At first, you were wondering if you were imagining things. Now, you're sure of it. Your Internet connection is definitely slower some of the time. What's going on?
It's normal for your Internet connection speed to vary, but when it becomes noticeable and consistent, there could be something going on that needs to be addressed. Common things that can intermittently slow you down include: peak usage times, weather, electronic interference, viruses and malware, overworked routers, modems and/or computers.
Peak usage times
When a lot people are using the Internet, your browsing experience may be slower. This is true whether there are a lot of people on your block, in your city or around the globe using the Internet. It can also be the case if there are multiple people in your home online at once. Not unlike a busy highway, if all the lanes are jammed with traffic, you have to slow down and get in line -- no matter how fast your car may be.
The way a website is built or the equipment the website owner uses affects how fast you can access a site or page.
Mother Nature can impact the quality of your surfing experience. This is particularly the case if you're on a wireless network. To solve the problem, wait for the weather to pass and/or connect your computer directly to the modem to improve your signal strength and speed.
Electronic interference (and physical barriers)
Interference from common household devices such as cell phones and microwaves can slow your connection, or cause it to drop altogether. Also, things such as furniture, large metal objects and reflective surfaces can interrupt the smooth movement of your signal. Read "Improve the performance of your wireless connection" for tips and fixes.
Viruses and malware
Viruses can cause all sorts of odd and unpleasant computer behavior, including slowing down your Internet connection. Read "Keep your computer healthy with PC diagnostic and security scans" for more information.
How you've set up your equipment and how you maintain it can affect the quality of your Internet connection. Confirm none of these are the source of your troubles:
Check that your modem cords and cables are installed correctly. Technical glitches can impact performance and cause intermittent signal loss. Even if things look correct, play with different equipment configurations, swapping cables and/or using different jacks.
If you have phone service with us, double check that your DSL filters are installed correctly and not damaged. (Refer to our filter installation tutorial for a detailed explanation of filters and instructions on how install them.)
As a last resort, it's possible that your modem needs to be replaced. Like all technology, modem technology grows old and eventually dies. If you are experiencing a slow/intermittent connection and can.t figure out the cause, try swapping out your modem for a newer model.