By Matthew Campbell – Head of SME and FTTH at SEACOM
We all know that feeling when you’re on a Zoom call with your top customer, or you’re streaming the season finale of your favourite series, and your internet connectivity drops. Irritation sets in! Slow (or no) internet is a struggle everyone has faced at one time or another. But why let connection problems get you down?
Internet speeds depend on a number of factors but your internet service provider (ISP) shouldn’t be the cause of your woes. If you are forking out hard-earned cash for a steady and reliable fibre line, you should expect to get what you paid for.
There are some easy things you can do to check whether your connection speed caters for your needs (and your bank balance). Learn how to check your internet speed and, possibly, even improve it! You might find that your connection problems are something you can even fix yourself. Here are some tips to help you make sure you are getting what you paid for when it comes to home fibre.
Check the speed of your home fibre line
Start with an internet speed test to check whether you are getting the upload and download speeds you are paying for. If the speeds are much lower than what you signed up for, there is definitely something else going on. Keep in mind that there may be some latency (or delay) with most connections. It may take time for your device to respond to an upload or download request and this will have an impact on your internet speed.
Let’s unpack latency a bit more. When you want to upload or download something, bits of data or “packets” are transmitted to and from your device. Sometimes these packets go off course and don’t arrive where they are supposed to. This is called “packet loss”. When packets experience delays, this is known as “jitter”. Bad connectivity can be caused by packet loss and jitter, even though your connection speed appears to be good.
As a result, voice over internet protocol (VoIP) calls, such as Skype or Zoom, lose quality. We see blurry faces, we hear robotic voices and we suffer through poor quality multimedia streaming. Want to fix it? Check out this guide for packet loss testing on Windows. Better still, ask your ISP service desk to do this type of test for you, or use their self-help system.
Make sure your home fibre is working for you
“Did you turn it on and off again?” – We’ve all heard this question and it’s a good one to ask. Power cycling (turning hardware off and on again) is actually one of the easiest and best ways to sort out a range of connection issues.
Another easy solution is to move your router. If your router can be unplugged and moved, put it somewhere central where multiple devices can connect to it. For the best connection speeds, connect your device to the router using a LAN cable or get a WiFi booster for rooms that are further away from the router.
New hardware can help improve internet speeds.
WiFi boosters, also known as WiFi extenders or WiFi repeaters, are often a cost-effective solution to poor connections. For the best results, check that your booster and router are compatible. If possible, choose the same brand of router and booster.
Old routers don’t do new tricks. If your router is a few years old, try getting a newer model. Look for dual or triple-band routers because these can be used with a 5GHz band. 5GHz supports more bandwidth and generally doesn’t experience interference from external devices. As with WiFi boosters, make sure your new router can be used with your ISP as not all of them are compatible with each other.
Check what’s running in the background
Some of us don’t even know that Windows updates or other background apps are running on our devices. They can really slow down your connection speeds. When you need a faster internet speed, pause your Windows updates by going to your “Windows Update Settings.” Only do this when necessary, as it is more secure to keep your device up-to-date.
You can check which applications are using your internet connection by checking the Task Manager on Windows. Access the Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc. Go to the process tab and click on “network.” Here you can see which applications are running on your device, with the ones using the most data at the top of the list.
Before shutting down any applications or processes, do a quick internet search to check that it isn’t something important. You may run into problems if you shut down an application that your device needs in order to function properly. For the more computer-savvy folks, check your Windows Resource Monitor. This is pretty much the same as the Task Manager, but it is easier to see which processes are running.
Fall in love with your home fibre
If you have checked all these boxes, and still have connection issues, then it’s probably an issue with your ISP. Ask your provider whether your line is capped, throttled or shaped, as this might be the cause of your connection trouble. If you aren’t getting the support and solutions you need, then it might be time for you to consider another ISP.
Having a fast, affordable and secure internet connection has become something of a necessity in our digital age. If you feel let down by your fibre line, then some of these troubleshooting solutions should help. If they don’t, you probably need to think about moving to a more reliable ISP. For more information about our fibre offerings or to get a quote for an internet upgrade, please contact us today or check if we’re connected to your address.