISP and let them know.
Generally, when they’re called out, they will readjust your speeds and you’ll be back to experiencing the speeds you should have been getting all along.
- Switch To a Different Provider – If you find that what we described in #9 is happening frequently with your current provider, it might be time to switch. After all, no one wants to deal with someone who is dishonest and constantly slowing their speeds down, so why not switch to a provider who will be more mindful of your needs and give you a fair price?
Sure, switching to a new provider can be a bit stressful, but some research and understanding of their policies can end up with you getting better services for a great deal.