Monday, 21 May 2018 | 6 min read
Is your router or internet service provider slowing your internet?
Having a slow internet service has got to be one of the most frustrating experiences. All you want to do is watch some YouTube and Netflix, but you seem to be waiting for the video to load for longer than you spend actually watching it. It can be tempting to immediately blame your equipment, i.e. ask yourself “is my internet slow because of my router?” and then be tempted to go on a shopping expedition for a new one. But there might be more to it than that, and it’s worth investigating further because you invest in a new router that may or may not solve the problem.
Take a look at this checklist to help you determine what’s behind your internet problems.
Understanding speed vs bandwidth
Before we look at what might be causing your speed issues, let’s take a look at bandwidth versus speed. Bandwidth is slightly different to what you might think of as speed. Your ISP provides a maximum amount of bandwidth, expressed as bits per second (mbps), which is how much data you can move in a second. So, upgrading to a plan with more bandwidth may not make your internet speed up, but your internet may be slow if you’re downloading multiple things at the one time.
Tips for checking and optimising your internet connection
Checking your speed and troubleshooting your router are good starting points, but reviewing your ISP could be the best option if you’re still struggling with a slow connection.
1. Check your speed
Conducting a speed test can help locate the source of your internet dramas. To conduct the test, you will need a laptop or computer with a network port and a network cable to run straight into your router. This way, you’ve got the most stable connection between the device running the speed test and your router.
Now open up a browser window and navigate to www.speedtest.net and run the test. You may want to run it a handful of times over a 10 minute period to get a good sample size. Please note that this speed test is to servers outside of our network and your internet performance is often not best represented.
If you’re already with Aussie Broadband, you can view your internet speed through your My Aussie account portal on our website – if you are having difficulty finding the information, you can request assistance via our LiveChat function on the website or call our support team on 1300 880 905.
Protip: Mbps means Megabits per second and kbps stands for kilobits per second. 1000 kbps is about 1 Mbps.
2. Troubleshoot your router
If your connection is slow, begin by troubleshooting your router with a restart. Turn it off, wait 30 seconds, and turn it back on. Run the speed test again.
If the speed test still shows slower-than-expected speeds, it’s probably your router or your ISP. If you have a spare router, you can try the test with it.
One such way to get hold of a router is that you can take advantage of ‘change of mind’ purchases at JB Hi-Fi or Officeworks, as you can often come across modem/routers for under $100 and return it the next day if the speed is no better. If the speed is improved, then continue using the new router.
3. WiFi interference
If you live in a medium- to high-density area like an apartment block or townhouse, it’s possible your WiFi has interference thanks to your neighbours’ connections. The more hotpots on the same channel in the same area you have, the more interference you’ll experience. This is because WiFi runs on channels that can become congested.
Routers usually support two bandwidths: 2.4GHZ and 5GHZ. 2.4GHZ has a slower top speed but can penetrate through walls over distance. 5GHZ is a newer standard that offers a faster top theoretical speed but is less capable when it comes to passing through walls. 5GHZ devices will throttle to the lowest speed device, so this could also slow down your connection. Where possible, use the 5G channel for your fastest 5GHZ devices.
You can use an app like WiFi Analyzer to check the WiFi channels in your area. The app will probably show your neighbours to be on channels 1, 6, and 11. This is good news, as these are the only channels that don’t overlap. If your neighbours using channels other than 1, 6, and 11, they’re causing interference.
Avoid using other channels yourself. Make a note of which channels out of these three have the least signal strength competition, and log into your router and switch to the channel that has the least. Get help from your ISP if you don’t know how to do this, or contact Aussie Broadband’s friendly support team if you’re with Aussie Broadband.
In addition, it’s recommended not to place a router in the kitchen due to fridges, microwaves and other electrical appliances that might be causing interference due to the frequency of the emissions.
4. Check for other factors
Check whether you have other devices downloading during your test. These can affect your speed outcomes. Log into your router and ensure there aren’t any unrecognised users who are stealing your bandwidth, and make sure you change your password if there is one.
You can also check your speeds at different times of the day to look for slow-down periods. If it’s slowing down during the evening, for example, it could be your ISP struggling to keep up with peak demand. If this is happening, consider switching toa provider like Aussie Broadband, as we offer our award-winning network to the nbn™.
If it’s your ISP
Once you’ve tested or checked your network, router, and WiFi and it’s reasonable to assume it’s your ISP causing the slowdown, contact your ISP directly. Your ISP may be able to resolve the slowdown on their end. If they’re unable to help you out, it could be time to consider moving to a new ISP, a reputable one committed to helping you find the right plan like Aussie Broadband.
If you’re not with the nbn™ currently, it may be time to consider making the switch. The nbn™ offers faster potential speeds than the copper-based ADSL networks, and Aussie Broadband offers award-winning nbn plans with no-lock-in contracts, so why not find a plan that suits your household’s needs today?
Or, if you’re not in an area that is serviced by the nbn™, or what the convenience to take your home internet with you wherever you go, you should check out one of our Mobile Broadband plans.
With Aussie Broadband, you’ll get support from our experienced, friendly Australian-based support team. We constantly monitor our network with the aim to avoid congestion whenever possible to minimize the chance of any slowdown during peak hours. In addition to no-lock-in-contracts, you’ll enjoy fast and easy setup and you’ll never have to worry about excess data charges.
Aussie Broadband is aiming for our customers to avoid congestion on our nbn plans even during peak traffic times. To find out how we can achieve this for you, contact our Australian-based support team via our website or call 1300 880 905, and find out about the many advantages of switching to Aussie Broadband for your internet service.
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