Why is my Internet slow?
When diagnosing a slow Internet connection, a number of questions must be considered such as:
- Why is my Internet connection slow?
Understanding your Internet Speeds
Internet speeds can be affected by many factors, including, but not limited to:
- The distance between your home and the location of our local area network equipment.
- The condition and age of the wiring in your home and your computer.
- The structure of your home and other interferences (e.g. concrete walls and frequencies from devices such as baby monitors).
- Using a wireless Internet connection instead of a wired connection.
- Connecting directly to a non-Bell MTS router.
- A shared connection with other services in your home (e.g. Bell MTS Fibe TV shares the same connection as your Internet).
- Community-wide network congestion.
Home Internet Speed Test
Internet speeds can fluctuate throughout the day depending on the conditions in your home, and other previously mentioned factors. Because of this, it's important to know your base-line speed to know if you are experiencing an ongoing problem with your Internet connection.
You can test your Internet speeds at www.speedtest.net to determine if your Internet speeds are within acceptable limits.
For best results when testing your High Speed Internet connection we strongly recommend that you:
- Use a wired connection (not while connected wirelessly to the Internet).
- Turn off your Bell MTS Fibe TV, and pause any high bandwidth applications like torrent downloads, video streaming, or online gaming.
- Test at different times of the day to get a speed base-line.
Troubleshooting Slow Connection Problems
Once you have determined your base-line Internet connection speed, we recommend these troubleshooting steps:
- Turn your modem or router on and off.
- Use the power switch on the back of the modem or router to turn off the power, wait 15 seconds, and then turn the modem or router back on.
- Then wait 45 seconds to allow the modem or router to synchronize to the server (router lights should be green or blinking green). Try connecting to the Internet.
If your modem or router doesn't have an on/off switch, unplug the modem or router's power cable instead of turning the modem or router off.
- If you are still experiencing slow Internet speeds, perform a speed test for each computer and device you have connected to the Internet, to determine if slow speeds are specific to one computer or device. If slow Internet speed is specific to one computer or device, you may have one of these issues:
- Viruses, spyware or a full hard-drive. Use the ZoneAlarm Internet Security Solutions available from Bell MTS to remove viruses or spyware from your computer.
- If you are using a wireless device (tablet, smartphone, etc.) to connect to the Internet, you may have in-home interference with your router signals that can limit speeds on your wireless devices in your home.
If you are using Wi-Fi:
- The distance between your wireless device and your router may be too great and can lower your Internet speeds. If you have a non-Bell MTS router, adjust the location of the router to a more central point in your home.
- Physical obstructions in your home (walls, floors, in-floor heating, other wireless signals) may be interfering with your wireless signal and affecting your connection speeds.
Bell MTS Fibe TV
If you have Bell MTS Fibe TV and MTS Internet, your connection may be maximized, and this will affect your Internet speeds.
Bell MTS Fibe TV and Bell MTS Internet share the same bandwidth connection to your home. Your connection may be reduced if you are watching or recording several Bell MTS Fibe TV channels or streaming videos simultaneously.
If you have tried troubleshooting, and your Internet speeds still seem slow, please Contact Us for a complete assessment of your Internet connection. Our Customer Service Representatives can assess your connection and determine why your Internet speeds are low.
- Why does my connection seem slow?
Connection speeds can be affected by a number of factors, including, but not limited to:
- the distance between your location and our central office
- the condition of your telephone line
- the condition of the wiring inside your home
- using a wireless connection instead of an Ethernet connection
To help solve slow connection problems:
First, try turning your modem or router on and off.
- After waiting 45 seconds to allow the modem or router to synchronize to the server (router lights should be green or blinking green), try connecting to the Internet.
If your modem or router doesn't have an on/off switch, unplug the modem or router instead of turning the modem or router off.
If your connection is still slow, you may have one of the following issues:
- Viruses, spyware or a full hard-drive. You may think you have a connection issue, but your computer performance may be impacted by spyware, viruses or a full hard-drive. Use the ZoneAlarm Security Suite virus protection software available from Bell MTS to remove viruses or spyware from your computer.
- If you are using a wireless device to connect to the Internet, you may have interference with your router signal that can limit speeds on your wireless devices in the home.
If you are using Wi-Fi then:
- The distance between your wireless device and your home router may be too great. Move your router to a central location within your home or move your wireless device closer to your router.
- Physical obstructions in the home (walls, floors, in-floor heating, other wireless signals) may be interfering with your wireless signal and affecting your connection speeds.
- Bell MTS Fibe TV and Bell MTS Internet connection capacity may be maximized. Bell MTS Fibe TV and Bell MTS Internet share capacity on the connection to your home. This capacity may be reduced if you are watching or recording several Bell MTS Fibe TV channels or streaming videos simultaneously.
We strongly advise that you test the speed of your High-Speed Internet connection using an Ethernet connection (not while connected wirelessly to the Internet). To get an accurate speed test, turn off all Fibe TV streams, and pause any high bandwidth applications like torrent downloads, video streaming, or online gaming services. The website www.speedtest.net can provide you with a test of your Internet connection (although this test will not be 100% accurate, it will give you an approximation of the speeds you are receiving).
- What is considered slow speeds?
Slow speeds are any speeds that fall below the acceptable level for your particular Internet plan. To maintain the maximum allowable speeds, ideal conditions must exist. Since speeds can fluctuate depending on the conditions, it is a good idea to know your base line speeds to determine if you are experiencing slower speeds than normal.
Use a speed test site such as www.speedtest.net, to get a baseline reading.
- When did the slow speeds begin?
Knowing when the issue began can help determine the cause. If you just noticed that your connection is slow, wait a few minutes to see if your speeds return to normal. If the issue began more than 24 hours ago, try to determine what may have changed. (ie. Windows updates, torrent seeding, software/hardware change, changes to your Bell MTS Internet plan, etc.)
- Is the Internet slow at certain times of the day or is it always slow?
If your Internet connection is slow at certain times of the day but not others, determine what is happening at that particular time of the day (ie. Anti-Virus scans, more computers connected to Internet, console games such as PS3, X-Box, Wii, etc. connected to online gaming, torrent seeding, etc.)
- Is your computer running slow?
If your computer or laptop is running slow it can impact your Internet connection speed. A slow computer or laptop can cause your browser to run slow, giving the illusion that your connection speeds are slow, when the issue lies in the computer itself.
A slow computer can be caused by many things. Here are a few examples:
- Limited or no space left on the root drive (ie. C: drive where Windows is installed)
- Excessive cache and cookies
- Hardware/Software configuration issue
- Lack of general maintenance
- Running too many processes at once (more than the computer can generally handle)
Determining why your computer is running slow can be tricky and you should consult with a computer repair company if you do not feel you can resolve the issue on your own.
Bell MTS Technical Support is unable to assist with issues relating to your computer.
- How many computers are connected in the household?
Just like the water pressure in your home, your Internet speed is also regulated. The more computers, laptops, console games, wireless devices, etc., connected to the Internet at one time, the more your Internet connection gets divided.
For example, if the water pressure coming into your home is set to 65psi, and you turn on 1 faucet, you will get roughly 65psi of pressure. However, if you turn on all your faucets, bathtubs, showers, etc. at the same time, the water pressure will drop dramatically. The same happens for your Internet connection.
If you live in a household with multiple devices connecting to the Internet at one time, and are running into slow connection speeds, you may want to consider upgrading to a higher Internet plan.
- Have you made any recent hardware/software changes to your computer?
Hardware changes, such as network cards, processors, motherboards, etc., may require you to reconfigure your network settings. Most hardware requires drivers. Drivers are a form of software that enables the hardware to work properly. Hardware that has incorrect or missing drivers, may inhibit the function of the new hardware and cause undesirable issues, such as slow Internet connection speeds.
Software changes, such as operating system, virus protection, torrent programs, etc. can also have an effect on your network settings. You may need to reconfigure your network settings in order to obtain a connection or alleviate a slow connection issue.
- Are you connected directly to the modem or through a router?
If you have only 1 computer connected via a cable directly to the Bell MTS Modem, the first thing you want to do is powercycle your modem.
If your computer or laptop is connected either wired or wirelessly through a router:
- Shut down your computer/laptop completely (choose Shutdown, not restart).
- Unplug the power cable from the back of your router.
- Unplug the power cable from the back of your Bell MTS modem.
- Wait a minimum of 30 seconds.
- Plug power cable back into your Bell MTS modem.
- Wait for a minimum of 30 seconds.
- Plug power cable back into router.
- Wait for a minimum of 30 seconds.
- Restart computer.
- Test Internet connection.
- Strength of wireless signal
Since the strength of the signal is generally pre-determined in the router (set to default), it may not be set high enough for your needs. Generally raising the signal in increments of one will show an improvement. However, there is a misconception that raising the signal level to the maximum will produce a stronger connection. In some cases, it may actually degrade the wireless connection. If the signal is too strong, it may overpower the wireless device, causing it to perform less desirably than if it was left at the default. You should not need to raise the signal strength by more than 1 or 2 increments under normal conditions.
- Condition of wireless network card
An old or faulty wireless card will have a negative impact on your connection speed. Try connecting directly to the router with an Ethernet cable to rule this out. If your speeds improve while connected directly to the router, you may want to replace your wireless network card. If the card is built in, you may want to try updating the Driver software or installing an external wireless network card.
- Location of the router
The location of your wireless device in relation to the router can have a dramatic impact on your connection speed. If the router is located in the basement and you are trying to access the Internet in your second floor office, the signal may be degraded. Does your connection speed increase as you move closer to the router? If it does, you may want to try relocating the router to the main floor or closer to the area where you use your wireless devices the most.
- Structure around the router
In many cases, the router is installed in an area that has highly reflective materials (ie. stainless steel, etc.), as found in kitchens, or extremely solid materials (ie. cement, brick, mortar, etc.), as found in basements. In these cases, the wireless signal waves get bounced around and lose their strength or have a difficult time penetrating the solid surfaces, therefore by the time the signal reaches your wireless device, it is already weak.
Relocating the router to a suitable area will ensure you are getting the best signal possible.
- Interference of the wireless signal
Signals from other devices may interfere with your wireless signal, causing it to weaken. Since most routers operate on a 2.4 Ghz frequency, the signal can be open to interference from other devices operating on the same frequency. Some older cordless phones also operate on a 2.4 Ghz frequency, therefore causing interference. Other devices, such as microwaves and nearby routers when turned on, can create interference. Large household speakers placed in close proximity to your router may also cause interference due to the large magnets inside.
Identifying a possible source of interference may help you resolve the issue.
- Is your Windows operating system up to date?
The Windows O/S (operating system) requires updates daily. Some updates are imperative to Windows functions such as Internet connectivity. Ensure your Windows O/S is up to date with the latest updates.
- Is your anti-virus software up to date?
Anti-virus programs need to be updated on a regular basis to combat the numerous viruses on the Internet. Ensuring that your Anti-Virus program is up to date with the latest Virus definitions will greatly reduce the risk of getting a virus which may affect your connection to the Internet.
- Are you using a torrent program?
Torrent programs are the leading cause of speed related complaints. Here is what you should know about torrent programs and how they affect your Internet speed:
Torrent programs, also known as file sharing programs and peer to peer programs (P2P), operate by downloading content (movies, music, games, programs, etc.) from sources on the Internet.
Although the main purpose of a Torrent program is to download content to your computer, an equally important purpose is to share the content you are downloading with other people on the Internet. This is referred to as "seeding".
Generally, most people consider the downloading to be the biggest factor when determining an Internet speed related issue. Although this is true to a point, it is the uploading that can really hinder your connection speeds.
All torrent programs will enable you to limit the download/upload speeds, however most people leave it as the default, which is set to download and share at the maximum bandwidth allowable.
Understanding your torrent program and how it works will help you determine if it is affecting your connection speeds.
- Is the issue affecting all computers in the household or just one?
Determining whether or not the issue is affecting all your computers or just one will help you isolate the source of the issue easier. It will also help in troubleshooting should you need to Contact Us.
- Have you restarted your computer recently?
Restarting your computer can resolve many issues. If you have not restarted your computer please do so before continuing with any troubleshooting.
- Have you powercycled your Bell MTS modem recently?
If you have not powercycled (restarted) your Bell MTS equipment, please do so:
- Shut down your computer completely (do not perform a restart).
- Unplug the power cable from your modem or RG for a minimum of 30 seconds.
- Unplug the power cable from your router (if applicable).
- Plug the power cable back into your Modem or RG and wait for the lights to sync up and become solid.
- Plug the power cable back into your router (if applicable), and wait for it to sync with your Modem.
- Turn your computer back on.
- Test your Internet connection.
If you are still experiencing slow speeds, the issue may be beyond your control. Please Contact Us for further assistance.