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How to Speed Up Your Internet Connection

Man's hands holding a tablet showing buffering video.
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Internet connections could always be faster. Whether your downloads are crawling, streaming feels like a slideshow, or you just want to maximize your speeds, here’s how you can accelerate that connection.

Depending on your Internet Service Provider (ISP), you can often get faster speeds by calling them (or visiting their website) and upgrading to a more expensive plan. Your monthly bill will go up, but so will your speed. Before you do that, however, here are some tips that can speed up your connection for free.

Optimize Your Wi-Fi and Local Network

Many issues with local networks, particularly those using Wi-Fi, are to blame for poor Internet speeds. Before looking at your Internet connection, it’s worth making sure your local network is up to par.

The most basic fix for poor network performance is to turn off your router (and modem, if it’s separate), count to ten, and then turn it back on again. This is called “power-cycling” your router, and it can often speed things up.

Choosing a Wi-Fi Channel in a a basic router setup menu.

If you use Wi-Fi instead of wired Ethernet, it’s a good idea to minimize interference from nearby networks, as these can cause speed dips and network drop-outs. If you see a lot of other networks on your devices when connecting to your home Wi-Fi, you’ll likely benefit from picking a Wi-Fi channel that offers the least interference.

If you have a modern router that supports the 5 GHz band, you should use it wherever possible. Using the 5 GHz band results in faster speeds and less interference. If you have an 802.11ac compatible, dual-band router, you will see two networks appear when connecting. You can name them accordingly under your router setup. Most routers have instructions for accessing this interface printed on the side of the device.

Router menu with both 2.4 and 5 GHz Wi-Fi bands check marked.

While you’re logged in, it’s worth downloading and installing any new firmware that’s available for your router. Where to find this differs based on the manufacturer and model you’re using, so look for “Software Update” or something similar.

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