Bob Rankin: Why Is My Internet Connection Slow?

Diagnosing a Slow Internet Connection

Unfortunately, this is one of those problems that is very difficult to diagnose. Many different things can cause your Internet connection to slow down. Some of them are within your control, but many are not. Here are just a few of the common causes for slow Internet connections.

Too many users sharing one Internet connection can slow everyone to a crawl. If you are sharing a connection over a home network, you may experience slowdowns when others in the house are using Youtube or a graphics-intensive online game. If you have a cable modem, you are sharing a connection with other households in your neighborhood. If the slowdowns happen between 3pm and 4pm, around the time that kids are geting home from school, or weekday evenings between 9pm and 10pm, it’s likely that your cable TV company has oversubscribed the equipment that serves your area. Note that a fiber-optic solution such as Verizon FIOS will not be susceptible to this type of problem.

An unknown program may be downloading or uploading data in the background without your knowledge. It might be something innocuous, like Windows Automatic Update, or it could be a virus, Trojan, or other type of malware program. If your computer is ensnared in a botnet, it could be pumping out volumes of spam without your knowledge. See What Is a Botnet? for more on that. Scan your system with anti-malware software to uncover such problems.

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This excerpt is shared with permission from Bob Rankin.


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