5 Reasons For a Slow WiFi Connection

A Wi-Fi running slow can be caused by many prevailing factors. The 5 likely reasons for a slow wifi speed include:

  • Too many applications running in the background.
  • Too many devices connected to a single channel.
  • Users performing strenuous activities
  • The way your router is placed
  • Old hardware

Why Is My Wi-Fi So Slow?

Pages that take a considerable amount of time to load can be quite frustrating and a test of patience as well. Slow Wi-Fi speed can become even more of an alarming situation when you’re trying to catch up to deadlines and completing your homework on time.

Stated below are some of the reasons why your Wi-Fi speed may be slow with possible solutions.

*Note: A bad Wi-Fi signal may get you to think it is an Internet connection problem, but in reality, that is not always true. To speed up your internet or boost the Wi-Fi signal, you will have to follow different steps.

1. You are placed on the wrong channel

Wireless networks consist of two frequency bands: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz respectively. These frequency bands affect two factors that are speed and how fast they can travel. For instance, a 2.4 GHz channel can provide slower speeds under a broad coverage area whereas; a 5 GHz channel can transmit faster speeds over a smaller coverage area. Preferably a 2.4 GHz connection is better applied to city areas due to less noise or interference than a 5GHz network. These bands are split across multiple channels.

A common reason why Wi-Fi is slow at home is due to the presence of appliances such as microwaves, cordless phones, and other devices that transmit on the same 2.4 GHz channel. If these devices are present nearby, it can cause Wi-Fi speed to reduce. This holds for your neighbors who might have a lot of devices connected to the same network and that run on the same frequency.

Channels are similar to roads, and the devices are vehicles on the road. If everyone uses the same route to reach their specified destination, it is likely to cause traffic congestion. But if several routes are leading to the same destination, it is likely to split the traffic, causing lesser congestion. So picking the channel with the least amount of traffic congestion is an advisable solution for examples, channels 1, 6, and 11 are the fastest channels available.

How To Fix It:

To find out what channels are the most congested over your network, use a wireless analyzer app like NetSpot and then shift your channel on your router.

2. Overloaded bandwidth usage

Bandwidth refers to the highest amount of data transmitted over the network anytime. If you share your Wi-Fi connection to multiple people, every time people involved in bandwidth-consuming activities such as playing online video games, streaming large audio files, and other activities tend to utilize your precious activity. Simply stopping these activities can drastically improve your Wi-Fi performance.

How To Fix It:

Installing bandwidth monitoring software such as DD-WRT or Garygole to help figure out the apps that are taking up the most bandwidth

3. Your router is out-of-date

An out-of-date router can also lead to slow Wi-Fi speed. Newer devices tend to provide much better connectivity and range as compared to older devices. For instance, router devices dating a decade back tend to have a Wi-Fi speed of about 25mpbs (megabits per second). While devices released a couple of years after had enhanced speeds ranging from 150 to 500mbps.

Routers support different Wi-Fi standards that are improved as the years pass by. The most in-demand Wi-Fi standards for routers in the marketplace today are B, G, N, and AC. The main difference between each of these is the transfer rate. For example, wireless B has a transfer rate of 11mbps while wireless G has a Wi-Fi speed of 54mbps.

How To Fix It:

If you have a slow Wi-Fi connection, try to reboot the router that should speed things for you. Simply detach the wire from your router and connect it a couple of seconds after. If it doesn’t work for you, the best possible solution would be to purchase a new device.

4. Wrong placement of your router

If you have purchased a new device, but still encountering problems regarding your Wi-Fi speed, the issue might be with the positioning of the router. Signals tend to travel in an outward direction, so it’s best to place the router in a place that covers the entire house radius instead of placing it at the corner of your home.

How To Fix It:

  • Your house might particularly be too large for your router to provide full coverage; you will have to then apply Wi-Fi extenders to increase the range of signals spreading throughout the house. These extenders are auxiliary devices that connect to the router and repeatedly throw signals to cover a much larger area.
  • Avoid placing the router near or in your basement since materials like concrete and material can block Wi-Fi signals and thus making the Wi-Fi slow.
  • Leaving the router on a book shelve or on the ground isn’t the best position to spread your Wi-Fi signals. However, a more promising way is to place the router at a certain height to achieve noticeable Wi-Fi performance, extending the broadcasting range altogether.

5. Outdated network driver

To establish a connection to the internet, a network adapter is needed, which is supported by network drivers. Generally, Windows automatically updates these drivers monthly to ensure you have the best possible driver free from bugs. However, there may be times when these wireless drivers can go missing or become incompatible with your hardware consequently, leading to Wi-Fi connectivity issues.

How To Fix It:

You can manually update the driver by typing device manager in the search box and looking for your network adapter. When you find that right-click the network adapter you want to update and select update driver. If it prompts you of an available update so click install and if not then your system is up to date.

Tip: Test Your Connection Speed!

For accurate and true results, close all the applications running in the background and pause the Adblocker, if you are running one.

Note: Your Internet speed may be slow during busier times of the day as opposed to midnight, that's basically when half your neighborhood is probably asleep. However, if your speed is consistently low, you might want to call your ISP (Internet Service Provider) to get a plan upgrade!

  • Open your preferred browser and go to a speed test website like speed.googlefiber.net.
  • Tap on the "Play" icon
  • After a few seconds, you will see the ping, download speed, and upload speed.