“Last night I was an hour into Guardians of the Galaxy and my Netflix started to buffer! I want to see the end of the movie! Can you help?”
Sound familiar? Many customers experience issues with their Internet speed, often when the connection itself is working well.
Here’s a list of things you can try without having to be an IT whiz.
1) Reboot your router
If you’re having speed issues out of the blue, the first course of action should be to reboot your router. Simply pull its power cable, plug it back in, and wait about 5 minutes. This action does a few different things in the background, and often will do the trick in restoring your speed.
Keep in mind, if you’re having to reboot your router every day, this could suggest a fault with your router. Routers are just like any other piece of technology and will need to be replaced every few years.
2) Understand your router
The closer your router is to you, the stronger your WiFi connection will be. Because of this, we recommend placing it in the part of your home where you spend the most time. For most people, this means placing your router in the main floor living room.
Most routers use two frequency bands: 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz. Someone who experiences a slow Internet connection should strategically choose which band to use, depending on the circumstances. Below is some info for your consideration:
Coverage: 2.4Ghz is more effective at penetrating walls and objects such as furniture, and as such it generally will provide better coverage. For example, if you’re 2 floors away from your router, you’ll want to choose to connect to the 2.4Ghz frequency whereas, if you’re in the same room, 5Ghz would be preferred.
Interference: 2.4Ghz has 13 different channels that your router will automatically transition between depending on noise levels whereas 5Ghz has 23 channels. In locations where you have a lot of neighbours within a small distance or even a multitude of other wireless technologies in use, you may experience interference on 2.4Ghz as that is the more commonly used frequency. In a congested wireless location, 5Ghz is a preferred option because it is the lesser used frequency. That said, if you’re one of our rural customers, this shouldn’t be an issue for you.
Speed: 5GHz WiFi uses wider channels and as such can push higher speeds than 2.4GHz (providing other signal stats are the same). For most Internet packages, the speed between 2.4GHz & 5GHz will not make a difference, however if you are using your router to move large files from computer to computer in your home, 5GHz will likely make the job much shorter.
3) Connect via Ethernet
Now that you’ve repositioned your router, this will give you the opportunity to connect your most-used devises via an Ethernet patch cable. You can connect your gaming console, television, laptop or desktop to an Ethernet cable linking directly to your router! Simply locate one of the “LAN” ports on the router, and connect it to your device using a cat5e or cat6 Ethernet patch cable. Remember, if you’re connecting a device that was previously connected to your network using WiFi, turn off the wireless connection in that device to ensure it’s getting the most out of being connected via a cable.
Since the living room is where most of us stream video, which uses a lot of data, connecting via Ethernet will help you avoid that buffer symbol and enjoy your movie!
4) Consider blocking the phantom data-pullers – ads!
Ads can be a big leech on your Internet speed, coming in the form of videos, GIFs and pictures, displayed on every website from news sites to video streaming services to social media. These can eat up that little bit of data you need to finish your movie.
What’s the most effective way to counter this problem? Install ad-blocking software that does the job for you! There are free ad-blocking plugins available for every browser.
5) Choose the best browser for your needs
Not many people realize this but browsers differ when it comes to the speed at which pages display.
6) Keep your devices healthy
If you’re experiencing slow Internet speeds, it could mean you have a virus or malware on your computer. Malware will open windows and browser tabs in the background of your computer, eating away at your data, affecting speeds.
If your computer is sick, you have two choices; you can either download a reputable virus removal software, or take your computer to a professional. Sadly, Silo cannot help you remove a virus from your computer, but your local computer technician can!
The best way to protect your device is by preventing viruses and malware from entering them in the first place. Make sure your security preferences are protecting your device and that your computer has good, up-to-date anti-virus software. Do not open questionable emails or links and don’t download apps and games from illegitimate websites.
7) Know what’s eating your data
One thing that many people don’t realize is that they can’t directly see everything that is using their Internet connections.
For example, if you have 5 family members and each person is in their room streaming video, this will use a lot of data. Now consider that each person might also have 5 other windows open, that, unbeknownst to them could be playing videos from ads, or other sources without sound.
Another example would be that a Windows update or an Xbox download is running in the background and saturating the connection and the speed available for other services.
If you’re a rural customer, and your package speed is limiting, this may affect you the most. The next time you’re starting a movie from Netflix, walk around the house and ask your family members if they’d like to watch it with you! But, make sure to tell them to shut down their devices first!
8) Fixed Speed vs Fixed Price
Silo’s nextPath customers can access our highest available speeds, choosing between packages based on the amount of data they use in a typical month. The packages range from 30GB of data speeds to 500GB of data.
If you’re one of our nextPath customers, you know that when choosing your package, you had a choice between “Fixed Price” and “Fixed Speed.”
If you chose Fixed Speed, your speeds will always stay the same, but if you go over your data cap you will pay $.25 per extra GB.
By choosing Fixed Price, this ensures that your monthly bill will always stay the same regardless how much data you use, but once you reach your package’s monthly data threshold your speeds will be reduced to 2Mbps.
If you are a Fixed Price nextPath customer and you are finding that you’re constantly exceeding your data threshold, slowing your speeds, you have two choices: upgrade your package to one that provides more data, or switch to Fixed Speed to ensure that you will always get the speeds you want, no matter how much data you use!
9) Upgrade your Internet package
Finally, it is important to consider the limitations of your subscribed monthly Internet package.
When Silo first started providing Internet to our community, our Platinum package speeds were considered “next generation” for rural living… remember at that time, most people were coming to our service off of a 56k dial-up modem! These days, those same packages often struggle to cope with the challenging demands of today’s Internet. For example, Platinum does not even meet minimum speeds recommendations to deliver a single standard definition Netflix stream, and can be easily fully utilized for hours by something as simple as Windows Update.
If you are interested in upgrading contact our customer service team today at 519-449-5656 ext. 601.
We know that, for some of our customers, upgrade options aren’t yet available due the technologies on our closest broadcast towers. The good news is that we are prioritizing these older towers for upgrades to the latest technologies, ensuring all of our customers will have access to our best and fastest offerings by the time we have worked our way through the network. As these technology upgrades are completed, we will reach out to the customers currently connected in the area to inform them of the newly available options!