Consumer Reports: Top tips to speed up Internet service
The Internet is great until it gets stuck. Then, it's a pain. Consumer Reports has some simple fixes to speed up service.
First, make sure you’re getting enough broadband from your Internet provider. To stream an HD movie, Netflix says you need a minimum of 5 megabits per second. But that's only for a home with a single user.
For homes where several people are online at once, you'll want faster speeds, from 25 to 50 megabits per second.
"The Internet service you purchase specifies the broadband speed you are supposed to get, but what you actually get can vary a lot,” said Jim Willcox with Consumer Reports.
Streaming often slows down in evenings, after work, when a lot of your neighbors are also online.1
To check your speed, go to a website such as speedtest.net. Check it at different times of day. If you need to upgrade your service, it should only cost another $5 to $10 a month to get to the next speed tier.3
Another possible issue could be your modem, which brings the signal into your house.
"If you're using an older modem, replacing it with a newer model can help improve speeds,” Willcox said. “If you rent your modem, ask your Internet provider if they'll replace it with a newer model."
If you have Wi-Fi, make sure your router is new enough. Check the manufacturer's website under technical specs to see that it supports the 802.11n standard.
If all else fails, try rebooting your modem and wireless routers by unplugging the power for about 30 seconds.1
“That will often clear up any issues that you're having,” Willcox said.2
If you need to upgrade your router, one stood out in recent Consumer Reports' tests – the $90 router from Netgear, model number N750. It's a Consumer Reports’ best buy.