What causes slow internet?

These days, so much of our home and working lives are spent online that it's pretty much vital for us all to have a fast broadband connection.

If you have slow internet, it's useful to understand some of the likely causes, because that will help you decide if it's time to switch to a new type of broadband service.

Here's a few reasons why your internet may be so slow.

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What causes slow internet?

Technical issues with your current broadband

The most obvious place to start is with your Internet Service Provider itself. If your internet is running slow then it's worth giving your ISP a call. They can remotely check up on things and make sure there are no temporary issues with their service or equipment.

You’ll want to do this first. Otherwise you may well be wasting time checking further possible causes.

Landline degraded or too long

If your speeds are always slow and your provider has told you there's nothing they can do, then it’s most likely that the telephone line running to your property from the streetside cabinet has become degraded – or simply that you’re just too far away from that cabinet serving your home or business.

Both things will cause frustratingly slow broadband. And there’s no quick fix either, because either your phone line will need physically replacing (because it’s used to also carry your broadband service), or a new cabinet will need erecting much closer to where you are.

Upgrades like these unfortunately take a very long time to action and often don't happen at all. In such cases, it’s definitely worth looking at alternative broadband solutions

Alternative Solutions

Check your WiFi

It comes as a surprise to many that a lot of slow broadband issues can be due to poor WiFi coverage. If you find your internet connection runs fast in some rooms but not in others (and particularly rooms further away from your router), then you most likely have a WiFi issue. This is most common in larger properties, or ones with thick internal walls.

If this is what you’re experiencing, it’s something that can be fixed quickly and easily. Check out how to make sure you have whole home coverage by extending your WiFi here.

Mesh Extenders

Check how many are using your broadband at the same time

The broadband connection coming into your property is there to be used by all family members (if permitted). That’s what a router does – it shares out the incoming broadband service over and WiFi and ethernet, so it can be used by several devices at once.

But if you have two teenagers upstairs both streaming HD movies and someone else is on a Zoom call, then if you run a speedtest on a different device, you’ll inevitably see slow speeds reported. It’s very much like having good incoming mains water pressure – but internal taps running slowly if everyone’s running a bath at the same time.

If this sort of connection overload is happening to you, then either look at getting a faster incoming broadband service if available where you are. Or even consider getting a second broadband connection perhaps reserved for parents and working from home.

Check your devices

Finally, it's worth checking that your slow broadband issue doesn’t just apply to one device. If you’re seeing slow internet on say a laptop, but your broadband speed is fine when you run a speed test on a connected tablet or smartphone, then you need to start looking at the specific device that's showing poor connection performance.

There's a long list of reasons why your device might be slow. The most common are automatic online processes running in the background, which will slow up that device’s overall connection. These can be things like auto-back up and syncing of files into the cloud, automatic update or possibly even a sign of adware or a virus. All of these can interfere with that particular device’s internet speeds and you should check for these.

It's also worth considering the age of the slow device. As it gets older it will inevitably start to slow down and you may have to bite the bullet and replace the underperforming device.

What if it’s the phoneline that is causing slow broadband?

Only two options here. Either wait and hope that Openreach upgrades the infrastructure in your particular location (which will take ages if it’s going to happen, but if you’re in a more rural location, it’s unlikely to take place at all). Or you’ll need to start looking at alternative broadband solutions to fix your slow internet.

The 4G internet solution to slow broadband

4G broadband is a home internet service that uses the 4G network to provide a primary broadband connection to a property, instead of using a fixed line. So, a 4G broadband is a wireless service.

This means that you won’t be dependent on a landline that is simply incapable of delivering adequate internet speeds and instead you’ll be connected via a faster and more stable wireless service.

In fact, over the last few years, it’s been widely recognised that a wireless service like 4G broadband is by far the most cost-effective and quickest way to get fast internet to properties most in need.

And what if you haven’t got good 4G coverage where you are? Not a problem. An external high gain 4G antenna can be fitted to properties where necessary. This will latch onto available 4G signals and amplify them, before piping them down to a router inside the home or business. The result? A fast and stable 4G broadband service, even where next to no signal is being shown on mobile phones.

Antenna Installation

If this sounds like something you’d benefit from, then head over to this page for more information on the solution to your slow broadband.

Fast 4G Broadband