Slow wifi? Your Internet provider may limit your speed. Here’s how to say it

Internet speed

When your internet connection isn’t up to standard, your first thought probably won’t be to blame your internet provider. After all, there are many reasons why the internet might be moving slowly.

It could be because of a outdated router or a router location less than ideal. You may be able to fix the slow speeds with a simple fix, like upgrading to a mesh network (Which it must also be installed in the right place) or simply restart your modem and router.

Internet speed
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But if you’ve already tried many of these proven methods and your internet speed is still poor, the problem might be something on your own. internet service provider is doing it intentionally: Bandwidth throttling.

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Yes, you read that correctly. Your ISP may be slowing down your Wi-Fi on purpose. Because of a 2019 Supreme Court decision where the court refused to hear a net neutrality appeal, ISPs can still legally choke the internet, limiting your broadband if you stream more TV than they want and offer slower connections to websites owned by their competitors. President Joe Biden signed an executive order in 2021 urging the Federal Communications Commission to restore net neutrality rules that banned throttling, but the practice is still legal.

One solution to slow wifi (if it is caused by internet throttling) is a virtual private network. Basically, ISPs need to see your IP address to slow down the internet ea good vpn it will protect that identity, although this comes with some limitations and disadvantages, which I will discuss below. We’ll walk you through how to tell if throttling is to blame, and if not, what to do to fix your poor Wi-Fi. (You can also learn more about how to get free wifi anywhere in the world.)

Step 1

First, troubleshoot your slow internet connection

So your Wi-Fi is slow and you think your service provider is throttling your connection. Before jumping to these conclusions, it’s important to go through the usual troubleshooting list: verifying that your router is centrally located in your home, repositioning its antennas, double-checking network security, and so on. If you want to read more ways to optimize your Wi-Fi, check out our tips.

If you’ve been going through your shopping list and your Wi-Fi is still running slowly, move on to the next step.

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Screenshot by David Priest/CNET

step 2

Test your internet speed

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Norton

Step 3

Find a reliable VPN

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Screenshot by David Priest/CNET

Step 4

Compare your speed with the VPN

Then, test your internet speed somewhere like Fast.com or Speedtest.net. Compare the results with the same test when your VPN is active. Using any VPN should reduce your speed considerably, so speed tests should show a discrepancy, with active VPN speed significantly slower than idle VPN speed. But a VPN also hides the IP address that providers use to identify you, so if your speed test with the VPN is Faster that without the VPN, this could mean that your ISP is targeting your IP address for throttling.

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Screenshot by David Priest/CNET

OK, that’s the hard part. Even if you find that your provider is throttling your Internet connection, there may not be much you can actually do about it. Many people in the United States live in regions with ISP monopolies or duopolies, so you may not be able to find a better provider. But here are some helpful answers:

  • If you Do you have options, consider switching to a better provider in your area. Not only will you potentially end speed throttling, but you could end up with faster speeds and a better deal.
  • Use your VPN to maintain more consistent speeds. A VPN cannot fix a bad connection or other reason behind your slow service, but it can mitigate throttling by unscrupulous ISPs.
  • Call your provider and threaten to switch providers if they don’t stop throttling your internet connection. This might seem old-fashioned and I can’t guarantee lasting results, but vendors have responded positively to such tactics when I’ve used them.

Read more about best VPNs to use while working from homeTHE Fastest VPNs AND VPN you can try for free before purchase. And here is the best high speed ISPs AND the best wifi booster for almost everyone.

Correction, February 10, 2020: This article previously incorrectly attributed the 2019 net neutrality ruling to the Supreme Court, rather than the Circuit Court in Washington which decided the case. The Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal.

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