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Why is my Internet connection so slow?

imageNo matter how fast your Internet connection is, there are times when things will slow down to a crawl. This article will help you sort out what kinds of things can go wrong, learn what you can do about them, and discover how to get the most from your Internet connection.

 

The type of connection you have makes a difference

The type of Internet connection you use is the most important factor in determining your connection speed. The three most common ways to connect to the Internet from home are dial-up, DSL, and cable. If you have a choice, cable is usually the fastest, but both DSL and cable are faster than dial-up.

 

Many Internet providers also offer Fiber Optic Service (FiOS), which connects to the Internet using light over an optical network. In your home, you still connect your computer through copper wiring. The advantage of FiOS is that it can provide higher speeds than traditional copper wire connections such as DSL or cable. Some Internet providers offer multiple options, depending on the area you are in. More populated areas are more likely to have FiOS available. Check with your phone company or Internet provider for more information.

 

If you use a dial-up connection, there are a couple of good ways to optimize your Internet speed. First, use the fastest modem you can. The fastest modem you can use will send and receive information at a rate of 56 kilobits per second (Kbps). You won't get a full 56 Kbps speed most of the time, but with a good phone line, you should approach at least 45-50 Kbps.

 

Second, make sure that your phone line is in good condition. If the telephone wiring in your home or business is old or deteriorating, you might be picking up stray signals or cross talk from other phone lines. These problems will slow your Internet connection because the modem will have to send the same information over and over until it's transmitted without interruption. Check your telephone wires to be sure they aren't damaged, frayed, or twisted around power or other telephone cables. If you notice crackling in your phones, you might want to contact your phone provider to have them check the lines inside and outside your home to make sure they are in good condition.

 

Tips for wireless network users

When connecting to a wireless network (Wi-Fi), your Internet connection speed can be affected by both where your computer is located and whether other wireless devices are in the same area. Wireless networks operate on frequencies that are similar to those used by other devices, such as microwave ovens or cordless phones. Operating a 2.4 gigahertz (GHz) cordless phone next to your 2.4 GHz wireless laptop can cause interference, or completely block the wireless network connection. If you want to make phone calls while surfing the web, either use a wired telephone or a cordless phone that operates at a different frequency than your wireless network.

 

Proximity to the wireless access point or router, as well as physical obstructions, can affect the quality of your Internet connection. To improve your connection speed, move closer to the access point and make sure that there are no physical obstructions between the access point and your computer.

 

Computer woes: spyware, viruses, and other programs

The health of your computer can affect your Internet connection. Spyware and viruses can definitely cause problems, but your Internet connection speed can also be affected by add-on programs, the amount of memory the computer has, hard disk space and condition, and the programs that are running.

 

Two of the most frequent causes of poor Internet performance are spyware and viruses. Spyware can slow your system by interfering with your browser and monopolizing your Internet connection. Spyware monitors your Internet use and keystrokes, which adds delays. The problem is compounded when there are multiple spyware programs running at the same time. If the problem is severe enough, you can lose connectivity altogether. To get your Internet performance back, you should regularly run an antispyware program to clean out any spyware infestation.

 

Computer viruses can also cause poor Internet performance. When a virus infects a computer, it installs computer code which will attempt to propagate itself, usually by sending copies of itself through e‑mail. Some viruses can multiply at the rate of hundreds of e‑mail messages per minute, which leaves little computing power and Internet connection bandwidth for anything else. Viruses often don't give any obvious indication that they are running, so it's best to run your antivirus software at all times.

Why is my Internet connection so slow? Reviewed by Sartaj Husain on Sunday, June 10, 2012 Rating: 5

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