You are streaming a video on YouTube and suddenly the screen freezes. The video loading sign appears and keeps spinning endlessly. You frantically try to refresh the page but it does not load or the speed is infuriatingly slow.
We all have been there. The best of internet connections suffer this from time to time. In most cases, the actual problem is rather simple – an adapter that is not properly plugged or an ISP that is throttling your speed. Following is a rundown of some of the most common connection issues and ways to fix them on your own.
Problem Level: Slow Internet Connection
One of the most common and frustrating internet connection problems is slow speed. You may experience slow speed for a variety of reasons. Some of the most likely causes and possible fixes are listed below.
Location of the Wi-Fi Router
You are too far from the Wi-Fi router. Your laptop or device receives weak signal strength which translates into longer loading speeds. A quick way to identify this is to check the signal strength on your machine.
Solution: Move closer to the router. Try to minimize the number of barriers between yourself and the router. Better still, move to the room where you have plugged the router to check whether better signal strength improves your internet speed.
Speed Throttle by ISP
The Internet Service Provider (ISP) has decided to throttle your connection for some reason. This may be because of a violation of the fair usage policy, or for some outstanding dues that you are not aware of. ISPs may also sometimes throttle speeds for no reason which is an unfair practice.
Solution: The quickest way to identify this is by running a speed test, like the Comcast Xfinity speed test. The speed test will instantly reveal the actual download and upload speeds on your internet connection. If the speeds are not as expected, you can contact the ISP to have the problem sorted.
Too Many Connected Devices
You have too many computers and devices using the connection. This creates a bandwidth problem. With more and more devices or machines connected, the bandwidth is spread thin. As a result, all the connected users begin to experience slow speeds.
Solution: Disconnect any unnecessary machines or devices. Most of us keep our smartphones and TVs connected all the time. A better approach is to disconnect the machines or devices that you are not currently using. This frees up the bandwidth resources for the machine you are actually using at the time.
Someone’s using your internet connection without permission. This is often the case when your Wi-Fi is not password-protected or if you have given your password to too many neighbors.
Solution: If you suspect this, simply change the password of your Wi-Fi connection. This will automatically disconnect anyone who is using the connection without your permission.
Your internet connection equipment is outdated. This can be particularly the case if you had your connection installed a while ago. Most ISPs will update the equipment on a routine basis – replacing copper wires with fiber optics and so on. But some may be more negligent towards this aspect of the service.
Solution: Contact your ISP to see if any updated versions of the connection equipment is available. This typically includes the cable and the Wi-Fi router. You can also do your own research and get a more advanced router with better connection capabilities.
Problem Level: No Internet Connection
The only thing worse than a slow internet connection is no internet connection. You have paid your dues, you haven’t tinkered with any of the equipment and suddenly there is no internet. Fortunately, you can save a lot of time by troubleshooting the problem on your own. Here are some common causes and potential solutions.
The cable on your router or modem is unplugged, or there is some other glitch. The router or modem is the likely culprit for no internet connection in most cases.
Solution: A quick and easy way to resolve router problems is by unplugging the router and then replugging after 30 seconds. Also make sure the cables attached to the router are properly inserted.
Sometimes, underground sea cables or other company equipment is to blame. Malfunctions at the ISP level can lead to widespread service outages. This means no internet connection until the service is partially or fully restored.
Solution: Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do in this scenario. The best thing is to stay abreast of the updates from the ISP and use alternate internet access in the meanwhile.
If the internet connection is working fine, the problem likely lies with your computer or device. An update may have changed network settings or some other glitch may be barring internet access.
Solution: Begin by troubleshooting your internet connection. In Windows, you can do this through the Network and Sharing Center. This will reveal if a Firewall or any other software is blocking your connection. If this yields no results, restart your computer.
Slow or no internet connection can be an annoying problem. It can also affect your work routine if you rely on the internet to perform research, submit work, or perform other tasks. With the solutions provided above, you can troubleshoot the connection problem on your own in most cases. If the problem persists despite these fixes, make no delay in contacting your ISP’s customer support and talking the issue over with them.