“My WiFi speed is slow”. “My Internet is slow”.
These have to be the two most common complaints when it comes to Australian businesses and home users accessing the internet.
The trick is to work out if it is indeed the Internet that is responsible for the slowness, or if it is the WiFi that’s slow. Could it be the device you’re using that’s causing the slowness? Or is it a combination of all three?
Table of Contents
Click the links below to move quickly to that section.
- Download/Upload Speed
- High Speed Business Grade Internet Plans
- 5G Technology
- Next Gen Router and WiFi Technology
- Understanding WiFi Technology Speeds
- Download a Speed Testing App
- Connect Directly to the Router
- Updating Firmware
- Prioritise Devices or Types of Traffic
Step 1: Find out which Internet Plan you have
It sounds simple but sometimes the Internet Plan you think you have and what you actually have can be two totally different things.
The best way to determine which Internet Plan you are on is to contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) directly. In Australia, there are multiple ISP’s to choose from. The most common Internet Plan ISPs provide are via the NBN network and usually consist of speeds ranging from 25/5, 50/20, 100/20 (download/upload speed in Mbps).
Notice that the download speed is much higher than the upload speed. With these types of plans, this may become problematic if you are uploading large files, using video conferencing, or have a growing business.
High-Speed Business Grade Internet Plans
There are other business-grade Fibre or Wireless options available going up to 1GB and above if required. You also now have 4G and now 5G options available for both home users and businesses. The download speeds for a typical 4G connection can be above 100 Mbps depending on location.
5G is currently being rolled out throughout Australia. This will provide home users and businesses with download speeds well above 100Mbps. The 5G technology will help reduce latency from on average 20 milliseconds on the 4G network down to as low as 1 millisecond on the 5G network. This is going to make streaming videos and using apps like Microsoft Teams and Zoom much more seamless.
Want to know more? Learn what is 5G.
Next-Gen Router and WiFi Technology
Recently Netgear set a release date of June 2020 for the latest 5G routers which will also incorporate new WiFi 6 technology (802.11ax). This new 5G device will have the capacity to facilitate up to 4Gbps download. Of course, ultimately the download speed will be governed by your location and the infrastructure, capacity, and plans available through your chosen ISP.
The IT Boosters can’t wait to get our hands on a 5G router. Tune back in for before/after test results.
Understanding WiFi Technology Speeds
The age of your device will indicate the type of WiFi it has.
|WiFi Type||Launch Date||Speed|
Step 2: Complete your own Internet speed test
Now it is time to put your ISP to the speed test.
Download a Speed Testing App
In Australia the best way to test your internet speed is to:
- Go to this website > Speed Test by Ookla
- Click on ‘Apps’
- Download the appropriate speed test app for your device.
You can run a speed test directly from the website but this doesn’t always give an accurate reading. So downloading the speed test app to your device and then running it locally will give you the most accurate speed results.
Below is an example of a speed test completed with the app installed locally on a laptop connected to Telstra’s 4G Network.
Connect Directly to the Router
Having any device like a laptop or PC connected directly to the router via a Network or USB cable will help you with troubleshooting and take your local WiFi network out of the picture when you complete a speed test.
Connecting directly to the router via cable
Typically you will not get the full download speed and many of the ISP’s will indicate an average evening speed.
For example, if you have a 100/20 NBN connection, depending on your ISP, the speed test should come back with results of around 85 to 90Mbps download and 14 to 18Mbps upload.
If you find your speed test indicates your speeds are well below the “typical average evening speed” for the plan you are on, your next step is to contact your ISP to do further testing and troubleshooting.
You can also look at updating the firmware on your router but this is always recommended to be completed by your ISP or an IT Professional.
Updating firmware not only fixes any security issues but might also address bugs within the router’s software that may be impacting speed.
Prioritise Devices or Types of Traffic
Depending on your router you may have the option to prioritise particular devices over others.
Your router may also have QOS (Quality of Service). This option allows the ability to section off bandwidth or prioritise types of traffic which can improve the speed of particular applications.
Prefer to get help speeding up your internet & WiFi?
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Step 3: Check that your WiFi Network is using the latest technology and configured for optimum coverage
Check the capability of your WiFi router and WiFi access points. Are they using 802.11ax (WiFi 6) technology or are they on the 802.11ac standard or older?
If they are using the 802.11ac WiFi standard or older, you will need to upgrade the WiFi router and access points to WiFi 6 technology.
You can organise this via your ISP otherwise an IT Provider would be able to assist with supplying and installing the correct equipment based on your individual home or business requirements.
WiFi 6 Routers and Access Points
The 802.11ax (WiFi 6) technology is designed to be backward compatible with the 802.11ac and 802.11n standards. This may vary depending on the device so make sure to check the specifications of the WiFi 6 devices you wish to purchase.
Also, make sure the endpoints are either compatible with 802.11ax, 802.11ac or 802.11n standards otherwise you might run into connectivity issues with endpoints running older WiFi versions.
Positioning Routers and Access Points
Once you have the technology sorted, the next step is to correctly position the WiFi router or WiFi access point or points (if you have a mesh network) in the most appropriate location.
Don’t put the WiFi router anywhere near items like cordless phones or microwaves as this can interfere with the WiFi signal.
Ideally if possible it is best to have the WiFi router elevated in a clear space and located in a central point of your business or home. This will give you maximum coverage of the area.
Adding Access Points
Having the WiFi router in a central location is not always possible.
To get around this you can implement a Mesh WiFi Network. Adding additional access points in and around the home or business ensures you receive a strong WiFi signal in all required areas.
The fastest way to connect one or more WiFi access points is via network cable back to your main router or switch.
If this is not an option, connect the first access point to the router or switch via cable, and then connect additional access points via the WiFi signal itself. This method does help to do away with the cost of cabling all WiFi access points directly back to your router or switch. The downside is this method does come at the cost of speed.
If you connect the access points in a mesh configuration using the WiFi Signal, make sure that the distance between each access point is within the device’s recommended range. Having access points too far apart will affect WiFi speed and reliability.
Step 4: Make sure your endpoints (Laptops, PC’s Smartphones and Tablets) are using WiFi 6 Technology
Last but just as important as the first three steps. This step requires some research on your behalf to work out what WiFi technology each of your devices is using.
For maximum WiFi speed, WiFi 6 is the way to go. It will be hard to upgrade the WiFi chip in your device from 802.11ac which is what most devices currently use to the new 802.11ax (WiFi 6) standard. This may change in the future as WiFi 6 technology evolves.
If you really want to use the fastest technology currently available, update your device/s to one of the latest models that comes standard with WiFi 6 capability built-in.
Getting more speed from existing Endpoints
So you don’t want to update your device, but interested in squeezing the most out of its current WiFi hardware?
Look at updating the firmware, software, and WiFi device driver (for laptops and desktops) to the latest versions.
If you are not computer savvy it is best to organise a professional to assist you with this. Always make sure you backup any data, files or photos before proceeding with any update. Ensure your device is virus / adware free. Remove any unwanted applications and do a general clean-up.
Need help getting faster speeds?
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