Make The Internet Fast Again!

OR...12 Tips To Speed Up Your Internet

internet
Shawn Stewart

Shawn Stewart

Mr. Stewart has 27 years of experience with hundreds of international, commercial, military, and government IT projects. He holds certifications with ISC2, Cisco, Microsoft, CompTIA, ITIL, Novell, and others. He has a Masters in Cybersecurity, a Bachelors in IT, a Minor in Professional Writing, and is a published author.

Why is the Internet so slow? We pay for 100 Megs, right? Why is my maximum download speed under 10? I just want to download one picture of the grandkids. Why does it take so long?

Sound familiar? Several things can cause slow Internet. Let’s start from the bottom and work our way up. To learn how the Internet works, read our previous blog post. (Link)

Computer Problems and Internet Speed

internetDelete Your Temporary Files – Did you know if you don’t clean out your temp files, they can slow you down and take up extra space? Learn how to remove temp files! (Link)

If your device is getting slow, you may need to clean out your caches. Most devices simply need a reboot but if that doesn’t work, follow the instructions below to empty your temporary files.

Be sure to close all open programs to ensure files aren’t in use. Always reboot your system after clearing temporary files.

  • Windows – Click the magnifying glass in the bottom left, type %temp% and enter. Select all, then delete.  Be sure to empty the desktop Recycle Bin.
  • Mac – Go to the Finder, hold down SHIFT or OPTION/ALT and hit the “Go” Menu. Select “Library”, hold OPTION and click GO. Open the “Caches” folder, select all and send them to the trash. Don’t forget to empty your Trash.
  • Linux (Ubuntu) – In the shell, run the following command (requires super user access) – sudo rm -rf /tmp/*
  • iPad/iPhone – Go to Settings – General – iPhone (or iPad) Storage. Apple recommends deleting and reinstalling Apps to clean them up.
  • Android – Go to Settings – Apps – All. Select your largest Apps and clear cache for each.
  • Web Browsers – Generally, all browsers give you the option to delete temporary Internet files under Settings or Options and under the Security/Privacy sections. One thing to note.
  • You can also delete other cached data, such as cookies, passwords, and form data but doing so will reset saved settings for websites. These settings are usually small and won’t free up much space.


DON’T FORGET
to clear out your Trash/Recycle Bin and restart your device.

Update Your Computer – Don’t trust Windows, Mac, and Linux computers to auto update. Most only install the absolute latest updates but not everything. Some applications, like Office, will not update until told. Make sure your end-point protection (like antivirus, for the OGs) is manually updated after every Operating System (OS) update. Signature files update automatically, but not program updates.

Don’t Bother Your Help Desk – The very first step in troubleshooting any computer problem is reboot. A system reboot clears memory caches and releases hard drive space. It also wipes away unwanted processes hogging up resources.

BONUS! Internet Browsers – A primary recommendation is to use multiple different browsers. Why? Most Internet developers will code their online applications to only one or two of the main browsers. I personally have Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Tor. If your webpages or applications are slow in one, try it in another. You may also have browser plug-ins slowing you down.

Every Devices Connects to the Internet

Too Many Devices? Properly size your equipment to the amount and type of devices you have. With the Internet of Things (IoT), every device needs a connection. My house has nearly 20 network devices (phones, tablets, televisions, streaming services, computers).

Data speeds for Internet connections are listed in Megabits per second (Mbps). The actual Megabyte (MB) rates are found by dividing the Mbps by eight (8), since 1 Byte equals 8 Bits.

Key – KB = Kilobytes, MB = Megabytes, Mbps = Megabits per second

  • Streaming Video – Standard Definition (per stream) – 375 KB or 3 Mbps!
  • Streaming Video – High Definition – 625 KB/5Mbps
  • Streaming Video – Ultra/4K – 3.125 MB/25Mbps
  • Streaming Audio – 64 KB to 250 KB/up to 2Mbps
  • Email (average) – 100 KB/0.8Mbps
  • Conferencing Audio – 64 KB/0.512Mbps
  • Conferencing Video – 720 KB to 1 MB/up to 8Mbps
  • Screen Share – 350 KB to 720 KB/5.76Mbps
 

File access, download, uploads, and other transactional data varies and will use remaining available bandwidth.  A five (5) device network in active use will require between 2 and 5 MB per user or up to 25 MB or 200 Mbps or Internet bandwidth!

Are your voice and video crappy? Find switches and firewalls that support Quality of Service (QoS). This creates an express lane for your real-time traffic, like voice and video. If your streaming service is jerky or the quality is low, you need QoS.

Slow Connection Speeds? Wired connections will always be faster and more reliable than wireless. Use 1 Gigabyte connections when possible. If you are on wireless, ensure you’re on the latest and fasted band. AX is capable of up to 9.6 Gigabits per second. Many people still have B, G, or N, which is limited to as little as 1.375 Megabytes.

Wireless WiFi 6? 6 GHz? Huh?

The names are confusing. Stay with me. There are currently three (3) approved IEEE Standards: WiFi 4, WiFi 5, and WiFi 6/6E. Used in those Standards are three (3) Wireless Bands: 2.4 Gigahertz (GHz), 5 Gigahertz (GHz), and 6 Gigahertz (GHz) in the United States. The 2.4 GHz band has three (3) non-overlapping channels and a maximum speed of 11 Mbps (1.375 MB). 5 GHz has twelve (12) non-overlapping channels and speeds up to 54 Mbps (6.75 MB). Wi-Fi version 6 (802.11ax) includes 6 GHz, which uses 60 non-overlapping channels. Because it handles congestion better with multiple radios, it extends the range of 802.11ax and increases speed 10 times! Wi-Fi version 7 (802.11be) hasn’t been fully approved yet, so don’t buy something with FALSE ADVERTISING!

Wireless Inference? Typical 2.4 GHz antennas state a coverage of 150 feet, or 46 meters, indoors.  But YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE 2.4GHz ENABLED! Don’t be cheap! Buy better equipment! 5 GHz antennas are rated at 50 feet, or 15 meters. 6 GHz has a range of around 30 meters. Don’t believe the specs. Manufacturer tests were performed in open areas with no interference.

In reality, a number of factors limits range. Metal objects, such as HVAC venting, commercial wall studs, and mirrors, reflect WiFi signals creating shadow and dead spots. Wood and other materials with natural water concentrations absorb WiFi signals.

Antenna Orientation? Antenna orientation is key to ensuring signals are propagated properly. Dipole antennas (rubber duckies) create a WiFi field similar to a doughnut. Wireless Access Points without external antennas use the rounded surface of the device as an antenna. The WiFi field created by these devices is shaped like a mushroom. Ensure your WiFi field is properly positioned to cover the WiFi clients.

internet

Outdated Technology? How does 5 GHz in WiFi 4 only support 150Mbps and in WiFi 6 is jumps to 9.6Gbps? In WiFi 6, multiple radios band together on wider channels to pull more data. Note the “Spatial Streams” row above. New technology is required both on your access point (or Internet Router) and your connecting device (laptop or streaming device) to support faster data rates.

Internet Connection?

Bits or Bytes? Internet Service Providers have two-speed designations, Megabytes (MB) and Megabits per second (Mbps). One (1) byte equals eight (8) bits. It’s a marketing ploy!

If you have 80 Megabits per second, your actual download bandwidth is 10 Megabytes, which is how computers calculate and show download speeds. If your home or office has moved to the Cloud, nearly ALL traffic goes across the Internet. Do you have enough Internet bandwidth? What is your UPLOAD speed? Upload and Download speeds are nearly always different.

Bottlenecks? You have one connection to the Internet. Using Quality of Service (QoS) queues built into business-class devices, the system creates a fair system to ensure real-time data, like voice, video, and streaming, always have an express lane, and other more forgiving data types like email can wait.

Bandwidth Hogs and Filtering? That guy streaming acid metal videos is eating your bandwidth and slowing everyone else down. Many business-class routers connecting to the Internet offer the ability to rate-limit or completely block certain unproductive traffic. Use this in conjunction with content filtering to limit your liability from what employees or family members can access on the Internet.

Conclusion

While it is possible your Internet Service Provider is the cause of your network degradation, the problem likely lies in your own internal systems. Misconfiguration and undersized equipment are the primary causes of Internet slowdowns. The best advice is to buy the best equipment for your needs and hire a professional to configure, monitor, and manage the infrastructure. Do It Right!

Need Help?

Reach out to us! We’re all in this together. Visit our contact page to submit an inquiry. Also, please follow us on social media for the latest updates.

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