Slow Internet? Here’s what to do

Remember the days of dial-up slow internet?

You’d click through to log in to the internet, go make yourself a cup of coffee, and hope that by the time you got back to your computer you’d be logged in and ready to go. Luckily those days of slow internet are long gone and today’s connections just keep getting better and faster, even for those of us who live in rural areas. Unfortunately, though, slow-downs do still happen once in a while, even when you have a high-speed connection. They can happen for a variety of reasons, and thankfully some of them can easily be solved at home.

While we do everything we can to assure that our customers here at Softcom get the best – and fastest – service possible, keeping things working here at Softcom is only one part of the equation – your own equipment needs to be working properly for you to have the best internet experience.  We know there are other factors that can affect speed, too, so put together a quick checklist to go through when slow internet speeds get you down.

  1. First things first: The quickest and easiest way to resolve a disconnect or slowdown in internet is to restart your router. For Softcom routers, all you need to do is unplug the power cable feeding it from the wall for 30 seconds, then plug it back in. (Note: pressing the “reset” button on your router will usually erase the configuration on your router, requiring reconfiguration, which we do not recommend doing unless directed to by our support department.)
  2. Next, check your computer to see if updates are running in the background. Sometimes your connection can be fully utilized by Windows Updates or similar processes. In that case, you’ll need to either delay the update or wait for it to finish. Windows 10 has a setting in the control panel to let you defer updates until overnight.
  3. Game consoles also do updates in the background that can be quite large and may contribute to slow internet. Do you have a PlayStation or an Xbox? Try turning those devices off.
  4. Check your tabs and windows: Depending on how many people are using the computer and their browsing habits, you might have dozens of windows or tabs open at once that are putting a strain on your computer. Check for minimized windows and multiple tabs and close everything you don’t need.
  5. Check for viruses, internet worms, and/or spyware: When was the last time you ran a full scan of your computer for malicious viruses or spyware? Viruses and other malicious spyware can slow your computer’s performance. Spyware can also run silently in the background whenever your computer is operating, draining memory and significantly slowing your computer’s performance. Softcom strongly recommends that you have a modern anti-virus package on each computer that you use the internet on. Make sure that you keep these programs up-to-date to catch and remove any malicious programs from your devices right away.
  6. Have an “internet of things” device such as a camera, thermostat, or garage door opener? Make sure those have the latest software on them from the manufacturer and check to see if the manufacturer has issued any security advisories about them.
  7. Lighten the load on your hard drive: The amount of free space on your hard drive can affect your computer’s performance. Delete old photos, videos, and large files that take up a lot of space on your hard drive. Be sure to empty the recycle bin to fully remove these bulky files.
  8. Check for wireless signal interference: Wi-Fi and other types of wireless connections may perform poorly due to signal interference, which requires computers to continually resend messages as they try to resolve signal issues. Household appliances and even neighbors’ wireless networks can interfere with yours. Sometimes repositioning your routers, or changing the Wi-Fi channel numbers can help improve performance.
  9. Finally, check our Facebook page or Twitter feed at facebook.com/SoftcomInternet or https://twitter.com/SoftcomInternet. We post frequent updates and notifications in both places announcing disruptions to service and what we’re doing to address them. Be sure to speak up and let us know what you’re experiencing by leaving comments or replies, it helps us to know what you’re experiencing.

Routine maintenance and a watchful eye for any of these potential issues can help you avoid future slowdowns in your computer’s functionality and the speed of your internet access. Keep this checklist handy, and know that as a valued Softcom customer, we’ve got your back, and are here to help you get online and stay online at the fastest speed possible.

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Kristy CooperSlow Internet? Here’s what to do

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