How can I boost my Internet speed at home?

Avoid sluggish speeds with 9 easy fixes which can be as simple as moving your modem around.

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Has your Internet slowed down to a crawl? Don't worry, we have some simple tips to help you navigate the crisis.

Test your Internet speed

Like most tech issues, it's important to set a baseline for you to compare your experience with.

Doing an Internet speed test to compare your actual Internet speed to the expected speeds set by your Internet provider is the first step to figuring out where your issues lie. With your speed test result, you should be able to see whether your Internet matches up with the speeds your provider has promised you.

1. Turn your modem off and on

Your modem – which is the device that links your home network to the Internet and allows all your wired and wireless devices to access that Internet connection, can have a significant impact on your Internet speeds.

While it seems like the biggest cliché, in many cases, a quick reset of your modem and router may just be the solution to get your Internet connection running smoothly.

Did you know that the IP address on your device can change at any time? Sometimes your router may not recognise this change, which can make your device's Internet connection even slower.

Just as a shower is sometimes the perfect remedy for restoring your focus, regularly resetting your router every couple months can help to re-establish the connection with your device, getting your Internet speed back on track.

2. Move your modem

Internet connection
The phrase "electrical interference" might be something you hear every now and again from a tin-foil hat conspiracy theorist, but it can be a big reason why you're suffering from slower Internet speeds.

For the best results, make sure you place your router somewhere higher up in your house so it has less chance of picking up other irrelevant signals. Putting your router in a central location so it's within the connection range of all devices is also very important, especially if you live with other people.

Depending on where your Wi-Fi router is located, there are a number of different things that can interfere with the signal. Walls, shelves and the distance between your devices and router can act as barriers. Even things that broadcast electromagnetic waves, such as TVs, radios, microwaves and baby monitors, can mess with your router's signal.

3. Is it time to upgrade your modem?

The technology in the modems and routers we use is constantly being updated. It's important to take advantage of new technologies when you have problems like slow Internet.

If you've had your modem for a while, upgrading to the latest piece of tech will likely see immediate improvements to your Internet speed, especially if you've been using one from your Internet provider. These modems are usually basic models and might not always offer the best connection for your house.

Buying a separate high-quality router can strengthen the reach of your connection and speed, especially one that has different Wi-Fi frequency options, as this lets you prioritise either a 2.4GHz or 5GHz connection speed.

4. Use an ethernet cable

Routers for internet
Digital signals are designed to pass through electrical wiring, and an ethernet cable can take advantage of this. Wi-Fi signal interference is common, so why not use your ethernet cable to get your Internet straight from the source? Your modem should come with a blue or yellow cable – this is the ethernet cable.

For devices that are in one location, such as your desktop or TV, establishing a wired connection can make a notable improvement to your Internet speed. This connection is much less likely to experience interference.

5. Turn off programs running in the background

When trying to fix slow NBN, you should make sure that your device is working as efficiently as possible. It can be easy to lose track of what's using the Internet and what's not. Only run the devices and programs that you need at the time.

The quickest and most direct way to remove unwanted bandwidth is to use Task Manager on Windows or Activity Monitor on Mac.

These will show you what programs are currently running on your computer or laptop, with whatever is consuming the most resources listed at the very top. If you notice a bunch of programs running that you aren't using, simply choose to end the task and shut it down.

6. Clean your cache

Over time, data from your Internet browsing is saved in your web browser's cache. Your browsing history, cookies and Internet settings all build up over time. This can slow down your web browser, making it seem like your Internet speed is slower than it actually is.

Making a habit of clearing your browsing cache on all your devices, particularly when your browsing settings are synced across your devices, can ensure your web browser is running efficiently and securely.

The type of browser you're using might also be a factor, as certain browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Edge and Vivaldi perform better on Windows in comparison to other systems.

7. Disconnect unused devices

While it might not seem like it, unused devices on your network can have a big effect on the speed of your Internet. Phones or tablets may appear inactive, but background activity like updates and downloads can slow down your connection, eating into your bandwidth.

To check which of your devices are connected to your network and to remove those you don't need, look through your modem's web interface or menu. This is usually done by entering your modem's IP address to see what's currently connected to your network.

8. Identify and eliminate viruses and malware

A silent killer, most viruses infect your devices without you even knowing, which can result in a significant reduction in your Internet speed. You can easily protect your devices by using a malware scanner or Internet security system to safeguard your device from dangerous programming.

There are plenty of options to choose from, including brands such as Norton Security and Kaspersky Internet Security, with many offering free trials and seasonal discounts.

9. Switch Internet providers

If you've tried a handful of the tips above and are still not getting results, it might just be time to find a faster Internet plan.

Finding a plan within your budget that also satisfies your speed requirements could be difficult, so it's important to shop around.

For most Australians in households of 2-3 people, an NBN 50 plan should suffice. But if you're already on NBN 50 or you live in a larger household, have a look at the faster plans available.

Compare Internet plans for faster speeds

To see the most accurate list of plans available to you, pop your address into the box below and we'll match the plans to your house's NBN connection type.

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