Home ServicesNetworkhome network slow speeds troubleshooting

June 5, 2024by Inlink Systems

Experiencing slow internet speeds can be incredibly frustrating, especially when you’re trying to work, stream, or game. There are a multitude of factors that can contribute to sluggish performance on your home network, ranging from network congestion to outdated hardware. In this article, we’ll explore various troubleshooting steps to help you identify and resolve issues affecting your internet speed, ensuring a smoother and more reliable online experience.

Key Takeaways

  • Network congestion can significantly slow down your internet speed; use diagnostic tools to identify and alleviate congestion.
  • Optimizing your WiFi performance involves choosing the right wireless channel, properly positioning your router, and reducing interference from other devices.
  • Regularly testing your internet speed on multiple devices helps you identify whether the issue is network-wide or device-specific.
  • Wired connections, such as Ethernet, often provide more stable and faster internet speeds compared to WiFi; consider upgrading your network hardware if issues persist.
  • Managing network traffic through Quality of Service (QoS) settings and limiting bandwidth-hungry applications can improve overall network performance.

Identifying Network Congestion

Network congestion can be a major cause of slow internet speeds. Congestion happens when you overload your internet connection with more traffic than it can handle. This can be due to multiple devices streaming, downloading, or gaming simultaneously. To fix it, you can either lower your internet usage or upgrade to a faster plan.

Optimising WiFi Performance

Choosing the Right Wireless Channel

Selecting the optimal wireless channel can significantly improve your WiFi performance. A comprehensive wifi optimization guide by inlink systems emphasises understanding WiFi channel interference, identifying sources of interference, and selecting optimal channels for improved performance and reliability. Use tools like WiFi analyzers to determine the least congested channel in your area.

Positioning Your Router for Best Coverage

Your wireless set-up has a big impact on broadband speed. Try and place your router close to where you’ll use the internet most. Obstacles like walls, doors, and wardrobes can make a huge difference to WiFi speed. Moving your access point to a more central point in your home can also help.

Reducing Interference from Other Devices

Interference from other electronic devices can degrade your WiFi performance. Ensure 802.11b is disabled if all your devices are 802.11g or newer. Additionally, consider turning off unnecessary devices that might be causing interference. Regularly restarting your devices can also help you get the best connection.

By improving your WiFi set-up, you can enjoy faster broadband and a more reliable connection.

Testing Your Internet Speed

Using Online Speed Tests

To determine how fast your internet connection is, you can use several websites that provide free Wi-Fi speed tests. I recommend using Speedtest.net, Fast.com, or Cloudflare. Each test should take about 60 seconds and will measure your internet’s download and upload speeds. This first test should give you results that are close to the speeds promoted with your plan. If not, try to track this issue over multiple days and times of day to establish a pattern.

Interpreting Speed Test Results

Once you’ve conducted a speed test, you’ll receive two key metrics: download speed and upload speed. Download speed is how quickly data is pulled from the server to you, while upload speed is how quickly data is sent from you to the server. If your speeds are significantly lower than what your internet provider advertises, it might be time to contact them to discuss why you’re not getting the correct speeds.

Testing Speed on Different Devices

To ensure that the issue isn’t with a specific device, test the internet connection through another device to see if it is working and running at a good speed. This can help determine if your network is running slowly, or if the device you are on is having trouble connecting. If you find that one device consistently shows slower speeds, it might be time to troubleshoot that particular device or consider an upgrade.

If you’re subscribed to internet service with at or above one gigabit download speeds, please see performing a total bandwidth test.

Improving Wired Connections

Benefits of Using Ethernet

When it comes to network speed and stability, wired connections often outperform wireless ones. Ethernet cables provide a direct link to your router, reducing latency and interference. This is particularly beneficial for activities that require a stable connection, such as online gaming or video conferencing.

Troubleshooting Ethernet Issues

If you’re experiencing slow speeds on your wired network, the first step is to check your cables. Ensure they are not damaged and are of high quality. For optimal performance, use at least a Cat 5e Ethernet cable, and for gigabit speeds, a Cat 6 cable is recommended. Here are some steps to troubleshoot:

  1. Inspect the Ethernet cables for any visible damage.
  2. Replace any damaged cables with high-quality ones.
  3. Connect your devices directly to the router to rule out any issues with switches or hubs.
  4. Test the connection with different devices to identify if the issue is device-specific.

Upgrading Your Network Hardware

Sometimes, the issue might not be with the cables but with the hardware itself. Upgrading your router or network switches can make a significant difference. Look for devices that support the latest standards and offer gigabit speeds. Additionally, ensure your router firmware is up to date to benefit from the latest performance improvements and security features.

For the most reliable hardwired connection, make sure to use at least a Cat 5e Ethernet cable. For any of Shaw’s Gig speed Internet packages, use a Cat 6 Ethernet cable.

Managing Network Traffic

Managing network traffic is crucial to ensure a smooth and efficient internet experience at home. Here are a few tips on how to manage your home network traffic effectively:

Setting Up Quality of Service (QoS)

Many routers have a quality of service (or QoS) component that allows you to prioritise certain types of traffic on your home network. For example, you can make sure your streaming data always gets first access to available bandwidth for smooth playback. Use QoS settings to prioritise certain online activities and ensure that essential tasks are not interrupted by less important ones.

Limiting Bandwidth-Hungry Applications

Often, slow internet can result from too many programs running in the background. These can hog your bandwidth and slow down your connection. Ensure you close unnecessary applications and limit the use of bandwidth-heavy activities like large file downloads during peak hours. This can significantly improve your overall network performance.

Scheduling Heavy Usage Times

You can also fix home network congestion by dialing back your internet usage. Thankfully, there are several easy ways to do this that don’t include yelling at everyone to get off the internet so you can attend a Zoom meeting. Consider scheduling heavy internet usage, such as software updates or large downloads, during off-peak hours. This helps in balancing the load on your network and ensures a smoother experience for all users.

Prune your internet connections by disconnecting devices that you rarely use. Even if you’re not actively using these devices, they still use bandwidth for updates and other background services.

Updating and Securing Your Network

Updating Router Firmware

One of the first steps in ensuring your network runs smoothly is to update your router’s firmware. Firmware updates often include performance improvements and security patches. You can usually do this by logging into your router’s web interface or mobile app. While some ISPs handle this automatically, it’s always worth checking manually.

Securing Your WiFi Network

Securing your WiFi network is crucial to prevent unauthorised access and potential security threats. Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Change the default login credentials for your router.
  2. Enable WPA3 encryption if your router supports it.
  3. Disable WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) as it can be a security risk.
  4. Regularly update your WiFi password.

Regularly Restarting Your Router

Regularly restarting your router can help maintain optimal performance. A simple power cycle can resolve many connectivity issues and refresh your network. It’s a good practice to restart your router at least once a month.

Regular maintenance of your network equipment can prevent many common issues and ensure a more stable and secure connection.

Understanding Device Limitations

frustrated person with slow internet at home, multiple devices

When troubleshooting slow internet speeds, it’s crucial to understand the limitations of your devices. The real problem is most likely WiFi, especially when multiple devices are using it simultaneously. This can slow down your connection significantly.

Checking Device Compatibility

Not all devices are created equal. Older devices may not support the latest WiFi standards, which can result in slower speeds. It’s essential to check if your device is compatible with your router’s capabilities. If not, you might need to consider an upgrade.

Upgrading Outdated Devices

Outdated devices can be a bottleneck in your network. They may have outdated software, drivers, or hardware that can’t keep up with modern internet speeds. Consider upgrading your devices to ensure they can handle your internet connection efficiently.

Balancing Device Load on the Network

Too many devices connected to your network can cause congestion. Even if you’re not actively using these devices, they can still consume bandwidth for updates and background services. Prune your internet connections by disconnecting devices you rarely use. This can help alleviate network congestion and improve overall performance.

Avoid overwhelming your computer’s CPU by closing unused applications and browser windows. Keep your device’s operating system up to date by allowing auto-updates, and keep your antivirus definitions current.


In conclusion, troubleshooting slow home network speeds can be a multifaceted endeavour, but with a systematic approach, it is entirely manageable. By understanding the potential causes such as network congestion, outdated equipment, and WiFi interference, and by employing practical solutions like running speed tests, connecting via Ethernet, and managing network traffic, you can significantly improve your internet experience. Remember, maintaining a robust and efficient home network requires regular monitoring and adjustments. With the right tools and knowledge, you can ensure that your internet connection remains fast and reliable, meeting all your digital needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes network congestion and how can I identify it?

Network congestion occurs when too many devices are using the internet simultaneously, causing slow speeds. Symptoms include buffering videos, slow downloads, and lag during online gaming. Tools like network analyzers can help diagnose congestion.

How can I choose the right wireless channel for my WiFi?

Choosing the right wireless channel can significantly improve your WiFi performance. Use a WiFi analyzer app to identify the least congested channel in your area and switch your router to that channel.

What should I do if my internet speed is slow on WiFi but fast on Ethernet?

If your internet speed is fast on Ethernet but slow on WiFi, it could be due to WiFi interference or an older WiFi standard on your device. Try changing the wireless channel, reducing interference from other devices, or upgrading your router.

How do I interpret internet speed test results?

Internet speed test results typically show download speed, upload speed, and latency (ping). Compare these results with your internet plan to see if you’re getting the speeds you should be. High latency can indicate congestion or other issues.

What are the benefits of using Ethernet over WiFi?

Ethernet connections are generally faster and more stable than WiFi. They are less susceptible to interference and provide a more consistent speed, making them ideal for activities like online gaming and video conferencing.

How can I secure my WiFi network?

To secure your WiFi network, update your router’s firmware, use a strong password, enable WPA3 encryption, and disable WPS. Regularly check for unauthorized devices and consider setting up a guest network for visitors.

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    Inlink Systems

    Inlink Systems

    The nature of audio-visual requirements has changed for small businesses and residences thanks to the increased use of network-enabled devices. Inlink Systems provides industry-leading, robust network infrastructure to support contemporary IT and AV solutions that enhance your home and work-life. Flexible solutions tailored to your unique needs with ongoing IT support.

    The nature of audio-visual requirements has changed for small businesses and residences thanks to the increased use of network-enabled devices. Inlink Systems provides industry-leading, robust network infrastructure to support contemporary IT and AV solutions that enhance your home and work-life. Flexible solutions tailored to your unique needs with ongoing IT support.

    Contact Us
    0207 101 3432
    57 Rochester Place, London NW1 9JU, United Kingdom
    Contact Us
    0207 101 3432
    57 Rochester Place, London NW1 9JU, United Kingdom

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