In our nonstop world, there is nothing worse than looking something up on the internet and having to wait around for the results to pop up on your screen. We want things to appear now. We want the video to load instantly. We want the answer to our question immediately. We want our Zoom calls to be clear. How do we get faster speeds? How can we get information to download faster? Depending on your service, one or more of these options may provide some relief from slow downloads.
Upgrade your Service
Have you been with your current internet service provider (ISP) for a while? Your first step might be to give them a call and see if service has improved in your area. Perhaps they’ve added some fiber lines. Maybe they have added some new equipment to their central office that will optimize bandwidth and increase delivery speeds. Make sure your service is taking advantage of their latest and greatest improvements. Ask them whether there is a more robust package available. A provider may have a premium “gamer” package available that you can take advantage of for a price.
Ask your provider if they can test the line to see the speed you are actually receiving. They have special equipment to see if there is interference or anything else that may be slowing down the connection. They can check equipment or wiring inside and outside your home to pinpoint any potential problems. They can make recommendations on new equipment and best practices as well.
New companies with different or potentially more advanced technologies are continually competing for your business. In the quest to prove themselves in a new market, they may offer incentives to try their service. That service may offer faster download speeds than what you currently have. Also, if they are a newer company, they may have fewer customers, fewer users on their equipment, and thus more bandwidth available per customer.
Check Your Equipment/Cables
Check with your provider and ask whether you are using the optimal equipment for their service. All routers and modems are not the same. If your router is a couple of years old, it may be time for an upgrade. New technologies may be able to handle faster downloads. Check the type of cable you use to connect your router to your computer as well. Shorter, newer cables can often make a big difference. Upgrading to an Ethernet cable may be another option.
Additionally, check the settings on your router. There may be some small changes that can make big differences. Try a reboot on your router or modem to give it a fresh start.
If you have DSL going through a telephone landline, you may benefit from a filter installed on the line to provide clean signals. Oddly, having a cordless phone may interfere with internet speeds even with filters, so try and replace or remove the phones and see if this makes a difference.
Check Your Software
If you have a router or modem installed, make sure the software installed on your computer to interface with this equipment gets regular updates. The settings on the device that is plugged into your router can also be tweaked for optimal performance. Your device itself may be slowing things down. Check for viruses and clean up old files. Clear your cache of unnecessary shortcuts or cookies. If you haven’t updated your computer’s operating system in a while, it may be time to do this.
Use One Device at a Time
We love to multitask, but using more than one device on a network can slow things down. If you are watching a movie while trying to download a document, neither one will work optimally. Use one device or download one thing at a time, and you will get each done faster. Likewise, uploading and downloading data at the same time tends to slow both down as well. If you have Wi-Fi in your home, it may be quicker to download on the device directly plugged into the router instead of the one on the other side of your house.
Disable Apps You Are Not Using
No matter what you are doing on your computer, applications are running in the background. Even if you are not streaming a movie currently, programs such as Netflix are on standby and sending bits of data. Shut applications down and free up bandwidth for the download at hand. Sometimes rebooting your computer or equipment will clear the cache and shut down unnecessary processes.
Check Other Electronic Devices
Speakers, sound systems, or an iPhone in the area of your modem could cause electromagnetic (or radiofrequency) interference. Try moving them to another space on your desk or home to see if this makes a difference.
Timing May Matter
If you use cable internet, your bandwidth is shared among those in your neighborhood network. Download speeds are slower at peak times. If you can wait until fewer users are logged onto their devices, your data will download significantly faster. Additionally, if you are streaming a popular live event, the provider may not be able to handle as many users as log on. There may be nothing you can do in this case. Just be aware of the isolated incident.
Use a Different Internet Source
If your internet speed is generally good enough for you and larger downloads are a rare occurrence, a temporary fix might be found by going to the library, coffee shop, or a friend’s house that may have faster download speeds.
Faster is the Goal!
Faster download speeds are always a goal. They save us time, money, and frustration. One or more of these steps may make a big difference or just a small one. Pick one to try and, if that doesn’t work, try another. The type of internet and equipment you have will dictate how fast you can download information and if your current speed works for you. If it needs improvement, you definitely have options.