There are few things more frustrating than an internet connection that’s very slow. Thankfully, there’s a great deal you can do to troubleshoot the problem and speed up your connection. Here’s how to do it.
The first thing you need to find out is whether the slow download speed is due to your broadband connection or your wireless network. Since your wireless network is the bit over which you have control, you should check that first. In any case, optimising and fine tuning your home or office wifi will improve performance.
Firstly, look at where your router is situated. Ideally, it should be in the centre of your house, so that every room gets a good signal. It should be away from walls, the floor and the ceiling as much as possible. And keep it away from metal furniture, which will reflect radio waves rather than allow them to pass through. Modern routers support both 5GHz and 2.4GHz networks. The latter allows for faster speeds, but the former suffers from less interference from other devices like microwave ovens and cordless telephones. So connect to the 5GHz network on devices that support it. If you have devices that only support 2.4GHz, place your router away from appliances like a microwave or cordless phone.
When you’re satisfied your router is in the best possible location, it’s time to analyse your wireless network.
NetSpot will produce a full analysis of all the wifi networks within range of your home or office and highlight any problems. It produces a heatmap of your home or office and highlights ‘dead spots’ where wifi signal strength is low or non-existent. It can also advise on the best placement for your wifi router.
WiFi Explorer allows you to identify conflicts with other networks, identifies signal overlaps, and provides a graph of signal to noise ratio. By maximising the signal v noise, you can improve signal performance and speed up downloads.
One possible cause of poor wifi performance is interference from other wifi networks in your street. WiFi Explorer and NetSpot analyse those networks and let you know if they are causing a problem.
If there are lots of routers in your neighbourhood using the 40MHz spectrum, known as wide band, it can cause congestion – wide band occupies seven channels, compared with five used by 20MHz networks. In this case, switching to the 20MHz band may actually improve the performance of your network by reducing interference. To do that you’ll need to access your router’s admin page in a web browser. You’ll need to consult its manual, or look for a sticker on the bottom of the router, for an IP address, username and password.
Despite the negative publicity BitTorrent has had in recent years, there’s nothing illegal in using it or in downloading torrents. As long as the content you download isn’t protected by copyright or, if it is, you have permission from the rights owner to take it, you’ll be fine. Additionally to Folx download manager it is also a torrent client. It has several features to make downloading torrents faster.
There are a number of things you can do to speed up Chrome downloads.
Downie does a similar job, even allowing you to down; pad 4K-resolution videos from streaming video and social media sites. Just copy and paste the URL for the video page into Downie or use its browser extension. Once you’ve downloaded the video, you can use Permute to convert it to any format you want.
If you’re downloading videos from streaming sites, Elmedia Player can help. It has a built-in browser and download manager. Paste the URL for the video into the address bar in the downloader, then when it displays a list of all the files it’s found on the page, click Download next to the one that corresponds with the video file.
Elmedia allows you watch and download video at the same time.
To view videos you’ve downloaded, click on the Downloads tab and press Play next to the one you want to watch.
Check that your broadband provider hasn’t reported a fault in your area by calling its helpline number.
Once you’ve ruled that out you need to find out whether the problem is your wireless network or is caused by your router failing to connect to the broadband network. If you have a Mac that has an Ethernet port or you have a USB to Ethernet adapter, connect it directly to an Ethernet port on your router. If your download speed is much faster when connected by Ethernet, your wireless network may be the culprit.
Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to troubleshoot and improve the speed of your wifi network.