Home Internet Troubleshooting

Issue/Question

  • My home Internet is slow or unreliable.

Environment

  • Oregon State University
  • Employees, Students or Associates
  • Remote Access

Explanation

If your home Internet is slow or the connection is unreliable, this document contains some troubleshooting tips you can try.

Resolution

Conduct a speed test on multiple websites to determine if the issue is your Internet or just a particular website

  • You can also conduct a speed test on your phone to determine if it has a faster connection
  • Free speed test resource: www.speedtest.net
  • We recommend choosing Peak Internet in Corvallis to test against.
  • For best results, you’ll want at a minimum:
    • 15 megabit per second (Mbps) or better download speed 
    • 5 megabit per second (Mbps) or better upload speed 
    • A ‘ping time’ of less than 75 milliseconds (ms)

Is your internet provider able to provide the speed you need?  Depending on where you live there may be better options.

  • Fiber and cable internet providers (Comcast/Xfinity, Google Fiber, Spectrum, etc.) usually offer the highest quality connection
  • DSL service (CenturyLink, etc.) is usually lower-quality but may be the best choice for some rural areas
  • Cellular hotspots (Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, etc.) may work but depend on the strength of the cellular coverage in your area
    • There are often limits on how much bandwidth you can use before additional charges apply
  • Satellite broadband (HughesNet, etc.) and dial-up internet options don't generally work well to access OSU systems

After your internet provider the next thing to consider is how you connect to your network:

  • Connect directly to your router or access point using a wired Ethernet cable if possible. 
    • This will provide the best quality for audio and video (e.g. Microsoft Teams, Zoom)
    • No need to worry about WiFi coverage
    • Limits your ability to move around the house
  • The strength of your WiFi connection can affect internet quality
    • More walls = lower quality.  Try to avoid having more than two walls between your computer and your router or access point.
    • Larger homes (> 1500 sq ft) may require multiple access points to ensure good coverage
    • Consider upgrading your wireles access point or installing a wireless mesh network 
      • Access points provided with your internet service often provide average to poor coverage.
      • The Wirecutter (https://thewirecutter.com/electronics/networking/) from the New York Times reviews and recommends WiFi access points, mesh hardware and more.
    • Move to a spot closer to your wireless router
  • Consider changing the frequency of your WiFi network. 
    • Wireless access points generally offer two frequencies: 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz. 
      • 2.4 GHz is older, more suceptible to interference and slower than 5 GHz.
    • Switch your computer to 5 GHz WiFi
      • Not all older computers support 5 GHz
    • Disable 2.4 GHz on your wireless router
      • Make sure to switch your other devices to 5 GHz first!
  • Other things that may help
    • Make sure your router isn’t overheating; if it is, relocate it to a well-ventilated, open area
    • Disconnect and then reconnect your router and/or modem
      • If disconnecting doesn’t work, try completely rebooting your router and/or modem
    • Try disconnecting devices you aren’t using if you have many devices using wireless at the same time,
      • Try turning off your phone's wi-fi if you aren’t using it to surf the internet,
  • Try closing one or two high-bandwidth applications if you have more than one open simultaneously,
    • Video streaming and online gaming are high-bandwidth applications
  • Use your phone to call in to Zoom meetings — this helps split the bandwidth between your phone (audio) and your computer (video)
  • Switch to using your mobile phone and cellular data if your plan allows it

For assistance, contact the IS Service Desk.

Details

Article ID: 103029
Created
Wed 3/25/20 12:08 PM
Modified
Tue 4/21/20 10:20 AM