Distinctly SJND

Tips & Tricks to Improve your Home Internet

Tips & Tricks to Improve your Home Internet
Dec 15 2020
family-internet-support2

Without a fast home internet connection, distance learning can be even more challenging. We broke down how to check your internet speed and what you should be paying for your internet connection in our 'How to get Affordable Home Internet' post. If you have a high speed plan but are still experiencing problems, follow some of these tips for optimizing your connection speeds. 

How to get better (faster/more stable) internet at home

You may have a good Internet plan, but that doesn’t mean you get high speeds. Several things could cause your internet service to perform poorly. Let's talk about location!

How close are you to the WiFi servers?
While this can be hard to find out on your own, you can use BroadbandNow.com to input your zip code to find the fastest Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in your area.

How close are you to the WiFi router?
WiFi is a signal and it will get weaker as you move away from the source. Solid barriers such as concrete and metal walls/appliances can also reduce the signal.

How many people are using the same router?
As more people use your network the bandwidth is shared and reduced.

How many people are on your Internet line? Dedicated vs. Shared Lines
Most residential internet comes to you over shared lines. This means that while your Internet Service Provider, or ISP, will try to give you the service you’re paying for, if everyone in the apartment building and/or block is streaming movies and Zoom meetings, it can slow down the service for everyone. 
You can buy what’s known as a dedicated line, that will not be as affected by surrounding use, but it does come at a cost.

Four things that can help boost your signal

  1. If you have Ethernet plugs on the back of your router, you can run an Ethernet cable from the router to your computer. Ethernet looks like a big network-cable-2245837_1920phone plug. (See photo). Running the Internet over the cable is often much faster and will get you speeds closer to what your ISP claims in their ads. (You may need a dongle to connect the Ethernet to your laptop.)
  2. WiFi extenders can boost your WiFi signal to make it into the back rooms or wherever your signal weakens. I’ve had success with the TP-Link AC750 WiFi Extender, but you may want to research others as well.home_network_-_multi_devices_graphic                                          Photo courtesy of: GreenFog at English Wikipedia
  3. You might have an OLD ROUTER. If you’ve had your router for a few years, call your ISP and ask them to send you a new one. This technology changes and improves year to year. They should offer to send you a new router for free.
  4. You can buy your OWN router (instead of using the one provided by your ISP). The Amazon EERO is an example of an excellent router, that can also be paired with matching extenders in what’s called a Mesh Network.

Consider how many people are in your household and how many devices may be accessing the internet at any given time. A few things to consider are:

routerHow many people are using the same router?
As more people use your network the bandwidth is shared and reduced.

How many people are on your Internet line? Dedicated vs. Shared Lines
Most residential Internet comes to you over shared lines. This means that while your ISP will try to give you the service you’re paying for, if everyone in the apartment building and/or block is streaming movies and Zoom meetings, you can all feel it.
You can buy what’s known as a dedicated line, that will not be as affected by surrounding use, but it does come at a cost.

High Speed Internet Terminology Decoded

Data Caps

Everything we do online requires data to be transferred across our Internet connection. Some tasks require more data than others. Sending emails and streaming music use small amounts of data, but streaming video, playing online video games, or participating in remote learning can all use large amounts of data. 

Most home Internet plans have an amount of data you can use in a month before charging you a fee. That amount of data is capped, generally at around one terabyte of monthly data. Most people don't come close to hitting these data caps. 

If your ISP has a data cap, and if you exceed the mothy cap, many ISPs charge a fee per X GB of data used. This may show up on your bill without an alert, so it’s a good thing to investigate. Some ISPs will offer an unlimited plan for a small fee.

Be sure to check with your ISP and see if they have a data cap. Your account website should give you a way to check your data usage for the month. 

Asynchronous and Synchronous Bandwidth

Your upload and download are generally two different numbers. Most ISP's offer what’s called asynchronous service. This type of service gives customers many options for download speeds, but just one upload speed. Upload speeds are more important these days because video conferencing uses it to send your video to your meeting.

Synchronous service offers customers the same speeds for both download and upload.

VDSL 

VDSL utilizes your phone line and modem to deliver "high speed" Internet. *Note speeds are dependent on physical distance from the local ISP office. Great distance will significantly affect performance and speed.
Capable speeds up to 100Mbps (Asymmetrical)

VDSL is using the oldest phone technology to deliver the Internet. The standard was introduced in 2006 and is no longer being innovated. VDSL ISP's tend to overcharge for far inferior service. It also requires a landline telephone to operate.

Coax/Cable

Coax/Cable utilizes your coaxial cable TV line and modem to deliver high-speed Internet. It’s capable of speeds up to 1000Mbps (Asymmetrical)

Coax cable is widely available and capable and fast download speeds. Unfortunately, it's locked to one ISP (Comcast). However, in most situations, this is the best price to bandwidth option for most people.

Fiber 

A fiber optic cable and modem that delivers high-speed Internet.
Capable speeds up to 2000Mbps (Symmetrical)

Unlike the other two, Fiber Internet is the only option that is especially created to carry Internet traffic. Fiber is new, and is still being installed in many neighborhoods. If fiber Internet is an option for you, and you can afford it, we strongly recommend it. You can search highspeedinternet.com to see if there are Fiber networks available in your area.

Think you might be paying too much for your internet connection? Check out our blog on How to get Affordable Home Internet

Distinctly SJND

Testimonial

Subscribe to our blog