Tech Help

Troubleshooting Your Offsite/Home Internet Connection

As many of us already know, your internet connection at home or offsite location can be slow, intermittant or can drop out completely due to local conditions or trouble at your Internet Service Provider (ISP).  If this occurs, please follow the steps below to troubleshoot the cause and hopefully improve your internet connection.

Get Closer to Your Router 
If you are using a laptop, it is most likely using WiFi to connect to the Internet. The WiFi signal is broadcast through the air by your router. Just as it is hard to hear music several rooms away from the speakers creating the sound, your WiFi signal can be quieted by objects and walls physically between you and your router. Unfortunately, you cannot turn a knob to make the WiFi louder.  To allow a better connection between your laptop and router, move closer and within clear sight of your router. That will eliminate any blockage or dampening of the signal caused by objects and hopefully improve your internet speed.

Connect Your Laptop to your Router with an Ethernet Cable  (best choice !)
Laptops and other wireless devices generally receive only half of the maximum speed provided by your ISP and sent through your router. If you pay for 60mbps down/20mbps up service and your laptop only shows a speed of 30mbps, that is normal. In order to get the maximum speed available, it is best to directly connect your laptop to the router using an ethernet cable. This will allow you to reach and maintain top speed, and cut down on latency (the delay between the signal being sent and being received).

Add A WiFi Repeater/Extender to Your Home Network
If you cannot get physically closer to your router or directly connect to it, adding a WiFi repeater/entender to your home network can help boost your wifi signal to areas the router cannot reach by itself.  These devices are easy to buy and configure, and can nearly replicate the one half internet speed being given out by the router itself through Wifi.

Other WiFi devices on your network 
A big contributor to a poor internet connection or low or fluctuating speeds on a home network is the number of devices accessing your router at the same time. Laptops, smartphones, game systems, and even smart appliances are all looking for their share of the Wifi and the bandwidth supplied by the ISP. By limiting the number and kind of devices that are using your network, you may be able to improve the latency and speed of your laptop’s connection, especially during a video class session. 

Reboot Your Router 
Although it may seem daunting, a reboot of a your router can solve many internet issues. Check your router's guide for specific reboot instructions (most are online at the manufacturer’s website), but in general unplugging and plugging in the router again will force a reboot. The entire process will take around 5-10 minutes depending on how fast the router comes back on, and it reconnects with the ISP.

Update Your Drivers 
Every laptop relies on drivers to correctly identify, connect and use the WiFi signal. If the drivers are out-of-date, your laptop may not be fully utilizing the WiFi signal the best way it can. These updates can be done manually through manufacturer’s website – for Windows usually Intel or Realtek. Macs will generally perform weekly checks, but you can manually check within System Preferences -> Software Update. 

Call Your Provider 
In some cases, you will not be able to improve your home internet connection on your own. Your ISP may be performing maintenance on the lines in your area, or may be experiencing a slowdown or outage. Call your provider to confirm that all systems are functioning correctly, and that your router is communicating properly with the ISP.  If not, a repair or upgrade in service level may be required...