Tips to Improve Your Internet Speed

December 23, 2010, By Christian Cawley

Having an internet connection is one thing – but is it as fast as it should be? Do you have a “broadband” connection that struggles to give you 512kb downspeed? Does your browser hang while waiting for rich media content to load?

If you’re paying for a fast internet connection and find that it runs pretty slow, the problem might be an issue with your ISP, the connection from your property to the local cable box, or there might be an issue inside your home, with the cabling, the equipment you use as a router or modem, or the positioning of your PC or laptop if you rely on a wireless connection.

There may even be a problem with the configuration of your connection.

Improve your Windows 7 internet speed with Namebench

Good Quality Equipment and Cabling

You can’t expect to receive a good network connection with old cabling and a poor modem or router or even a shoddy network card, so in order to troubleshoot any problems with your network connectivity you will need to check all of these items.

Pay particular attention to cabling. Ethernet cables can wear out after prolonged use, and as they’re inexpensive it is worth replacing them every 12-18 months. Also if you’re using a telephone extension cable and a micro-filter to take advantage of domestic broadband… don’t. Within a matter of weeks the signals carried along a standard telephone extension can be irreparably degraded, as they’re simply not designed for this sort of use.

Your best hope here is to lose the cable and install a wireless router.

Positioning Your Hardware

Just as important as good equipment is good positioning, and this goes for both your PC or laptop and your router.

Flat solid surfaces such as mirrors, cabinets and partitions are particularly good at blocking the signal to or from a wireless router, so you should aim to position your equipment within line of sight or at least aim to send your signal to a device that is setup in a straight line with no barriers between them.

While a lot messier, a physical, cabled connection will allow you to setup your PC or laptop wherever you want to put them. This will require a lot of time and patience to arrange, however.

Hardware Configuration

Finally you should ensure that the configuration of your router is correct (as per the user manual and relevant websites) and that your computer is appropriately setup to receive an incoming network connection.

It is generally easy to setup and configure a wireless network connection with most modern operating systems but even then you might that there is a problem. However if you have considered everything that has already been mentioned and even tried disabling your firewall (always worth a try to track down a problem, but don’t leave it off for more than a few minutes) then your network speed issues may well be external rather than internal.

While speaking to your ISP is one solution, a new project available via Google Code, Namebench will allow you to increase your internet connection speed advising you of the fastest DNS servers based on your previous web history.

With this information you can then alter your network configuration and take advantage of these faster DNS servers.

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