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How to Improve Your Internet Without Spending More Money

The internet has become a vital element in almost everything we do. We depend on it to work, communicate, research, and even entertain ourselves, so it pays to have a strong, fast connection. If you’re struggling with internet outages, spotty connections, or a speed that drags at times, you can always consider upgrading your plan—but most of us don’t want to spend the extra money every month for a faster connection.

However, there are some strategies you can use to improve your internet connection, in terms of both speed and quality, without spending (much) extra money.

Shop for Another Provider

First, look for​ ​other internet providers in your area. Chances are, there are at least one or two competitors you can choose from. If another competitor is offering a faster connection, and seems to have more reliable reviews for what you’re paying now (or less), it may be worth making the switch. Just make sure you look at all the specs, including speed, service, and price, before changing services.

Test Your Speed (and Diagnose Your Equipment)

If you want to stick with your current provider or if there aren’t any competitors in your area, your next step should be to​ ​test your internet speed​ under multiple different conditions to objectively measure your download speed and determine the source of the problem (if there is one).

·​ Router. ​ ​Test the internet speed when you’re connected directly with an ethernet cable and again when using the router. If the speed is fine with a cable but poor with the router, the router may be the source of the problem. Consider replacing or upgrading it.

·​ Devices.​ ​ You’ll also want to test your internet with multiple different devices. If your laptop seems to be working fine, but your tablet is experiencing internet difficulties, the problem isn’t your internet; it’s your device. A virus or rogue program could be responsible for the problem.

·​ Apps.​ ​ Sometimes, individual apps can interfere with your internet speed, so consider testing multiple apps to determine if one seems to struggle more than the others.

·​ Service.​ ​ If your tests are running slower than the speed you’re supposed to be getting, under all conditions and with all devices, it’s a sign that your service is the root of the problem. Consider contacting your internet provider and addressing the issue directly. If you’re paying for a specific speed and you’re consistently seeing something much slower, they owe it to you to offer a solution.

Update and Reset

Resetting has​ ​the potential to fix many problems​ with both your router and your devices. Install any updates available for your devices and your router, and reset both of them. If there’s an issue with your device, this has a decent chance of fixing it. You’ll want to do this periodically to keep your equipment up-to-date as well.

Secure Your Wi-Fi

If your Wi-Fi appears to be working fine under some conditions, but seems to be slow or laggy under other conditions, there’s a chance someone else is using your Wi-Fi without your permission. Double check your Wi-Fi encryption, and if you haven’t changed your password in a while, consider changing it now (and choosing something strong).

Relocate Your Router

The placement of your router can play a significant role in your internet speed and reliability​ throughout the house. In general, the further away you are from a router, the less reliable your connection is going to be. It’s therefore in your best interest to include your router in the middle of the house, on a primary floor. However, if there’s one room where you’ll use the internet more than the others, you’ll want to prioritize that room specifically.

If you’re not sure what the optimal placement would be, consider experimenting with different placements. Run speed tests throughout the day, and take note if there’s one location that seems to be better than the others.

Stop Multitasking

The more things you try to do at the same time, the slower your internet is going to be (and the worse your devices’ performances will be). You can curtail the slowdown and lag of your connection, then, by reducing your multitasking. Try to keep only one or a few tabs open at a time when browsing the internet, avoid streaming multiple forms of content simultaneously, and if you share your Wi-Fi with other people, take precautions to avoid congestion.

These strategies won’t take you from near dial-up speeds to fiber optic speeds, but they do have the potential to resolve the majority of your internet woes. More importantly, most of them won’t require you to pay more for internet service; they’ll just require a bit of time upfront.

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.

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