Why Is My Internet Slow?

May 17, 2024

Today we’re going to discuss the age-old question “Why is my internet slow?”. This question isn’t necessarily ancient but it has been asked for as long as consumers have accessed the internet. Technology has significantly improved since the early years of dial-up and ADSL modems. As technology has improved, so have our demands. High-speed connectivity options are plentiful these days, even in the most remote parts of the world. This blog post is going to assume that you have a solid high-speed connection to the internet. So let’s jump into what you can do to help improve the performance of your network and internet connectivity.    

If your network is made up of mostly wireless devices, and you are looking to get the maximum download or upload speed possible, try the following:

  • Distribute your traffic across multiple access points. Don’t have too many devices on a single wireless router or access point (AP). If you only have a single wireless router or AP, make sure that it is centrally located. For office environments, we recommend at least one AP for every 2500 sq ft, or every 1500 sq ft for residential environments.

  • Hardwire as many devices as possible to a network switch to reduce the number of wireless clients. Stationary devices like desktop computers, televisions, cameras, printers, etc will get optimal performance when wired and this will ensure there is more wireless throughput available for those devices that have to be wireless, like phones, tablets, etc.
  • Adjust your access points away from more congested channels. Conduct a radio frequency (RF) scan to see what sort of environment you are dealing with. Ideally, one that will show you the channel and frequency details. If possible, consider selecting DFS channels on your 5 GHz radio. Note: If your current AP manufacturer doesn’t offer a scan feature, consider migrating to Alta Labs. Our management platform includes scanning and it will not disrupt your network when you perform scans.

  • Ensure airtime efficiency. Generally, airtime utilization should be well below 50% on each configured wireless channel. If you notice that your utilization is higher than 50% for extended periods, this is a clear, concise indicator that a different channel should be selected. Typically, 2.4 GHz environments are very congested – it often does not matter what channel is selected as you will always get 50% or higher utilization. If this is the case, it is best to disable 2.4 GHz on an individual AP basis. If your current AP manufacturer does not provide airtime utilization information, consider migrating to Alta Labs. Our management platform includes airtime utilization information. 
  • Check out the signal strength of your wireless devices. You may see full WiFi bars, but that doesn’t always mean your signal strength is what it should or could be.  Sometimes your equipment manufacturer will give you a per-device signal strength rating in “dB” Add access points and adjust your channels so that your signal strength is between -65 dBm and -30 if possible. If your current manufacturer doesn’t display signal strength for wireless devices, consider migrating to Alta Labs.

  • You may want to consider breaking your wireless network out into several segments based on priority:
  • Mission-critical: This segment should be uninhibited and have full management access
  • Employees (or kids) BYOD network: Should be rate-limited, and possibly firewalled from the rest of the network, or on a different VLAN
  • Guest network: This should be rate-limited and blocked from local network access
  • All of these segments can be easily implemented with Alta Labs’ multi-password technology, using the Standard and Guest network types, along with per-password rate-limiting.

Hopefully you’ve found these suggestions helpful. If you have any feedback or suggestions, please email us at blog@alta.inc