Is my Wi-Fi slow because of my router or my ISP?


Slow Wi-Fi is frustrating, especially when you don’t know what’s causing the problem. Here’s how to find out if your slow Wi-Fi is due to your router, your Internet Service Provider (ISP), or something else, and what you can do to correct the problem.

How can I find out what’s causing my slow Wi-Fi?

The first step toward solving your slow Wi-Fi problem is determining your Internet speed. An easy way to do this is to use a free service like Run the test several times throughout the day using your Wi-Fi connection, then calculate the average speed.
  • If your average speed is close to your ISP’s advertised rate, then your ISP is not the cause of your slow Wi-Fi. Your Wi-Fi might be sluggish because you have too many devices vying for bandwidth. Determine how much Internet speed you need to run the devices in your home. If you need more speed, contact your ISP and upgrade your plan. Or, pare down on the number of devices using Wi-Fi.
  • If you’re not getting the speed you’re paying for, the next step is to conduct a hardwired speed test. Use an Ethernet cord to connect to your modem, perform the test, and calculate your average speed. Keep in mind that Internet speed is typically faster when you’re plugged directly into the modem. If you’re still not getting the speed you expect, there could be a problem with your ISP. Call your ISP and report the problem.On the other hand, if your Internet speed is significantly faster when you plug directly into your modem, your wireless router could be the cause of your slow Wi-Fi.

How can I improve slow Wi-Fi caused by my router?

If your Wi-Fi is slow because of your router, try the troubleshooting tips listed below. After each one, perform a speed check using your Wi-Fi connection. If you try all these ideas and your Wi-Fi speed does not improve, it might be because your router is malfunctioning or outdated.
  • Give your wireless router a reboot. A simple reboot might solve your slow Wi-Fi problems. Unplug your router, wait 30 seconds or more, and then plug the router back in.
  • Change the channel. If you live in an apartment complex, dorm, or other densely populated area, several of your neighbors might have their routers set to the same channel, which can slow down your Internet. Try changing your wireless router’s channel to increase your Wi-Fi speed.
  • Protect your network with a strong password. Your Wi-Fi might be slow because your neighbors, kid’s friends, or other unauthorized people are using your network. Create a strong password and change it regularly.
  • Relocate your router. Moving your router could dramatically increase your Wi-Fi speed. Move it away from devices such as microwaves, cordless phones, and televisions, and make sure it’s at least three feet off the floor. Ideally, you’ll want to place the router in the area of your home where you use connected devices most frequently.
  • Replace the router’s antennae. Routers designed for residential use typically come with an omnidirectional antenna, which emits a 360-degree signal. If you connect to Wi-Fi from one location, like the family room or home office, consider replacing the omnidirectional antenna with a single-directional one. Doing so can significantly strengthen your signal and improve Wi-Fi speed.
These troubleshooting tips can help you find the cause of your slow Wi-Fi and correct it. If they don’t, there could be another reason your Wi-Fi is slow. Or, you might need to purchase a new router or search for a better performing ISP.   Back to FAQ Questions

Author -

Cosette is a staff writer at She enjoys writing about America's strange obsessions with consumer tech and social media. In her free time, you can find Cosette hanging out with her cats or paying her dues at the gym.

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