If you believe your internet connection consistently underperforms, there are steps you can take to help get it “up to speed.” Here are seven options for getting optimal performance from your home internet connection.

First, Run a Speed Test

Before taking any steps to improve home internet performance, we suggest running a simple speed test to confirm your everyday speed. You can use GVEC Internet Internet’s speed test by clicking here.

After running the test, compare the download result to the speed you’re paying for. If you’re on a wireless internet plan, keep in mind that these plans are based on “maximum burst” speeds. This technology enables a wireless connection to attain maximum speeds during brief “bursts,” when conditions are optimal. If you have a wireless connection then, it won’t be unusual for speed test results to be less than the megabit per second (Mbps) speed your plan is rated for. Even if your connection isn’t wireless, various factors (e.g., how much overall traffic there is on the network at any given time, etc.) will impact the results of a speed test. Still, if your connection generally disappoints or frustrates, or if your speed-test download number is consistently below your plan’s Mbps rating on a non-wireless plan, the following seven tips may help with getting optimal performance from your home internet.

1. Hardware Limitations

It’s possible the device you use on your network isn’t capable of delivering maximum speed from your connection. This is especially true if you have super speedy fiber-based internet. GVEC Internet Fiber, for instance, can deliver up to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps); older laptops, smartphones and tablets or even recent gaming consoles (e.g., PS4, Xbox One) may not be able to hit your network’s maximum speed. It’s also a good idea to check your device’s settings to verify it’s configured for the highest connection speed possible.

An old, outdated router that’s not fully compatible with the connection technology in use can cause decreased speeds, too, and less than optimal performance from your home internet. It’s important to keep your router firmware updated; doing so will help assure the signal is correctly encoded for and received by the devices on the network. Occasionally powering your router off and on can also help, as can resetting them to factory default settings. If all else fails, try buying a new router.

Keep in mind that GVEC Internet Wireless and Fiber Internet plans offer Wi-Fi through an optional dual-band router. This device, which costs $6 a month to rent, is designed to make the most effective use of the bandwidth available in your home, and to maximize the Wi-Fi signal, including guaranteed compatibility with GVEC Internet Internet’s maximum speeds; plus, rental of our dual-band router includes set-up and enhanced tech support from GVEC Internet to help assure you get optimal performance from your home internet.

2. Adjust/Reroute the Wi-Fi Signal

Wi-Fi signals can be impeded or blocked by physical barriers such as concrete, brick and metal. Electromagnetic interference from other devices (microwaves, radios, wireless speakers, TVs, smartphones, Bluetooth devices, etc.) can also interfere.

Try situating your router in a centralized location, away from physical barriers and devices that can hamper Wi-Fi signals. And always use your devices as close to the router as is practical.

3. Turn off Bandwidth Hogs

The more devices accessing a Wi-Fi network, the greater bandwidth that will be used. It’s important to take Wi-Fi devices not currently in use off the network—this means powering idle devices down or turning off their connection to achieve the best Wi-Fi experience possible.

4. Optimize Programs

The Background activities of internet-connected apps can place a serious drag on your connection if you have several running at once. Close idle apps completely or optimize their settings to control when they can use the internet. You should also regularly check your device’s background activities to verify how much background bandwidth is being used.

Consider using offline versions of any apps for which you don’t absolutely need internet access. Clearing browser and system caches can also help achieve the best Wi-Fi experience possible.

5. Keep Devices free of Malware and Viruses

Besides potentially compromising private user data or sensitive files, viruses and malware can take a serious toll on any device’s internet speed. It’s important to use antivirus software on every device and to keep that software updated. Malicious software often runs in the background, too, so this is another case where regularly checking background activities can be helpful.

6. Add a Signal Booster to Your Wi-Fi Network

Wi-Fi repeaters and extenders receive a wireless router’s signal and retransmit it to areas of a home with problematic connectivity. The two devices work similarly, but a repeater consumes network bandwidth, leaving less for other devices. An extender, on the other hand, doesn’t steal bandwidth from other devices; however, extenders require a separate network to be created alongside the original. Users must log onto this separate network to use the extender signal, making this solution a bit inconvenient.

Repeaters and extenders are decent options for improving and enhancing Wi-Fi signals, but neither is as effective at helping achieve optimal performance from your home internet as a mesh network. Mesh networks combine a router with separate units sometimes known as “pods.” These connect wirelessly to the router and retransmit the signal to areas with low or nonexistent Wi-Fi coverage.

GVEC Internet Internet offers a state-of-the-art Wi-Fi mesh system for our customers. If you’re interested in learning more, visit our Home Wi-Fi Optimization page or call us at 800-699-4832.

7. Call Your Internet Provider

If you’ve tried one or more of the solutions here but don’t believe you’re getting optimal performance from your home internet–or even satisfactory performance–it might be time to call your provider. Your ISP can work with you to help pinpoint any potential trouble spots. You might also consider upgrading a higher speed plan.

If you’re an GVEC Internet Internet customer, we welcome you to call us if you’re having trouble getting a signal in certain parts of your home or if you’re concerned about the speeds you’re experiencing. We’ll do everything we can to help you get the most from your GVEC Internet Internet. For more information, call us at 800-699-4832.

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