Why is my Wi-Fi so slow? Your ISP may be throttling the speed

This story is part of home tipsCNET’s collection of practical tips for making the most of your home, inside and out.

Is your internet moving very slowly all of a sudden? May be due to outdated router or a Router location is less than ideal. Connection issues may only need an easy fix, like Upgrade to a mesh network or simply Restart the modem and router. But if you have already tried many tried and true methods and your internet speeds are still below par, then the problem may be something Internet service provider On purpose: bandwidth throttling.

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Yes, you read that correctly. Your ISP may be intentionally making your Wi-Fi slower. because of 2019 Supreme Court Decision When the court refused to hear an appeal on net neutrality, ISPs can still legally throttle the Internet, Limit your broadband If you stream more TV shows than you want and serve slower connections to websites owned by your competitors.

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One Solution to slow down Wi-Fi (If due to Internet throttling) is virtual private network
. Essentially, ISPs need to see your IP address to slow down your internet, and Good VPN You will protect this identity – although this does come with some limitations and downsides, which I will discuss below. We will guide you on how to find out if throttling is the cause, and if not, what to do about repairing a damaged Wi-Fi network. (You can also learn more about How to get free Wi-Fi anywhere in the world.)

Read more: Best Internet Providers of 2022

Step 1

First, troubleshoot a slow internet connection

So your Wi-Fi is slow and you think your service provider is throttling your connection. Before going to these conclusions, it is important to go through the usual troubleshooting list: check that your router is located in a central place in your home, change the position of its antennas, double-check network security and so on. If you want to read more Ways to improve your Wi-Fi, check out our suggestions.

If you’ve turned on the laundry list and your Wi-Fi is still rocking slowly, move on to the next step.

Screenshot by David Priest / CNET

Step 2

Test your internet speed

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Step 3

Find a reliable VPN

Screenshot by David Priest / CNET

Step 4

Compare your speed with VPN

Next, test your internet speed somewhere like Fast.com or Speedtest.net. Compare the results with the same test when your VPN is active. Using any VPN should lower your speed considerably, so speed tests should show a discrepancy, with an active VPN speed being significantly slower than an inactive VPN. But the VPN also hides the IP address that service providers use to identify you, so if your speed test is with a VPN as well faster Without a VPN, this could mean that your ISP is targeting your IP address to throttle.

Screenshot by David Priest / CNET

Well, this is the hard part. Even if you discover that your service provider is throttling your internet, there may not be much you can actually do. Many people in the US live in areas with ISP monopolies or monopolies, so you may not be able to find a better provider. But here are some helpful responses:

  • If you are an act You have options, use the best provider in your area. measurement lab It provides a good resource for finding information specific to your area, and can point you to a more reliable Internet service provider.
  • Use your VPN to maintain more consistent speeds. A VPN cannot solve the problem of bad connection or other reasons behind your slow service, but it can relieve throttling from unscrupulous ISPs.
  • Call your service provider and threaten to switch providers if they don’t stop throttling the internet. This may sound old-fashioned, and I can’t guarantee lasting results, but providers have responded positively to such tactics when I’ve used them.

Read more about The best VPNs to use while working from homeThe Fastest VPN And the VPNs you can try for free before buying. and here the The best high speed internet service providers And the The best Wi-Fi extender for almost everyone.

Correction February 10, 2020: This article previously erred in attributing the 2019 net neutrality ruling to the Supreme Court, rather than the DC circuit court that decided the case. The Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal.

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