Why Is My WiFi So Slow

A Wi-Fi running slow can be caused by many prevailing factors. The 6 likely reasons for a slow wifi speed include:

  • You are placed on the wrong channel
  • Overloaded bandwidth usage
  • Your router is out-of-date
  • Wrong placement of your router
  • Outdated network driver
  • Default DNS Server

Top 6 Reasons For Slow WiFi & How To Fix It!

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.

If you are wondering "why is my internet so slow", stated below are some of the reasons why your WiFi 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. For instance, in the case of ISP throttling your bandwidth, you would have to use a VPN to hide your IP, thus, consumption from your provider. If that is the problem, then test the solution with PureVPN's 7-day trial.

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 WiFi is slow at home is due to the presence of blockers that can block or interrupt WiFi signals. Avoid placing the router behind obstacles like cabinets, walls etc. The more obstacles the Wi-Fi signal has to travel through, the weaker it gets. Moreover, microwaves, cordless phones, and other devices that run on the same 2.4 GHz frequency as your WiFi network can cause a “traffic jam” adding to the sluggish WiFi speed. If these devices are present nearby, it can cause WiFi speed to reduce. This holds for your neighbors who might have many 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.

Solution:

Note that living in close quarters and apartments might prove a little challenging. To see what works best, you might want to change channels to 1, 6, 11. To see what channels are available in your area or what channels are the most congested over your WiFi network, use a wireless analyzer app like Netstumbler ot NetSpot and then shift your channel on your router.

For optimal signal strength and connectivity, eliminate all interference such as Bluetooth devices that aren’t being used and microwaves. Make sure they are at a distance from senders and receivers. The farther these devices are from you router, the better.

2. Overloaded bandwidth usage

Bandwidth refers to the highest amount of data transmitted over the network anytime. You may be sharing the Wi-Fi connection with your family or neighbors. Every time they are involved in bandwidth consuming activities such as playing online video games, streaming large audio files, and other activities, your speed may be compromised. Simply stopping these activities can drastically improve your Wi-Fi performance.

Other household users may leave their PC running a large download, but sometimes this is unavoidable because updates can be massive and time consuming.

Solution:

Installing bandwidth monitoring software such as DD-WRT or Garygole to help figure out the apps that are taking up the most bandwidth. You can assign each app bandwidth allowance through the Router admin panel. Eg, 100 GB to YouTube per month.

If you have multiple WiFi devices in your home with heavy bandwidth usage in all corners, it would be best to get a 802.11ac multi band router with more antennae and access to the 5 GHz band.

too many people on the same network

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. Especially a router provided by your ISP may not support bandwidth preserving features or automatic channel switching as they are very basic. If that is the case, consider upgrading your router to speed up your internet.

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.

Solution:

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.

outdated router

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 at the centre of your home as it broadcasts signals 360 degrees, to cover the entire house radius instead of placing it at the corner of your home.

Furthermore, pointing antennas at each other doesn’t improve signal strength. Modern day routers have omni-directional antenna which radiates equal radio power in all directions.

Solution:

  • Place the router close to where you use the WiFi enabled devices.
  • Your house might particularly be too large for your router device 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 device 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 device at a certain height to achieve noticeable Wi-Fi performance, extending the broadcasting range altogether.
router placement

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.

Solution

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.

update driver

6. DNS Server

A website’s URL is translated into an IP address for exchange of data. The Domain Name System (DNS) is a directory that stores IP addresses for given URLs. If you are trying to get access to a website which is not cached or stored, your DNS server will generate a request of entry from another server.

The default DNS servers assigned by your internet service provider are not always optimal, affecting loading speeds.

Solution:

There are many DNS providers that may be faster like Google DNS. You can change your DNS Server on Windows 10 by going to Control Panel > Network and Internet > Change adapter settings.

Right click on the connected network and go to Properties. Choose Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click on Properties after which you will see the option to Use the following DNS server addresses.

In this area enter the following IP addresses, depending on which DNS provider you want to use:

  • Google DNS: 8.8.8.8, 8.8.4.4
  • Cloudflare IPv4: 1.1.1.1, 1.0.0.1
  • OpenDNS: 208.67. 222.222, 208.67. 220.220

Tip: Test Your Connection Speed!

Run a speed test to make sure the changes you have made are effective. Also, Make sure to close all the applications running in the background and pause the Adblocker, if you are running one, for accurate and true results.

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.

What To Do If All Else Fails?

Keep your SSID in broadcast mode as many devices and clients are unable to discover hidden SSID.

What’s worth mentioning is that if you have wireless devices or interference within a 100 meters radius, you're going to have trouble. Issues such as frequent disconnections, poor performance and unreliable connection are common troubles.

If you’re situated in an environment with other 2.4 Ghz devices, you might want to upgrade to a 5 Ghz wireless device. However, keep in mind that the principles of antenna placement/positioning still apply. A 5 Ghz router has proven to be much better in densely populated areas when compared with a 2.4 Ghz router.

If the above mentioned troubleshooting tips do not improve your internet speed, it is possible that you can not manually fix the problem and may well be a provider issue like a damaged cable line.

In this case, call your Internet service provider and report the problem to receive an immediate response and solution. Calling your ISP is not a last resort, however, it is good to know where the problem lies saving everyone time.