You shopped around and found the best broadband deal, the most megabits for your money, but webpages are loading slowly, Netflix is buffering, and online video games are stalling at the crucial moment.
Or maybe your internet has suddenly wimped out, right when you need to send that important email and catch the big match. What gives?
Internet Connection Issues – Troubleshooting Internet Connection
Before you phone up your broadband provider, you should be aware that most faults with internet connections occur in customers’ homes. In fact, your ISP will likely guide you through a troubleshooting process similar to the one we outline below before they send out an engineer.
They want to make sure they don’t dispatch an expert to scope out the street cabinet when your router has simply come unplugged. And if that’s the case, they’ll bill you for the visit.
If you follow the guides below, you should be able to restore your internet connection yourself, hopefully without hassle or cost.
If your internet connection has suddenly dropped…
- Check your router: If it’s lit up with green lights, all systems are go. If the lights are flashing orange or are off, you have a problem. Make sure the router is fully plugged in before proceeding.
- Reboot: Restart your router, your laptop, any other device you’re using. It’s practically as foolproof as blowing into Nintendo cartridges.
- Suspect your family: Every internet connection has a designated amount of bandwidth, or the amount of data it can receive in a single second,commonly described as speed. If someone else in your home is downloading a BluRay film or entering their 15th hour of an HD binge watch, it will reduce the amount of bandwidth available to you and slow your web browsing. If you’re constantly squabbling over the internet, you should consider upgrading to a broadband package that offers more megabits to share.
- Look for other bandwidth leeches: Our homes are packed with gadgets, gaming consoles, and smart appliances, all of which are sipping bandwidth. If you’re struggling to get a good connection, check and see what other devices are hopping a ride on your WiFi and turn them off if you can.
- Be aware of the time of day: Sometimes your internet speed can lag or even fail due to network contention, or high numbers of your neighbours logging on. If your internet speeds tumble during the big football game, it may simply be an issue of traffic. But if you’re consistently battling for speed during the peak evening hours, you should contact your ISP.
If you’re having long-term problem with your connection, including unreliability and slower speeds than you expect…
- Move your router: The closer you are to your router, the stronger the WiFi signal your device receives will be and the faster and more stable your connection will be. Position your router in a central, visible location in your home, ideally off the ground and away from windows. Also be aware that WiFi signals can be impacted by thick walls, metal pipes, wardrobes, fish tanks, TVs, appliances, and doors.
- Buy a new router: If you’re using an ageing or faulty router, it may simply not be able to broadcast a network with enough oomph. If you have an ISP-issued router that’s out of date or broken, contact them for a replacement. But you may want to purchase a better performing router yourself.
- Upgrade your kit: If you have one device that consistently won’t connect to the internet or sustain a speedy connection, it may be broken or too old, and might merit an upgrade.
- Plug in: You can bypass sluggish WiFi networks altogether by using an ethernet cable, which delivers the connection right from your phone jack to your computer or device, with fewer megabits lost in transit.
- Understand other broadband specs: If you can comfortably browse the web but certain activities like online gaming or video calling are glitchy and slow, your network might be suffering from latency (lag, also called ping) or jitter (change in latency). Most of these issues can be resolved by doing the things that improve WiFi signal strength but if your broadband performance is consistently bad, you’ll want to contact your ISP or shop around for a better broadband tariff.
- Know your rights: If your connection is regularly down or the speeds you’re getting consistently fall below the ones advertised and your ISP can’t or is unwilling to fix them, you may be entitled to walk away from your contract without penalty.