How Do I Fix My Slow WiFi (Internet speed)?

I keep having friends ask me what they can do about their internet speed. “How do I fix my slow WiFi?” they ask, or “I’m starting a new job, and I’ll be working from home. How do I know if my internet will be sufficient?” or fill in the blank with your own questions!

First, to fix your slow WiFi, what is your actual internet speed?

Head over to SpeedTest and run some tests.

Distance from Router Date & Time Download Speed
Computer with WiFi
Computer plugged into the modem
Phone with WiFi Next to Router
Tablet or Phone with WiFi Away from Router
Phone with cell signal

Does Your Internet Speed match what you expect?

If you have slow WiFi sometimes, but the speed is fine at other times, check with other members of your family. Is someone downloading a big file? That can skew your results.internet speed

Do you know what speed you are paying for? Look at your internet bill or call your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to find out.  While you are on the phone with them, also ask what the maximum speed that is available for you and what the additional cost would be to upgrade.

For example, the maximum that our ISP can provide us at our location is 12 Mbps. If your computer is connected directly to the router, you should receive the speed you are paying for. Using WiFi, the speed will be degraded somewhat. For me, using WiFi, both my computer and phone averages between 9 and 11 Mbps.

Of course, you always want it to be blazing fast, but a small decrease in measurable service of 10% or so is acceptable.

If your speed is well below 15% of the rate you are paying for, do the test numerous times. Keep track and write down your results, time of day, distance from the router, etc. If it persists, call your ISP, report your results, and ask them to get it fixed.

What Your Results Mean:

If your WiFi speed is adequate right next to the router, but not so good as you move away from it, you may need to get a new router with a wider range.  For a larger home, consider a mesh router.

If your WiFi speed is bad regardless of where you are in your house, you’ll need to call your ISP for help.

If your internet speed is terrible while connected directly to your modem, it’s definitely your ISP.

What to do:slow wifi is frustrating - here are some suggestions to fix it

Technology has changed a lot in the past few years, so if your router is more than 4 or 5 years old, it’s probably time to get a new one.  If you’ve determined with the activities above that the problem is with your router, then it is definitely time to get a new one. (Here’s a link to Chris’ recommended routers and modems.)

If you’ve determined that it is a problem with your ISP, get them on the phone. And if the data shows that your router is fine, don’t let them blame your slow WiFi on the router! (Yes, they will try that.)

Give them the data you’ve collected. Let them know how long the problem has been going on. And be prepared to wait on hold for a while. If they do need to send someone out, be prepared to wait a week or more for your appointment.

Other Hints for slow WiFi:

Watch Out For Scams:

  • Remember to stay well clear of shortened links unless you know without a doubt where that link will take you. That includes most bit.ly and owl.ly links. Here’s a recent article about short links.
  • Right now there are a lot of scams out there. Read our article about Covid19 scams.

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

I’ve created a Free Report to protect you from “phishing” scams. Click here to receive it!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past eighteen years. Angie’s List and the BBB rate Geek For Hire very highly.  You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3 support) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

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