Will Ferrell once tweeted, “Before you marry a person you should first make them use a computer with slow Internet to see who they really are.” Jokes aside, few things are more infuriating than lagging Internet. If you’ve been having issues with a slow XFINITY® connection, there are several possible explanations. Here are seven of the most common issues and how to fix them.
- You’re getting what you paid for.
Your Internet may be slow because you’re paying for a lower tier plan. Log in to your XFINITY account and look up what speeds you are paying for, and then conduct an Internet speed test. If the numbers match, you’re getting the speeds you’re paying for — it just might not be the speed you actually need.
If your speed test results don’t line up with the service you’re paying for, reach out to XFINITY support to see if there’s a widespread connectivity issue in your area.
- Network latency is high.
Internet performance is based on two things: bandwidth and latency. The former gets a lot of coverage, but you may not have heard of the latter. Latency is the amount of time it takes your computer to communicate with a Web address’s server. You can measure your latency by entering a ping command into your command prompt. The utility will then return the ping rate (or latency), in milliseconds, between your home computer and the requested site’s server.
Latency (and ping rate) can be affected by a number of factors — from network throttling to congestion. And since XFINITY doesn’t cap speeds, there may not be a direct correlation between high latency and your Internet service.
- The Wi-Fi signal is bad.
It might be your Wi-Fi signal, not your Internet, that’s causing delays. Just like cellphone reception can be spotty, Wi-Fi reception can be spotty, too. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to boost your home Wi-Fi signal, like keeping the router out in the open to avoid interference and password protecting your Wi-Fi so unwanted users won’t steal your bandwidth.
If you want a surefire way to improve your connection, surpass Wi-Fi altogether and plug your computer directly into your modem. Wired connections are usually much more reliable than Wi-Fi connections.
- Your hardware needs replacing.
One of the biggest causes of slow Internet is a bad modem. Modem age plays a big factor in this. A modem from the early 2000s is not going to be able to handle your Internet provider’s network upgrades. Your modem has to be built to handle the Internet plan you want.
If your modem is properly outfitted for your Internet capacity, the issue may be the router. Restarting the router usually solves the problem, but if you’re still seeing slow connections after a full power cycle, you may need to replace the router altogether.
- A virus is draining your resources.
Malware and viruses can live on your computer and force Internet speeds to crawl. Lifehacker’s Whitson Gordon suggests that, instead of loading up on antivirus software (which can also slow your computer), you should practice safe browsing. Take care to avoid unsafe files, Internet pop-ups, or unknown links, and you’ll likely see a marked improvement.
- You’re running too many bandwidth hogs.
Your Internet may be slow if you’re watching videos, downloading files (especially with torrents), or even unknowingly running an animation-heavy ad in the background. Close down any video streaming sites and stop any downloads that could be slowing your Internet speed. Install an extension like AdBlock Plus to stop the bandwidth-sucking ads that interfere with your connection.
- Your computer is slow.
If your computer has performance issues in general, your Internet connection will slow down, too. Test the Internet with another device, like a smartphone or tablet. If it’s working fine on any other device, your computer is likely the problem.
Freeing up hard drive space can help restore some of your connection speed. Make sure you’re regularly clearing your cache, deleting temporary Internet files, and emptying the trash can on your desktop. Don’t forget to also check for — and remove — any unnecessary background programs.
If you’ve explored all of these problems and your connection is still slow, it may be time to look at different Internet providers or plans. Your other option? Head outside with your rollerblades and pretend it’s the ’80s again.