Does slow Internet affect your gaming, viewing, or teleworking experience? Several factors may affect the speed of an Internet connection or Wi-Fi signal. Thankfully, there are lots of solutions you can try to fix the issue! Improvements can be made to your modem, router, cables, devices, Wi-Fi signal, or your plan’s allowance. Read on for 9 things to troubleshoot for faster Internet.
My Internet is slow. What should I do?
Your Internet connection starts with cable inputs at your home and travels all the way to the devices you use. However, there are several obstacles that can slow its speed along the way. To optimize your Internet or Wi-Fi connection, there are a number of things you can try:
My Internet is slow. What should I check?
Each of them is detailed in the text that follows. To check if your optimization efforts improve your Internet connection, run a speed test before and after you make changes.
Speed test in a nutshell
Your Internet access performance is measured using different settings. The most important one is the megabytes per second (Mbps): the higher the number, the faster your connection. To run an optimal test, follow the instructions carefully. Keep in mind that the test measures the speed of the device on which you run it, not the overall speed in your home.
1. Restart your modem and router
Restart your gateway or your modem and router, Protect your network
To restart your modem and router, simply unplug the device’s power cable for a minute and plug it back in, or press the Reset button on the back of the modem. Have a Helix Fi gateway? This all-in-one product combines the features of a modem and router. To restart the gateway, unplug it for a minute and plug it back in or use the Helix Fi app.
2. Protect your network with a strong password
The more devices are connected to a network, the slower the Internet is. Protect your network with a secure password to prevent your neighbours from using your Wi-Fi without your knowledge! This simple step will help keep your home network safe. Learn how to change your Helix Internet network’s password.
3. Check the cables
Check the cables and ports
If your device is connected to the modem or gateway directly with an Ethernet cable, check that:
- The Ethernet cable is properly connected to both the modem and router, or to the gateway, as well as to the device.
- The Ethernet ports are clean and in good condition.
- The Ethernet cable is of good quality and in good condition. We recommend that you use category 5 cables.
4. Optimize your browser settings
Optimize your browser settings, Remove malware
Make sure your web browser (Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Safari, etc.) is up to date. Updates help improve your browsing experience, including better page loading time. Do you usually have a lot of tabs open at once? This can slow down your browser. Lastly, only keep the extensions (programs added to your browser) that are useful to you and delete the others.
Note that slow loading can be caused by slow servers that host the websites you visit. A significant increase in traffic can affect their operating speed. If you notice that some websites are slow but not others, there’s a good chance it’s a server issue. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do about that.
5. Remove malware and viruses
Malware and viruses can slow down your Internet connection. They might manifest as pop-up windows, intrusive ads, or additional search bars while you browse. On Windows, the Microsoft Safety Scanner detects and removes malware from your computer. This program is not installed by default on your device; you must download it and run it within 10 days of the download. Mac computers have built-in security programs.
That said, we recommend that you install cybersecurity software, commonly known as “antivirus,” on your devices. For more information, see our ways to secure your computer blog post.
How to improve your Wi-Fi signal
Change the Wi-Fi bandwidth, Change the location of your router, Use Wi-Fi repeaters
Every wireless device in your home gets Internet access through Wi-Fi. That is why a high-performance network is key! Here are some solutions for improving your Wi-Fi connection.
6. Change the location of your router
The location of your gateway or router is critical for Wi-Fi signal quality. We recommend that you put the device in a central location. Avoid the basement or second floor. You should also keep it away from devices that can cause interference, such as speakers, Bluetooth® devices, or microwave ovens. Physical obstacles such as doors, furniture, and walls (especially concrete) also affect the range and stability of the signal. When you have your equipment installed by a Videotron technician, they always make sure to place the gateway or router at key locations.
7. Change the Wi-Fi bandwidth
Most routers on the market offer Wi-Fi on two bandwidths: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. These bandwidths have different features:
- 2.4 GHz: better range but less stable due to interference with more household devices using the same frequency
- 5 GHz: smaller range but more stable and faster than the 2.4 GHz bandwidth
It’s generally recommended to use the 5 GHz bandwidth. However, to improve the Wi-Fi connection, devices can be spread over both frequencies to avoid obstructing and slowing down a bandwidth. Here’s how:
- With a standard router, the bandwidths have different names. Generally, you will see “Network Name” (which is the 2.4 GHz bandwidth) and “Network Name 5 GHz” in your list of available networks. Simply select the bandwidth you want a given device to connect to.
- The Helix Fi gateway automatically determines which bandwidth to assign to which device. However, it’s possible for you to choose which bandwidth you want to connect a device to by separating the two networks.
8. Use Wi-Fi repeaters
Repeaters are small devices paired with the router or gateway that extend the Wi-Fi network coverage. Place them at key locations in your home to improve the range and stability of your connection. Repeaters don’t necessarily improve connection speed, however, as the signal splits with each “jump” from one repeater to the next.
To choose the right Wi-Fi repeater, check the:
- Compatibility with your router
- Supported bandwidth (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz)
- Number of devices that can connect
Have Helix Internet? You can purchase Wi-Fi pods compatible with your Helix Fi gateway directly from My Account.
Get more tips on how to improve your Wi-Fi network.
9. Upgrade your Internet plan
Upgrade your Internet plan
If none of the above solutions improve the situation, you might want to upgrade your Internet plan. The Internet speed you need depends on your use. Do you use multiple connected devices simultaneously, participate in videoconferences, play online games, or stream movies? A high-speed plan would provide you with a stable and high-performance experience. Check out our Internet plans.
Ready to improve your Internet speed?
In short, you can improve the speed of your Internet connection by making sure that your devices are up to date and protected, your cables are in good condition, the Wi-Fi signal travels efficiently throughout your home, and that your Internet plan suits your needs. If, after going through these steps, you still find your Internet to be slow, contact your Internet provider’s Technical Support team.