Slow WiFi issues are not a new thing. They've been around since forever and there are a ton of possible causes for their uprising.
That's why we decided to write this article where we mention a few different reasons on why this may be happening to you and how you can deal with it. So, without any further ado, let's get right to it!
1: Make Sure That It's the WiFi/Internet
When the internet is slow, it's only natural that we're going to blame the Internet or the WiFi/Router. And sometimes, you may be right.
The easiest way to truly check if everything's alright with your connection is by logging in to your router's settings and checking out the attainable and actual speeds that you should be getting.
To do that:
- Grab the router's manual - you'll need it
- Head over to 192.168.1.1 - doesn't matter if it's with a PC or a phone (The address may differ from router to router. 192.168.2.1 is the next most common one. If none of the above work, then refer to your router's manual or ask your ISP in case that they installed it)
- Use the username and password that is provided either by the router's manual (Or at the back of it) or by your ISP in order to log in
- Find the actual speeds that you should be getting - you should be able to find the value on the "Status" page or on the "ADSL/VDSL/Anything else you may have" page under the network interface
It should look something like this. The numbers that you're looking for are in the "Actual Rate" and "Attainable Rate" tabs.
If these values are much lower than what you are paying, then there's probably something wrong with the connection. Communicate with your ISP about it.
You can try restarting the router as well. But, don't expect any miracles from that.
And, again, do keep in mind that the router's IP address along with the exact pathway to its settings will differ from model to model.
If everything looks good with the connection, then keep on reading.
2: How Many Others Are Connected?
Still here? We're happy to hear that everything is OK on the technical side of the spectrum, then. But there are still a lot of other possible causes for your slow WiFi.
One of the most common reasons is that other people who are sharing the same connection are drawing too much data! This is not exactly a problem for modern connections as even the cheapest packages generally offer at least 50 Mbps.
However, those of you who are unfortunate enough to be stuck with a slower connection or in a remote area are more susceptible to this. The easiest way to discover who's on your WiFi is by using an app that's called "WiFi Analyzer".
And while it offers quite a few useful features, were currently only interested in its ability to discover how many devices are connected to our network.
You can check that out by installing the app and then heading over to the "WiFi Security" tab. At that place, you should find your smartphone, the router, and that's it. Any other device is an extra and only you know whether they are allowed into your network or not.
In case you end up discovering that nearby strangers have managed to crack your WiFi password, do seriously consider changing it.
How to Change your WiFi Password
Changing your WiFi password will throw out anyone who doesn't know it. This is useful in case that an unwanted stranger/neighbor figured out your current one.
Just make sure to pick something that you'll remember. While you're at it, consider disabling WPS as well as an extra layer of security. So, to change the password:
- By using a browser, head over to 192.168.1.1 (The IP of your router - refer to the manual if the above one doesn't work)
- Insert the username and password (Refer to your manual or at the back of the router)
- Find WLAN security key (Exact location differs from router to router. For our cheap ZTE one, the pass was under Network -> WLAN -> Security -> WPA Passphrase). Refer to the router's manual to find out your own pass location
- Once you're there, replace the password with a new one and hit "apply", "submit", or whatever your router says
Again, while you're at it, consider heading over to the WPS tab and disabling that feature as well. It makes your network insecure. Anyone who is tech-savvy will be able to use that for easy access if he ever desires to do so.
3: How to Fix Slow WiFi by Disabling Automatic Updates
A common rookie mistake is that people leave automatic updates enabled. And while that's convenient, your phone or computer can easily end up downloading hundreds of megabytes at the most inappropriate of times.
Google Play used to at the very least inform us when it was downloading an update. But, now, one moment you're casually browsing social media and before you know it, 30 new updates have been installed!
The problem is that while updates are being downloaded, the rest of your network-related activities will feel slower or may even come to a halt.
So, to disable automatic updates on Google Play:
- Open Google Play
- Swipe right from the left side
- Select "Settings"
- Go to "Auto-update apps"
- And select "Don't auto-update apps"
Apart from that, another common cause for having slow WiFi is the same thing on computers with either Windows Updates or Steam.
To fix that for Windows Update, simply head over to Settings -> Update and security -> Change active hours. Once you're there, simply set your own active hours when you don't want your computer to download updates, and that should fix it.
If it doesn't, you can also try pausing the updates or setting your network as a metered one through the network settings.
As for Steam, the easiest way to get around this by completely disabling it from starting up (If you don't need it on 24/7) or by changing its download settings.
4: Fix Slow WiFi by Using a Different Wireless Channel
Routers use a variety of different WiFi channels which generally range from 1 all the way up to 14. If there are too many networks on the same channel, then you could be experiencing interference issues.
Routers will often pick the best channel automatically. But, that's not always the case. There are primarily two steps that you need to follow in order to fix this problem:
- Use WiFi Analyzer to check which channels are congested
- Then log in to your router's IP and switch to a channel that's not used
So, first things first:
- Install WiFi Analyzer
- Head over to the 2nd tab
- Check out which channels are already taken (Channels are numbered at the bottom)
- And you're done here
In our case, channels 1 to 3 are occupied while anything from 4 up to 14 is free (Our network is already set up on 11 to 14 so that doesn't count).
Now that you know which channels are congested, you just need to set your WiFi to a free channel. To do that:
- By using a browser, head over to 192.168.1.1 (Your router's IP address may be different)
- Log in by using the username and password (Can be found on the back of the router, its manual, or to your ISP's documents in case that they provided it)
- Head over to the WLAN settings (The exact location may differ from router to router. It's under the network tab for us)
- Head over to "Channel"
- And set it to the one that's free
That's all for now. If the above-mentioned solutions didn't help you, here's a lot more info that may prove to be useful:
- If you haven't already, try restarting your phone and/or router. Sometimes, it's the best solution
- Try browsing multiple websites to make sure that it's not just a single one that's slow
- Use Speedtest.net to measure your speeds before and after doing any changes to get a slightly more accurate reading of what's going on
- Try using a different DNS address (Unlikely to help but you can always search for it online)
- If you can get your hands on a spare one, try using a different router. There is a small chance that yours doesn't work as it should anymore
Feel like we forgot to mention something important? Got anything wrong? Then let us and everyone else know about it in the comments section down below!