10 Ways to Increase Your Internet Speed

June 14, 2024

Whether you rely on your internet to work from home or enjoy your favorite games and
movies, fast internet speed lets you prevent annoying interruptions. But the internet
provider itself isn’t the only factor. Overall internet speed performance depends on the
number of devices using the network at once and how up-to-date they are.

Fortunately, there are steps we can take to improve home internet speed before calling in
professionals. First, test your internet speed, and then read on to figure out how to boost
your in-home connections.

How to Improve Your Internet Speed

If a lagging internet connection is getting in your way, explore these steps for
troubleshooting at home. While every person’s home internet situation will have its own
nuances, walking through these steps will help you further assess where your internet is
going wrong – and how to fix it in the process.

  1. Restart your router.
  2. Move your router.
  3. Adjust the channel or band.
  4. Adjust your router’s antennas.
  5. Use an ethernet cable.
  6. Extend your WiFi network.
  7. Remove unnecessary devices from your network.
  8. Check your device.
  9. Upgrade your router.
  10. Upgrade your internet plan.

1. Restart Your Router

Anyone who’s ever hopped on the phone with an internet service provider agent has heard
this question before: Have you tried restarting your router?

While the suggestion might feel tired, it’s not without its merit: It’s still the best place to
start when it comes to troubleshooting simply because it’s the easiest.

To do this, unplug the router and wait for one minute before you plug it back in. Then, after
a few minutes, try to connect to the internet again. If you’re using a modem and a router, do
this process for each device.

This works for two main reasons. First, there’s a chance that your problem is due to code
that’s not working as it should. Restarting your router resets any code that might be buggy.
Second, your router might be connected to a Wi-Fi channel that’s too congested. Resetting
will allow it to connect to a channel that’s less congested if that option is available.

2. Move Your Router

You could also be experiencing slow internet speeds because your router is not in the most
efficient place. When the placement is off balance, your internet speed will be inconsistent
throughout the house.

Robert Ferris, owner and operator of Big Apple Music in Watertown, New York, a tech
installation company that designs custom solutions for homes and businesses, points to a
common example he sees in homes: Internet speed may be satisfactory when you’re sitting
at the kitchen table checking emails, but once you branch out to less centrally-located
bedrooms, it’s weak, making things like streaming movies or playing video games difficult.

This is why your WiFi router should be set up in the most centrally-located place in your
home. Spectrum outlines that your router should also be elevated off of the floor, away
from bulky pieces of furniture or household appliances. Materials like metal and brick can
also hinder your internet’s speed, so keep it away from those things as well.

3. Adjust the Channel or Band

All WiFi networks use radio waves to send data between devices. These radio waves
operate with different frequencies, known as frequency bands. Today, WiFi networks
operate between two main frequency bands: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.

The 2.4 GHz frequency band covers a wider range than 5GHz. However, it is slower. If you
need your WiFi network to cover the whole house, then 2.4GHz will be best suited for the
job. However, if your main priority is to engage in high-bandwidth activities like streaming
video games, then 5GHz will be your best bet.

With some routers, like a dual-band router, it’s possible to access both frequency bands.
This means you can switch between them to suit your needs and troubleshoot. To find out
if your router has this ability, consult the instructor’s manual or the manufacturer’s
website. Then, follow the step-by-step instructions that pertain to your router.

4. Adjust Your Router’s Antennas

If you’re still having trouble, there’s another adjustment you can make depending on what
type of router you have: You can adjust your router’s antennas.

While many routers today have internal antennas – which means you can’t adjust them –
older models will have external antennas. If this applies to your router, you can adjust the
antenna, which controls the direction of W-iFi signal.

In general, antennas should be pointing in the same direction for best performance.
However, you can consult your instructor’s manual or manufacturer’s website to get
instructions specific to your router, such as positioning both antennas vertically at a 90-
degree angle.

5. Use an Ethernet Cable

When you use an ethernet cable, data is transferred via a cable instead of wirelessly
through radio waves. Ethernet is generally faster than Wi-Fi. While this is enticing, the
drawback is that you’re tethered to your modem if you’re using a laptop or other mobile
device. Still, it can be a worthwhile fix if you’re in a jam and need to connect more quickly
right away.

6. Extend Your Wi-Fi Network

Perhaps you have super-fast internet, but it simply can’t reach the full extent of your home.
This is common in larger spaces, and one way to address it is through a Wi-Fi extender,
which takes the Wi-Fi signal coming from your router and brings it into spaces that are
further away. While Wi-Fi extenders can offer valuable solutions, the placement needs to
be strategic. Ferris cautions against extending your network beyond its capabilities.

As you get further away [from the router], the signal gets weaker because it just can’t
transmit the signal any further,” he says. “It decreases the overall speed of your network in
the whole house.”

On the other hand, mesh systems make it so there are several different sources of WiFi
connectivity in your home rather than just one router or the one router replicating its
signal. This helps keep all of your devices connected. “By using a device like a Wi-Fi 6E or
Wi-Fi 7 mesh router, you can get a stronger and more reliable connection in the home,”
says Kurt Van Wagenen, CEO of Summit Broadband.

“Adding mesh extenders provides further coverage for larger homes with stone walls or
metal doors, which can block Wi-Fi signals,” says Van Wagenen. “With these types of
routers, latency will be decreased and internet speeds will be significantly faster.”

7. Remove Unnecessary Devices From Your Network

Sometimes, however, the problems you’re experiencing have less to do with the router
you’re using than the devices you’re using once you’re connected to the internet. This is
something that Ferris has witnessed increasingly over the past 10 years doing home
installation projects.

Anyone who’s experienced slow internet speeds should pause and assess just how many
devices are competing for access. Since having too many devices on your network can slow
down even the most reliable connections, it’s important to remove any unnecessary
devices from your network – especially when you’re not using them.

8. Check Your Device

While having too many devices online can negatively impact your system, sometimes the
problem at hand isn’t due to the number of devices you have connected but to a particular
device itself.

For example, maybe you stream movies with ease on the TV and enjoy smooth connectivity
with your Bluetooth speakers and iPad, but whenever you log onto your PC or laptop, the
internet is annoyingly slow. In this case, it’s likely that your internet is perfectly fine, but
your device just has too many background programs running that are getting in the way.

These programs might always be intuitive, so find your laptop or PC’s Task Manager or
Activity Monitor dashboard in order to find out what’s needlessly running and then close it.

9. Upgrade Your Router

You might find that the problem is due to the router you’re using. A router’s job is to send
information from the internet to your devices, and while they all serve the same purpose,
all routers are not created equally.

Oftentimes, your provider will give you a modem and router when you sign up for services.
While Ferris recommends sticking with the modem you’re given, he says that it can be
worth the money to buy your own upgraded router – especially if the equipment you’re
using is a few years old.

“When you go buy a 99-dollar router now, it’s probably better than the one that you bought
five years ago for 250 bucks,” he says, due to how fast technology has advanced.

These days, you can even buy routers that are made with specific activities in mind, such
as gaming routers. You can also call your internet service provider and inquire about
renting an upgraded router from them.

10. Upgrade Your Internet Plan

If none of these tips help improve your internet speed, it might be time to call your internet
service provider and upgrade your internet plan.

Before you choose a new plan, it’s important to get a sense of what internet speed you’ll
based on your daily activities. For example, surfing the web doesn’t require the same
speed as high-bandwidth activities, like gaming and streaming.

When speed is the top property, Van Wagenen has a definitive recommendation. “The best
way to improve connectivity and internet speeds in your home is by choosing a fiber-optic
internet provider
,” he says. “Fiber-optic internet is symmetrical, meaning that the upload
and download speeds are the same. This makes a big difference for video conferencing,
gaming, or security cameras that are sending data from the home to the internet.”

This isn’t the only advantage, either.

“Having a fiber-optic provider typically results in more consistent speeds since bandwidth
is not shared with neighbors,” he says. “This alleviates the issue of experiencing slower
speeds when there is higher internet traffic throughout the day.”