It's normal for your internet connection speed to vary, but when it becomes noticeably slower at certain times, there could be something going on that you can address.
Common causes of intermittent slow-downs include peak usage times, weather, a weak WiFi signal, virus or malware problems, and issues with your modem/router or computer.
When a lot people across your network are using the internet at the same time, your online experience tends to slow down somewhat. This can also be a factor if there are multiple people in your home doing high-bandwidth activities 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 can go.
Unfortunately, when it comes to traffic, there's not much you can do about what everyone else is doing. If you have any flexibility, try streaming video or downloading large files during non-peak times. Or, if this isn't possible, you may decide it's time to upgrade your speed or add a second internet line to allow everyone in your home to do what they need to without slowing each other down.
It's also good to understand that websites rely on different servers across networks, which can all run at varying speeds. The way a website is built can also affect how quickly a particular site or webpage loads and performs. There's not much you can do about this, but it may be helpful to note if it's always a particular site or service that runs slowly, and try to avoid it during peak times.
Believe it or not, mother nature can impact your web surfing experience. This is particularly true if you're on a wireless network. If this seems to be the case, either wait for the weather to pass or connect your computer directly to the modem through the Ethernet port to improve your connection strength and speed.
Often people mistake a weak WiFi signal for "slow internet." Physical barriers and electronic interference from common household devices such as microwaves and baby monitors can lead to a situation where your wireless connection doesn't reach all areas of your home.
First, try optimizing your wireless connection through some common troubleshooting steps. If this isn't enough, or if you have a large home or want to access WiFi in areas that are far away from your router, a WiFi extender helps provide a stronger wireless signal over a larger coverage area. For many, this solves "slow internet" problems.
Viruses can cause all sorts of strange computer behavior, including slowing down your internet connection. Make sure you are keeping your computer healthy by running diagnostic and security scans on a regular basis.
The setup and condition of your modem/router, wiring and computer can affect the quality of your internet connection. Check each of these closely to make sure they are not the source of your internet problem.
How old is your modem/router equipment? (Note: in newer internet technology, the modem and router are typically combined into one unit.) Like all technology, modems need to be replaced regularly to make sure they are up-to-date and compatible with our latest network technology.
If you are experiencing an intermittently slow connection and can't figure out the cause, first check to see if you need to update the firmware on your modem. If that doesn't fix your problem, and your modem/router is more than 5 years old, it may be time to order a newer one. Our customer service specialists can help you pick the best equipment for your internet service and speed.
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 at first glance, double-check your cord configuration, make sure cables are firmly plugged in and are in the correct ports, and try swapping out cables or using different jacks if that is an option.
If your modem and landline phone share the same line, make sure that your phone does have a DSL filter, and that it's intalled correctly. Then make sure your modem does not have a filter. As an alternative, use a splitter to plug both a phone line and DSL line into the same wall jack.
Bad wiring can cause intermittent and slow connections. You can figure out if the problem is inside or outside your house by testing your service at the Network Interface Device (NID).
You can also use the Service Troubleshooter to check for network outages and diagnose common problems with your service.