Few things are as frustrating as a slow, unreliable Internet connection. If you’re having trouble keeping up with the information superhighway, here’s a handy how-to guide to maximize your lagging Internet speeds.
1. Check the Internet speed you’re paying for
Your Internet may be slow because you’re paying for a lower-tier plan. Check with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to determine what kind of plan you have, and then perform an Internet speed test to see what speeds you’re actually receiving. If there’s a large discrepancy in the numbers, don’t immediately assume your Internet is being throttled. Instead, call your ISP customer support to check for possible connectivity issues in your area. If the numbers match, it may be time for you to upgrade to a cheap high-speed Internet plan, like the CenturyLink® 1-Gig Internet package.
2. Install good ad-blocker software
It’s rare to open a webpage today that’s not littered with banner ads and pop-up videos. Before an article you are reading on your favorite news site loads, ads and data tracking scripts load first. As CNN notes, these interactive plug-ins and script-heavy features have made webpages two times larger than the average page three years ago. An ad-blocker — like AdBlock Plus — disables those third-party ads, helping webpages load faster and speeding up even the slowest connection.
3. Invest in new hardware
If you’re still struggling with a slow Internet speed, your hardware may be the culprit. A 10-year-old modem or router may not be able to handle new broadband speeds. Check the model specifications on your devices — which can usually be found on the underside of the equipment — and compare them to your Internet package. For modems, it’s best to ask your ISP about an equipment upgrade, as compatibility varies. Routers, on the other hand, are fine to be purchased from a third party, and the TP-LINK Archer Dual Band Wireless Router is a great option for nearly any connection need.
4. Manipulate your router
To get the most from your connection, your router should be in the center of your home, away from other electronics — the higher the location, the better. Keep the device away from obstructions like walls and doors, and point the external antennas perpendicular to each other as well, keeping one vertical and one horizontal. If you live in a home with multiple levels, use a powerline network adapter — like the TP-LINK AV500 Nano — that can be plugged into outlets on every floor to boost Internet speeds on every level of your home. There are also Wi-Fi boosters and Wi-Fi extenders to increase signal coverage. Each with it’s own benefits to battle poor signal strength.
5. Consider your connection
Are you connected wirelessly or via wireline? The flexibility and mobility of Wi-Fi are the prime reasons wireless connections are so popular, but the connection can be spotty. Wired Internet connections, however, provide reliable speeds, lower latency, and better user controls, which is why How-To Geek recommends using wired connections for stationary computer setups and high-bandwidth processes. So the next time your Wi-Fi slows down, try a wired connection and see if that solves the issue.
6. Set up a strong password
If you have Wi-Fi, never leave your network unsecured. If your Wi-Fi isn’t protected with a password, you are leaving your network open for anyone to use, which could limit the available bandwidth. There are free applications that will scan your Wi-Fi network and display what devices are using your Internet, letting you track down any bandwidth-hogging printers, laptops, or smartphones or devices poaching your network. To speeds things up, disconnect devices taking up bandwidth that aren’t in use.
You don’t have to resign yourself to slow Internet. Use this how-to guide to maximize your connection and start getting the most out of your Internet plan. And if it turns out you’ve maxed out the bandwidth, you can always upgrade your speed by calling CenturyLink today at 855-640-4510 to find out what high-speed package or Internet home service bundle is right for you.
If you are one of the millions of people who get their Internet service through Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), make sure you are getting the best possible speed from your connection. Since DSL comes into your home or business via phone line, there are other signals traveling on the same line as your Internet connection — such as phone calls and faxes. These signals can cause interference and slow down your Internet speed. To keep those signals separate and interference-free, use DSL filters. Additionally, if you haven’t checked recently to see if other high-speed Internet options are currently available in your area, you can take a look at CenturyLink home service Internet bundles here.
What Is a DSL Filter?
A DSL filter is a small device that filters out line interference that may slow down your DSL Internet service. Typically, a DSL filter has a phone jack on one end that plugs in to the wall and a phone jack port on the other end for your phone or other device to plug in to. It can be connected to any device that runs off the phone line directly.
What Devices Need a DSL Filter?
Any device that plugs in to your phone line should be connected to a DSL filter before you connect to the Internet. Common devices that may need a DSL filter include:
- Telephones, caller ID units, fax machines, and answering machines
- Satellite TV receivers, cable boxes, DVRs, and TiVos
- Security systems
- Automatic water meters
You should not connect your DSL modem to a DSL filter. Doing so may cause connectivity issues.
How Does a DSL Filter Work?
When devices are connected to DSL filters, the filters separate and manage the incoming signal of each device so that they don’t interfere with each other. Unlike dial-up Internet, this allows you to use the Internet and other devices such as a phone or fax machine at the same time without experiencing slower Internet speeds.
Basically, the filters turn your phone line into a two-lane highway: they keep the lower frequency lane open for phone calls and other low-speed data, and the higher frequency lane open for your Internet connection and other high-speed data.
How Do I Install a DSL Filter?
Installing a DSL filter is a simple and straightforward process when setting up your internet. There are two kinds of filters to choose from.
A single-port filter connects a single device, such as a phone or fax machine, to a wall jack.
- Unplug your existing phone cable from the wall jack.
- Plug a single-port filter into the wall jack.
- Plug the phone cable into the port on the filter.
Because you should not connect your DSL modem to a filter, you will need a special dual-port filter if you are connecting your modem and a second device, like a telephone, to the same wall jack.
- Unplug your existing phone cable from the wall jack.
- Plug a dual-port filter into the wall jack.
- Connect the cable of the phone or other device sharing this jack to the port labeled “phone.”
- Plug the data cable from your modem into the filter port labeled “DSL.”
Does the Device Filter My Internet?
DSL filters interact with the signals coming in on the phone line to make sure that the signals coming in (phone, fax, Internet, etc.) do not cross paths with each other. It does not look at the actual content coming in via the Internet and will not filter out unwanted content. To protect your children from unwanted Internet content, look into free and low-cost parental control systems and Internet filters available online.
Does a DSL Filter Make My Internet Faster?
DSL filters separate the voice and data signals sent through phone lines, ensuring that neither signal interferes with the other. This allows for the bandwidth dedicated to Internet upload and download speeds to be maximized.
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a DSL Filter?
The main advantage of DSL filters is that, by cutting out interference from other devices, they help make your DSL Internet faster. Another advantage is that a DSL filter will allow you to use other devices connected to the phone line at the same time without experiencing a slowdown in Internet speeds.
When you sign up for DSL Internet, many providers will include a DSL filter in the setup package. However, if you have multiple devices connected to the same phone line, you may need to pay for additional DSL filters for each device. Some devices, including certain security systems, may require professional installation for an additional fee. Because DSL filters are fairly simple devices, they sometimes become faulty within a year or two — and if you have multiple DSL filters and one stops working, it may be difficult to determine which one is causing the problem.
How Do I Know if My DSL Filter Is Faulty?
If your phone, fax machine, or other device connected to the phone line via a DSL filter is experiencing issues — such as a high-pitched sound from your telephone — you will need to run a test to find out if the filter is the problem or if it is the device itself.
- Turn off or unplug your DSL modem.
- Unplug the filter and blow through it to make sure the passage is clear.
- Plug the device directly into the phone jack in the wall.
- Try to use the device.
- If there is no problem when the device is not connected to the DSL filter, you likely need to replace the filter.
- If, however, the problem occurs again, there may be an issue with the device itself and not the filter.
If your Internet has slowed down for unknown reasons, you may need to unplug and clear out each filter to see if this helps your Internet connection. If you still experience issues, try swapping out each filter with a spare to determine the culprit.
DSL filters are a necessary way to improve your Internet speed and keep each device connected to your phone line running smoothly. Another great solution is to explore options to upgrade your Internet service altogether.