How to Maximize Your Internet Connection

Nowadays, almost everything we need to do relies on the Internet, including attending classes. If your Internet connection is subpar, your learning experience will be as well, making school much harder. While the factors affecting Internet connection are different from person to person, these tips can help you make sure you’re getting the most out of your connection.

1. Close any extra tabs or programs running

If you’re having trouble with your Internet connection, make sure you close any programs or browser tabs you don’t need at the moment. While this might not always make a big difference, having lots of extra tabs or programs can reduce the Internet bandwidth allocated to your video meetings. Depending on what operating system you’re using, you can also open your device’s app store to make sure nothing is downloading in the background, which can significantly affect your online meeting’s connection.

2. Move closer to the router

The ISP, the company that provides Internet connection to your residence, sends the signal to your home, where your modem receives it. The modem sends this signal to your router, which takes the signal and broadcasts it wirelessly so all your devices can connect. Often, the modem and router are combined into a single device. If you’re using your device far away from the router, it receives a much weaker signal than what you could be getting. By moving closer, your device can establish a stronger connection to the router.

3. Make sure you are using the 5 GHz band, if possible

Most modern routers create a dual-band network, consisting of a 2.4 GHz network and a 5 GHz network. The majority of routers that create a dual-band network create two separate SSIDs (network names), that often appear as NetworkName_2G and NetworkName_5G, or something similar. The 5 GHz band is used by fewer devices and thus has less traffic, so will almost always yield a stronger connection. However, the higher frequency of the 5 GHz band reduces its range, so you must be closer to the router to receive its benefits. If you’re somewhat far away from your router and not sure which band to use, you can visit http://speedtest.net to measure the speed of each band to see which is better.

4. Upgrades

Depending on your situation, there may be various parts of your Wi-Fi connection that you can upgrade.

Note: Students, this will require the assistance/involvement of your guardian or whoever pays for the Internet

4a. Assess your router

The router is central to your Wi-Fi network, so it is important to make sure that it is not bottlenecking your connection. First, check the speed (in Mb/s) of your Internet plan. This will tell you the speeds that you should be receiving.

Next, get as close to your router as possible and use http://speedtest.net to measure your connection, making sure that Connections is set to Multi. If the results are close to the speeds you are paying for, you can be sure your router is not hindering your Wi-Fi speeds.

If the results are significantly lower than your paid speed, there are a few things to do to pinpoint the issue. First, find out the model of your router. Once you know this, you can look online to find out its maximum speeds. If it is not capable of handling the speed which you pay for, it is worth looking into upgrading your router to get your money’s worth. Feel free to Contact the BTS staff if you need any assistance researching your router.

If your router can handle the speed you pay for, you can check the router’s configuration page, which may show the speeds that it’s receiving from the ISP. The configuration page can be accessed through the router’s IP address. Your router’s IP address will look like 192.168.xx.xx. Common IP addresses include 192.168.0.1 and 192.168.100.1. If these don’t work, search online to find the IP address for your model of router. Simply insert the IP address into your browser search bar to visit the configuration page. Once you’ve arrived at the configuration page for your router, look around to see if there is an Internet speed monitor. While some routers don’t have this, ones that do will show you the speed that the router is receiving from the ISP. If this is lower than what you pay for, contact your ISP’s support to try to resolve this.

4b. Assess your Internet plan

To assess your Internet plan, the first thing to do is to check the speed (in Mb/s) and price of the Internet plan. Next, check the websites of major ISPs such as Xfinity and CenturyLink and compare their plans to yours. Make sure to put in your address, as the Internet plans available will vary by location. Oftentimes, an ISP may offer a higher speed than your current plan at an equal or lower price, especially if your current plan was established a long time ago. However, its worth noting that if you’re switching ISPs, you may need to purchase a new router, so it’s highly important to make sure that you know exactly what’s involved in this change. If you have any doubts or confusions regarding this, feel free to reach out to the BTS staff through the Contact page. It is also recommended that you try the other steps outlined in the article before changing your Internet plan.

5. Further steps

Hopefully, these tips improved your Wi-Fi connection. However, the high number of factors affecting your connection makes it nearly impossible to cover every scenario. If your Internet connection is still suboptimal, feel free to reach out to the BTS staff on the Contact page and we will try our best to help you.

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