The more your business depends on the Internet to operate, the more time and money slow Internet access is costing you. Today more and more small business services are moving to web based platforms for things such as email, phone systems, credit card processing, data storage, marketing, and even fax. Some people don’t even realize how slow things are because they have become accustomed it. You might be surprised what could really be causing your issues. Today we will be talking about some of the causes of slow Internet access, and how to remedy some of them.
Often the first place we check is at the individual device where slow internet is noticeable. There are several reasons a PC might be slowing down your Internet usage. If the computer is being sent information at a reasonable speed, sometimes it simply doesn’t have the power or available resources to display it in a timely manner. This could caused by lots of unnecessary applications running, too many applications running at one time, spyware/virus infection, or even hardware problems.
You might try referring to our previous post, Virus and Spyware Removal and Prevention, about keeping your computer safe from viri/spyware. Most applications have things that run minimized in the taskbar, you might not even realize its taking up memory, and processing time. Even PC’s that are relatively new can easily be bogged down by too many applications running in the background. Lets go over how to disable applications that run at start-up.
We need to use the Microsoft System Configuration application. Please note that misuse of this tool can have detrimental consequences, please do not do anything we are not instructing you to do. If you are using Windows Vista/7 click the start menu > type “msconfig” > hit the enter key. If you are on Windows XP click the start menu > click Run > type “msconfig” > hit the enter key. Once the application is open, click on the startup tab. These are all of the applications that run on startup, and proceed to use your system resources. Uncheck any box where you are sure you know what the application is, and sure it doesn’t need to run on startup. My examples are iTunes, Adobe Acrobat, Skype, Microsoft Office, and HP Printer software. After you uncheck the, reboot your PC and they will no longer start. You should notice a speed increase immediately. These applications will still open when you need them, but you don’t need them to run on startup. These applications can be re-enabled at any time. This method isn’t guaranteed to make your internet faster, but it normally helps the overall speed of the PC including Internet page load times. Again, though, misuse of these functions could hurt your computer. If you are apprehensive, don’t hesitate to contact someone that knows what they are doing.
In most cases the PC is to blame for slow internet access. In certain cases your own network is actually to blame. Whether you have a wired or wireless network there are things that can cause your speeds to suffer. For most people, troubleshooting network issues is a painful and confusing process. There are too many possible causes to list here, we’ll try to cover some of the most common network issues we see with our clients.
Bandwith Hogging Applications
Like many other things, one user can disrupt the network for all other users. Some applications require large amounts of data and can affect network operations for everyone. If you notice intermittent connection slowdowns for all network users, this might be the issue. The first symptom of slow internet access most people notice is websites loading slower than normal. This slowdown however can affect all systems that require internet access. Some examples of applications that can cause a whole network slowdown are BitTorrent, desktop sharing, video teleconferences, video streaming/uploading. If you notice a slowdown, it would be a decent idea to review the applications you are using, and those that others on your network might be running. If you would like a more detailed analysis of your network traffic, please contact us.
Wireless Congestion/Low Signal Strength
In the past 5 years or so, the number of WiFi or network enabled devices has exploded. In 2008, WiFi supported mostly computers, and the occasional mobile phone. As of 2013 we have WiFi enabled refrigerators, and the average person has several Wifi enabled devices on their person. Most network hardware in use predates this WiFi boom. Older WiFi enabled routers and access points were not designed to support this many concurrent devices. As a consequence their performance may begin to suffer as more and more devices are connected. If you haven’t updated your devices that provide network connectivity in a while, it could benefit you in more ways than one to upgrade.
Wireless signal strength and signal quality can also have a measured impact on your Internet speeds. All WiFi signals are not the same, and the number of bars we refer to today is not a real indicator of how quality the signal is. If you do not have acceptable speeds on your wireless device, it could mean that you don’t have a quality wireless signal. Moving your wireless device, or your wireless access point could help remedy low signal strength. In some cases upgrading could nearly double wireless coverage. Newer wireless access points and router cover much more area than pre-2010 devices.
We hope that this overview might give you some insight into what has been slowing down your Internets. These are the types of things we see on a nearly constant basis, and I highlighted some of the ways we remedy them. If you need further assistance and you are in the greater Dayton, Ohio, area we would love to assist you. Otherwise we hope the information contained here helps you remedy your issue, or at least give you a better idea of whats wrong. Until next time, thanks for reading!