What is low bandwidth?
Bandwidth is measured by how much data can be moved between two points within a network. Bandwidth is the maximum Mbps transfer rate of your network or internet connection, and it naturally affects how fast your internet is.
Any connection over 25 Mbps is considered a good speed, so larger households with 3-5 users should consider speeds around 200-300 Mbps. Low bandwidth is caused by the Mbps rate that your current broadband has, or your bandwidth could be slowed down because too many people are connected to the network and, in some cases, to your device.
Let’s investigate further and find out how to increase internet connection speed and bandwidth to improve your browsing.
Your bandwidth is mostly determined by your device, your router, your Internet Service Provider (ISP), and the bandwidth they promised you. However, even if your contract said that your connection speed would be up to 20 Mbps, that doesn’t mean you will always get maximum bandwidth – especially if you connect multiple devices to the same network and use them all at once. Why?
Your bandwidth is like a two-lane highway where all the cars (data) travel at the same speed. Driving is fun as long as there aren’t too many cars. The more crowded it gets, the slower you’ll go. More lanes, or bandwidth, on the highway can solve the problem.
Is your bandwidth insufficient? Let’s test it
If you think you have a low bandwidth problem, run a speed test and compare the results with the numbers advertised by your ISP. If you only have one device connected to the internet and you are not downloading any files, the results should be close to what you were promised. However, if you tend to have multiple devices connected at once and love streaming videos and sharing files with your friends, it may be that you need more bandwidth.
How to increase low network bandwidth?
Here are the most effective ways to increase your network bandwidth if it’s low:
- Upgrade your internet plan with more bandwidth.
- Try a different Wi-Fi channel.
- Update and reboot your router.
- Reduce the number of connected devices.
- Use a VPN to avoid bandwidth throttling.
- Change to an ISP that offers more bandwidth.
- Update your device’s software.
- Close background apps.
- Remove malware.
- Clear your device’s cache.
- If you have a basic internet plan, upgrade to a better plan with more bandwidth. While you can prioritize some of your existing bandwidth for specific uses by using packet shaping, this will rarely make a significant impact. The only way to get more bandwidth is to buy more.
- If your ISP doesn’t offer enough bandwidth for your needs, ditch it and go to another ISP.
- If you don’t want to invest in an upgrade but need more speed, try limiting the number of devices connected to the internet or ask your family members to pause their downloads for a while. You could also turn off the Wi-Fi and use a wired connection.
- If you’re looking for ways to reduce bandwidth throttling, use a VPN. A VPN hides your IP address and encrypts your traffic, so ISPs can’t see what you do online and limit your speed. Just keep in mind, that a VPN helps only in cases when ISPs throttle your traffic due to you visiting certain websites or using specific services. If you’re looking for a decent VPN to bypass internet throttling, look no further than NordVPN. It has more than 5400 servers in 60 countries, providing users with top speeds and advanced security features. With one NordVPN account, you can support up to six different devices: routers, smartphones, laptops, tablets, and more.
Other methods to increase your bandwidth speed
If you’re satisfied with your internet plan and your internet speeds were fine during your test, the problem might be:
1. Your device
You won’t be able to enjoy a fast internet connection if your machine is unable to process the data it’s receiving. Could it be time to get a new computer or clean up your current one?
We suggest running antivirus scans to remove any malware. Also, if your device storage is really full, cleaning up a little space could also help. Make sure to constantly update your antivirus and antimalware software. You may also need to clear your cache, try using a different browser, or close any background apps that eat up lots of data.
2. Your neighbors’ Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi equipment communicates over channels that tend to overlap. Try using a different wireless channel that has fewer surrounding users on it. You could also consider getting a dual-bandwidth wireless router that broadcasts on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies.
3. Your ISP
If you notice that your speeds are slower when engaging in specific activities, your ISP could be throttling your connection.
4. Your wireless router
It may be that your wireless router is overworked. Try rebooting it. Some routers also support automatic reboots whenever they’re inactive.
Perhaps the signal is being interfered with. Keep it in an open space and away from walls and other obstructions, or get closer to it. Physical obstacles can weaken the signal quality and impact the quality of the connection.
Always update your wireless router with firmware updates for the most up-to-date security patches. Also, make sure you haven’t activated any settings that slow down your speed significantly. If your router is very old, consider getting a new one. Finally, if you have a lot of connected devices in your home, consider getting a MU-MIMO router. These routers allow multiple devices to use the Wi-Fi at the same time instead of waiting for their turn, like on regular routers.
How to improve your router’s performance
Focusing on your router is often a good way to improve overall network speeds. This one piece of hardware acts as the gateway between your personal devices and the internet at large, so it’s essential that you keep it functioning well. Try these simple tips to enhance router performance.
- Ensure that hardware and software are updated. It’s easy to put off updates, but your router is the access point for the internet: it needs to be kept up-to-date. If you can set your router to update automatically, that can make this process easier.
- Location, location, location. It really matters where your router is located in the house. It might look better tucked away in the corner or inside a cabinet, but an open, central position will improve speeds throughout the house.
- Stop the leeches. Make sure your router is password protected, and change that password from time to time. If someone in your area has access to your connection, they can really slow down performance.
- Stop the heavy programs. Some apps and programs use more bandwidth than others. If you’re noticing a drop in speeds, check to see if someone else in the household is using the internet connection to download or stream oversized files.
- Clash of the signals. Signals from devices inside and outside your home can cause interferance. Your neighbors router might conflict with yours, but even your own microwave can have a similar result. Try moving the router around the house and get it as far away from other devices as possible.
- Automate your reboots. Rebooting a router can increase internet service speed, so why not set your router to reboot automatically? You can specify a time for a nightly reboot, so you can get better speeds in the morning.
- Speed up Wi-Fi with an extender. Try using a range extender to improve the router’s reach. You can buy this hardware, or see if your ISP will provide it.
PRO TIP: If your internet is slow, try changing VPN servers. NordVPN has more than 5000 servers around the globe, so in the unlikely event that you’ve connected to a slower server, there are always other options available.
What is bandwidth throttling?
Bandwidth throttling is when an ISP deliberately limits its users’ internet connection bandwidth. Some ISPs curb traffic for users who engage in bandwidth-heavy activities like HD streaming.
A VPN can encrypt your traffic so ISPs won’t be able to see what you do and limit your speed. Use a VPN to bypass internet throttling. ISPs will no longer be able to monitor what you do online and, as a result, will not be able to block or limit your connection based on what you’re doing.
How to increase your upload speed
Your upload speed determines the pace at which information from your devices travels to its destination. To improve it, you should:
- Clear up your device. Remove any unnecessary files and clear your caches. Perform malware scans and remove malicious software and viruses. Make sure to update your antivirus software;
- Reduce the number of devices connected to your network. They’ll all be competing for bandwidth;
- Use an ethernet cable. Wi-Fi signals are weaker and can fluctuate due to interference or your physical location;
- Check your router. See whether it has the right settings and works properly. Update its drivers;
- Update your drivers on your connected devices.