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The 10 things that could be affecting your internet speed

One of the biggest complaints we have nowadays is that our internet just isn’t fast enough but rather than blaming the NBN or your internet service provider there are things you can do to improve it.

Now it’s not possible to make the internet come into your house faster – a lot of people are under the false impression that buying the latest modem will fix all of their problems. Wrong.

What you can improve is the speed of your connection once it’s in your home.

The type of connection you have to your house, whether it’s one of the many NBN flavours or ADSL or cable, will play the biggest part in determining what sort of speeds you’re going to get.

To change that would mean changing ISPs which could come at some expense or temporary inconvenience as you wait for the connection to be made.

But for now, here are some tips to make your connection at your place even faster. These are the thing that affect your internet speed.

  1. CABLE V WIRELESS

A hard-wired connection will always beat wi-fi. With wi-fi there are a lot of factors that can affect your speed – traffic, wi-fi network quality and where the router is located.

While wi-fi speeds have increased to a maximum of just over 860Mbps, it’s still no match for an Ethernet cable connection which can technically give you 10Gbps if you have a Cat 6 cable.

So wherever it’s possible use a cable to connect your devices like smart TVs, gaming consoles and smart Internet of Things products.

This isn’t always possible, but when it is you’ll see a massive difference.

Anyone building a new home should run Cat 6 cables all through the house and to every TV point so TVs and other related hardware like set top boxes and game consoles can be hardwired.

nbndocsis

  1. HARDWARE

Your device could be the reason why your internet is slow.

Older computers, laptops and mobile devices with slower processors could be putting the brakes on your connection.

It’s also possible for older devices on a network to slow things down for everyone else even with newer products.

  1. MALWARE

If your computer is infected by malware it could be slowing it right down. Malware like Spyware is designed to install itself on your computer and lurk in the background.

If this is the case, it could be connecting to the internet without your knowledge and hogging your bandwidth.

Always run internet security software and be careful when opening email attachments.

  1. ROUTER

Like your devices, the older they are the slower they will be on your network.

If your router is more than three or four years old it would be time to think about buying a new one.

The latest routers use the latest 802.11 wi-fi standards to create faster networks and can keep up with the needs and speeds of the modern user.

Older routers also have weaker antennas and that affects the range of your wi-fi at home as well.

The Netgear Orbi RBK40
The Netgear Orbi RBK40
  1. ROUTER LOCATION

This is a critical factor for your wi-fi network’s range and performance. When having your internet connection installed, the closer to the centre of your home the better.

Walls and doors can reduce the speed and reach of your network so try and locate the router in an open area.

If this isn’t possible you can always take the option of using a range extender or a mesh network like Netgear’s Orbi, Linksys Velop or Google Wi-Fi.

  1. WEB BROWSER

It might sound simple but your choice of browser can also affect your internet speed.

Experiment with various browsers like Safari, Google Chrome and Firefox with the sites that you visit most often and see which one delivers the fastest response.

  1. HOST SERVER

When browsing the internet to various sites, what you’re actually doing is logging into a host server where that site is located.

If that host server is underpowered or not configured properly it is going to be slower than it should be.

In this case, the slow speed is not a problem at your end but from the site your visiting.

The D-Link Cobra Modem Router
The D-Link Cobra Modem Router
  1. BROADBAND CONNECTION

The connection provided by your ISP is the biggest factor affecting your internet speed.

And it all comes down to the type of connection available to you.

Cable would be faster than ADSL, for example, and the various forms of the NBN are better than others.

The iMac Pro
The iMac Pro
  1. OPERATING SYSTEM

Another factor to consider in terms of overall speed is the operating system of your computer and the speed of your processor.

Having a Mac or a PC can actually make a difference with high-end Macs usually having faster processors than a PC.

And it’s a good idea to always have the latest version of the operating system as well because each update usually increases security and efficiency.

  1. NETWORK TRAFFIC

When a highway has a lot of traffic, the cars are usually travelling a lot slower than usual.

This is the same for your internet connection both in your home and from the ISP side.

It’s not unusual for your speeds to come down at night when everyone finishes dinner and starts streaming Netflix at the same time. Nothing you can do about that.

But what you can control is the number of people and devices accessing your network. This can cause congestion when everyone is accessing the internet at the same time.

This is another reason to have one of the latest modem routers which can handle multiple users and allocate their devices to one of three wi-fi bands.

And if you want to be even more competitive when playing online – do what we do and wait for everyone else to go to bed.

But if you have an old modem it’s like driving down a one-line highway at rush hour – you need to update it.

What Affects Your Internet Speed Infographic

*Infographic supplied by Blue Gadget Tooth

About Stephen Fenech

Stephen is the Tech Guide editor and one of Australia's most respected tech journalists. He is a regular on radio and TV talking about the latest tech news, products and trends.

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  • Frank Grant

    With fttn the biggest change can come from the internal house wiring. The shorter the copper the better the speed.
    Cut the telephone wiring back to were the copper enters the house. Add a new plug and connect the modem.