Need help?

How to Fix a Slow Internet Connection

Authored by:
Support.com Tech Pro Team
This Guided Path® was written and reviewed by Support.com’s Tech Pro team. With decades of experience, our Tech Pros are passionate about making technology work for you. We love feedback! Let us know what you think about this Guided Path® by rating it at the end.

Introduction

Stream buffering on tablet.
Having a slow internet connection can be frustrating. We are used to our devices responding quickly and efficiently to most operations. Whether websites you are visiting are loading slowly, downloads are taking forever, or streaming video and video calls keep pausing or buffering, you can perform some basic troubleshooting steps that may help resolve those problems. This guide will show you how.

1 Power cycle

If you haven't already, please try power cycling the device you're working with. To do so, simply turn it off, wait 30 seconds and turn it back on again.

? Is the issue resolved after rebooting the device?

  1. Yes
  2. No, let's reboot the network

We're here to help!

Connect to a Tech Pro

Call or chat with a Tech Pro 24/7.

Stream buffering on tablet.
Having a slow internet connection can be frustrating. We are used to our devices responding quickly and efficiently to most operations. Whether websites you are visiting are loading slowly, downloads are taking forever, or streaming video and video calls keep pausing or buffering, you can perform some basic troubleshooting steps that may help resolve those problems. This guide will show you how.
If you haven't already, please try power cycling the device you're working with. To do so, simply turn it off, wait 30 seconds and turn it back on again.
  1. Remove the power cable from both your modem and router.
    Modem and router power cycle procedure.
  2. Verify all lights are off on the modem and router.
  3. After 30 seconds, plug in your modem and then your router.
  4. It may take a few minutes for the internet to reconnect.

A busy network can affect connectivity. If other people or unattended devices on your network are streaming video or audio, downloading content, heavily using the internet while you are trying to use it at the same time, your device may have trouble establishing a connection, maintaining a stable connection or may just have slow network performance.

To reduce network usage you may want to turn off or disconnect from the network any devices that may be heavily using up the network.

Check if other devices on the same network are having the same connectivity issue. This applies to situations when:

  • You are unable to connect to a Wi-Fi network:
    • Try connecting to the same Wi-Fi network with other devices.
  • You have no internet access or you have slow or intermittent connectivity:
    • Try loading webpages, watching online videos, listening to online music or playing an online game with other devices connected to the same network, preferably through an Ethernet connection.

Devices can be connected to a network in two ways:

Wired
EthernetWired, using an Ethernet cable.
Wireless
W-FiWirelessly, using Wi-Fi.
Ethernet connection with router being checked.

Make sure your device is properly connected to the router with the Ethernet cable by trying the following:

  • Unplug it and plug it back in firmly or plug it into another available numbered LAN port on the router.
  • Alternatively, you can replace the Ethernet cable, if you have a spare.

The device needs to be within a reasonable range of the router in order to connect and have the best connection speeds.

  • In general, in most homes, you can be up to 30 feet from your router for a decent connection.
  • From 30' to 50' away, the speeds will be slower, and may drop occasionally, but it should be usable.
  • Greater than 50' away, and the signal will most likely be too weak to overcome interference. The speeds will be slow, and the connection may be sporadic.

The above numbers are approximates only. Optimal range may vary based on router make and model.

Wireless signal interference can cause performance issues such as slow or intermittent connections and even complete disconnects. This interference involves the presence of:

  • Electromagnetic fields created by other electronic devices such as: Wi-Fi or Bluetooth capable devices, cordless phones, baby monitors, remote controlled toys, microwave ovens, seasonal lighting, garage door openers.
  • Structural materials in walls, floors, furnishings or other large objects.

To reduce wireless signal interference, look for any of the above devices, turn them off temporarily and check if the issue persists. If it does, then:

  • Consider moving the affected device or any of the other devices further from the affected device.
  • Alternately, if possible, you can select different wireless channels in the devices' configuration. Consult the devices' manufacturers documentation for details on how to make those changes.

The potential of structural materials to absorb wireless signal and cause signal loss or undesired behavior is as follows:

Interference Potential Type of Material
Low Synthetic material, wood, glass
Medium Brick, marble, water
High Concrete, plaster
Very High Metal
Ethernet Cable Ethernet cable.
Ethernet Port Ethernet port.
  1. Acquire an Ethernet cable.
  2. Take one end of the cable and plug it into your router/modem's Ethernet port.
  3. Plug the other end of the cable into your device's Ethernet port.

Your router may need to be relocated to a more centralized location in order to provide better coverage for all your devices.

Good Placement

A house, separated into rooms detailing how placing Wi-Fi in the center of a house will provide better coverage to reach all devices. Diagram.

Bad Placement

A house, separated into rooms detailing how placing Wi-Fi in the corner of the house can cause some devices to not have a Wi-Fi signal. Diagram.

Your device may need to be relocated in closer proximity of the router to get a stronger wireless signal.
If wireless signal is not reaching your device, and relocating your router or the device itself to be in closer proximity is not possible or doesn't resolve the issue, a great way to boost wireless signal without replacing existing equipment is to acquire and install a range extender. Range extenders work with your existing wireless router as a type of wireless repeater used to expand the reach of wireless signal in your home.
Ethernet Cable Ethernet cable.
Ethernet Port Ethernet port.
  1. Acquire an Ethernet cable.
  2. Take one end of the cable and plug it into your router/modem's Ethernet port.
  3. Plug the other end of the cable into your device's Ethernet port.