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July 2, 2021
Net Neutrality brought with it the downfall of stable, connected, fair internet usage. To make sure that your provider isn’t throttling your speeds, do everything you can on your end to optimize your usage.
- Learn about hardware installs
- Learn how to check your internet speed
- Find the best internet service, provider
- Learn tricks and tips on how to get the best speed out of your ISP.
RIP Net Neutrality
Maybe you remember that big conundrum back in ‘18–people getting up in arms about “fair internet” or “the death of internet speeds” or “no more internet freedom.”
Stop, drop, and rewind to circa election 45. Ajit Pai is appointed new FCC Chairman. Despite a majority vote against overturning Net Neutrality Pai rolls back Net Neutrality, or simply the law that states, “ISPs (internet service providers) may not intentionally block, slow down, or charge money for specific online content.” His olive branch? ISP’s should “voluntarily” commit to good principles and standards.
All that to say: your internet speed may not be your fault.
Why Is My Internet So Slow?
If you have no control over your internet speed, then how do you make it faster? In large part, due to the rollback of Net Neutrality, the answer is simply–buy it.
At any moment, any internet service provider can throttle speeds for any reason, anywhere. Typically it’s to “monitor usage” so that bandwidths don’t get overloaded–but it also may simply be to make you upgrade to higher packages.
So while you might not be the one pressing the button to give you faster speeds, there are some things you can do on your end to optimize it.
Types Of Internet
Something that may have nothing to do with you or your provider is the type of internet you have. Each American requires a different delivery–those that live miles away from their closest town would benefit from satellite internet. Unrenovated buildings, or key historical facilities that cannot renovate or update their infrastructure might benefit from DSL. All speeds vary:
- Dial-Up – Tops out at 50Kbps (only 0.05mbps)
- Satellite – 5mbps to 25mbps
- DSL – 0.5mbps to 75 mbps
- Cable – between 25 Mbps and 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps)
- Fiber – 50 Mbps to 2,000 Mbps (2 Gbps)
Before you decide how to optimize your internet, run a speed test. Use these results to cross reference what you’re paying for. If the speed you’re paying for matches the speed you’re getting–then it’s probably time to upgrade.
Depending on what kind of internet you have (use the list above to determine possible speeds)–if you run a test and find that the speeds you’re receiving are different from what you’re paying for, try a couple of these options first.
Run A Speed Test On All Devices
To check internet speed, simply click the link above, and then press “Start Test” on the new page when prompted.
It could simply be the device itself. Use the same server to test all the devices in your home. Run it on your computer, your phone, and even check the router / modem itself (can be done on your provider’s home page).
If you’re noticing a large difference between devices–chances are you’ve got firewalls, proxy’s, or anti-virus software that could be bugging up your system. Remove any and all firewalls, proxy’s and anti-virus software (simply found under the “firewall” tab in your system preferences) and run the test again.
If there’s no improvement of speed, your service may be throttling you depending on how they see the “importance” of each device, and the bandwidth it needs. Give your internet service provider’s customer service a call and see if you can’t resolve it.
Isolate the problem
- Turn it off and on again.
If you’re still experiencing slow internet, try the ol’ I.T. reboot. It’s frustratingly laughable, but turn it off and then back on again. Sometimes computers get tired too, and even just a break for them to get back in sync might help.
- Use an ethernet cable
Sometimes old equipment has trouble communicating with new devices. Whether you have an old modem/router, or computer–their age difference might show in their performance. A hardwired ethernet connection could make a big difference.
- Try swapping out the cable that connects your router to your internet gateway (your DSL, fiber, or cable modem).
There’s also another important connection, from your WiFi router to your Gateway (or vice versa). Before the internet can get to your computer, it has to pass through the gateway to your router. If you have a dual modem/router, try and reset it.
If you’ve got two separate devices, try using an ethernet cable. If there’s already one there, reset both–or contact your provider to see if there’s more up to date hardware you can replace them with (most will do this free of charge if they provided the equipment initially).
- Call Customer Service or Upgrade.
This is a fairly exhaustive list. If you’ve done everything in your power and you’re still experiencing eye rolling slow speeds–make sure to check your internet speed test and call your ISP’s customer service with the results. You’ve paid for that speed, you deserve to have it.
Unfortunately, it could be as simple as the click of a button on their end to fix speeds (and most of them will do it if you ask)–but you simply have to check.
Be warned: many customer service agents are trained reps that work off of commission–they’ll work endlessly to upgrade you. Often threatening to switch or cancel services will prompt them to restore your speeds and they get a “retention” bonus. Remember to always be kind, but firm.
For The Advanced User
If you know what you’re getting and you just don’t want to deal with customer service once a month–a VPN might be a good alternative for you.
It can’t necessarily patch a bad connection or fix connectivity due to location, but it can sure reduce ISP throttling. Most VPN’s tout a solid 99% uptime rate (on top of most providers current 99% uptime rate), and they killswitch backup for the few times that service does drop. Plus VPN’s are known for their security, encryption, and safety.
If there are options available for you Bandwidth Place, will help find the best internet service provider near you. They’ll also help you search for the best VPN on the market, if you need one.
There are many downsides to the death of net neutrality–but there are so many things that you can do to take the power back into your own hands.
Remember, some fixes are simple like:
- Power cycling your hardware
- Testing all of your devices
- Removing firewalls
- Hardwiring connections
Some are a little more difficult like:
- Setting up a VPN
- Haggling prices with your ISP
- Swapping and reinstalling new hardware
There are things that you can do to be proactive about the service you’re getting. Make sure you get every penny that you’re paying for–and make your ISP step up. Good luck, and happy streaming!