Download Speed: 10 Ways to Increase Your Internet Speed Today

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download speed

Last Update: October 17th, 2014

So you want to learn how to increase your download speed? Who wouldn’t?

Recently my area got upgraded to ADSL2+ and with it my speeds increased quite a lot. And you know what else increased? My productivity.

I was really surprised at how much the speed of my internet increased the amount of work I could get through; whether it was sending files, downloading and uploading images to blogs, or just loading new pages to read.

And more importantly, I was shocked at how much extra speed I could get through my line by tweaking a few things around my house.

In this post I am going to show you a few ways you can increase your internet speed. These are things you might not know about.

How to test your current internet speed

The first thing you will need to do is test your current internet speed. This will let you know whether or not you are getting a lower rate than you should be. You can do this by going to SpeedTest.net and running a test. Here are my results. Post yours in the comments below.

internet speed test

Now, this won’t be as fast as some people. A lot of European and American cities have super fast cable internet. And with Australia unvieling the world’s most expensive National Broadband Network, we should be getting speeds of up to 10GB per second. Yes, 10 GIG! Currently the maximum you can get on ADSL2+ in Australia is around 3MB.

So, back to the point, I managed to speed up my internet to 11Mbps from around 9Mbps. It made a significant difference to me. I’ll show you how in a minute.

NOTE: If you want to test your speed in MBps then go here and go right click > save target as and observe the download or transfer rate.

What do MBps and Mbps mean and why does it matter?

Okay, so, some boring but important stuff here. People often say megabytes when they mean megaBITS. And visa versa. But there is a big difference.

MBps = megabytes
Mbps = megabits

So, if you refer to my speed test above you will see that I am getting 11.53 Mbps per second. To find out how many megabytes that is you just divide by 8 which equals 1.44 MBps.

Now, 1 MB is equal to 1024 KB (kilobytes) so if you want to know how fast you are going to able to download a song or movie you should refer to the KB or MB per second rate as that is usually what they are measured in.

For example, if you are downloading a 50 MB file at 1 MB per second it will take you just under 50 seconds. Got it?

How to speed up your internet

Now let’s dive into a few ways that you can improve your internet speed. There are some things you will need to check before we try to speed things up.

  • What speed should you be getting?
    Internet companies often advertise huge speeds as a theoretical “potential” but in reality you will never get near it. Email or call your ISP and ask them what should really be getting.
  • How far away are you from the exchange?
    If you live a fair distance from the phone exchange then you won’t be able to reach maximum speeds. People who live closer to the exchanges get faster speeds every single time.

Once you know those things then we can move on towards getting your speed increased up towards it’s potential.

1. Check for on-system interference

Sometimes your virus scanner or other programs can interfere with your internet speeds. This is really frustrating but you can figure out by simply switching things off one at a time and then running a speed test again. Please note I won’t be responsible for any viruses or spyware you pick up whilst doing this. You should always have good virus protection.

2. Scan for viruses

The next thing you need to do is make sure that no virus itself is causing you to slow down. Sometimes viruses can live on your computer and suck resources away from what you are doing thus slowing down your speeds. I personally use this one as a daily scanner on my PC and have found it to be the most accurate over time without slowing down my computer too much.

3. Test a different modem/router

The biggest cause of slowed down internet is a bad modem. For ages I was using a Billion modem that I thought was absolutely fantastic. I was having frequent internet drop outs and blaming them on my ISP. Finally I changed to a new NETGEAR N150 modem and speeds went up and the drop outs stopped. The problem? The old Billion modem wasn’t equipped for ADSL2+. Rookie mistake. Make sure your modem is suited to the internet plan that you are on.

4. Check your filters

If you have your internet connected to a phone line that also has a telephone on it then you will need to make sure you have good quality filters installed on your line. These are little plugs that you attach to the phone line and they help filter out the disturbances. Here is a photo of one of mine.

phone line filter

Now, these also need to be different for the different types of internet. If you have ADSL2+ or cable make sure you have the appropriate filter.

5. Try getting rid of your cordless phone

Some people disagree with this but I have found that cordless phones slow down or interfere with my internet even with filters. It is worth doing an isolation test by removing your phones and replacing them with different ones (borrow a friend’s) and see whether you get better results.

6. Plug in

Wifi is nice but wireless internet is often a tad slower than if you plug in to your modem. Try getting that chord out of the box and plugging straight into the modem, especially if it is your desktop computer and you don’t need to move it around very often.

7. Check for external interference

I bet most of you have an iPhone, iPad, sound system and at least one other form of electronic device in your modem area. Am I right? Well, if so, then you need to check to see whether these things are causing electromagnetic interference. Try moving speakers out of the way and getting other electronic devices out of your modem space.

8. Check for Foxtel or other types of TV

Old Foxtel boxes can cause interference for your internet, even if you aren’t using them. If your net speed is slower than it should be and you can’t figure out why, it might be an idea to go for a walk around your house and see if you have a Foxtel (cable TV) box that you didn’t know was there. It could be from a past owner. If so, call up and make sure it is disconnected totally.

9. Shorten and replace cables

The length of your cables and their structure can affect speeds. Try replacing old phone cables, sockets and lines and instead use shorter and newer ones. This can often make a big difference.

10. Have you tried turning it off and on again?

The last suggestion is often the most powerful one. Turn off your modem for one minute and turn it on again. It is called power cycling and can often flush out a bunch of problems that affect your speed. If you are really brave you can even reconfigure your modem with a new password as this can often refresh your settings at the end of your ISP and refresh connections.

What have I missed?

Do you know any other ways to increase your internet speed? I would be really interested to hear them. I’d also really like to know what speeds you are getting and what country you live in. Please visit SpeedTest.net and let me know your results in the comments.

© Photographer: Exe2be



Ramsay WROTE THIS

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27 Comments... Leave yours.

  • Chromatic Dramatic

    1MB = 1000KB…

    not sure where you found the extra 24…


    1. Chromatic Dramatic

      More information here…

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kibibyte

      you’re getting your units mixed up.


      1. the Blog Tyrant

        My understanding was it wasn’t quite 1000.


      1. Chromatic Dramatic

        Read the wiki link I gave.

        That yahoo answers isn’t correct either, even if you allowed for an incorrect unit.

        When talking about bytes, it is using a decimal system, hence it can only be a multiple of 10.

        However, reading that wiki page, for ‘bits’ it is all stuffed up.

        I know this is all a bit pedantic…


        1. Jsel

          1MB = 1024KB

          It’s true. I assure you. This conversation looks quite ignorant to the internets.


  • Marcus

    Thanks for the tip on that Speedtest website. My results were:

    Download: 9.54 Mbps
    Upload: 0.97 Mbps

    By the way, I really appreciate you explaining the difference between megabits and megabytes! I had no idea that a capital “B” or lowercase “b” could make such a big difference in numbers.

    I’ve blogged about how America’s Internet is slow by worldwide standards. Rather than go into that whole thing again, you can check out a post I wrote for a blog I contribute to:
    http://www.vagablogging.net/asias-internet-goes-to-warp-speed.html

    Totally jealous about Australia’s National Broadband Network. Man, 10GB-per-second Internet would be awesome. I’ve wanted to launch a video blog, but it takes so long to upload videos to YouTube. The last time I did it, each minute of video took 30 minutes to upload.

    I’ve noticed you’re experimenting with different topics: podcasting, Internet speed, saving money on utilities, etc. Starting to feel more like Lifehacker. No complaints, but I miss those old-fashioned Blog Tyrant posts on how to build an awesome blog. Hope you get back to those kinds of articles soon. :)


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Thanks mate. Yeah, the blogging posts are all in the schedule.


  • TJ

    BT – All these measurements baffle me, but I’ve got to say that my connection here in my new US home is much faster than what I had in Germany. And you are SO right what a difference it makes in regards to getting things done!

    People should not underestimate how much time is lost with crappy connections…

    Best wishes, tj


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Long time no see TJ! Hope you are well.


      1. TJ

        Just survived an international move… and speaking of connections, the hotel we were in during transition was HORRIBLE. I think you should fly over here and shake all this info at them and they should hire you as a consultant immediately!!
        Looking forward to your future (speedy) posts…


        1. the Blog Tyrant

          Moving sucks…


  • Hervé

    The best free antivirus are at the moment:
    – AVAST
    – The microsoft free AV
    – AVG
    You might need to change. It is free after all (apart from your time).

    Cheers

    H.


    1. Marcus

      I agree, Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is a good, free antivirus program. What I like best about it is that it runs in the background, without all those scary and annoying pop-up warnings. At least, they don’t happen that often.


  • Paul

    First Hub 200 miles away
    Download: 20.09 Mbps
    Upload: 1.07 Mbps

    Second Hub 120 miles away
    Download: 19.88 Mbps
    Upload: 1.07 Mbps

    Third Hub 95 miles away
    Download: 19.11 Mbps
    Upload: 1.06 Mbps


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Loving it


  • Rachelle

    16.9 Mbps

    My connection is fast as heck now. I was with another provider who throttled encrypted traffic in an effort to cut down on downloading, unfortunately it slowed the internet to a crawl.

    As far as I’m concerned they were ripping me off for years, I paid for a certain speed and because I didn’t use it the way they wanted me too they defaulted on their contractual obligation to provide me with a decent connection. What was really funny is that they kept calling me and asking me to upgrade my speed at extra expense. I used to kind of heckle the poor workers telling them that I would gladly sign up once they started delivering the speed they advertised for the service.

    Switching providers was the answer for me…I actually download a show in real time now. So basically an hour for an hour show.

    Gotta say i’m pretty happy now.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      How are you anyway love? Still busy?


  • Tom

    Today, getting 17Mbps+ bidirectionally. Some days, get much higher. Some days much lower. I’ve noticed that on rainy days like today, it tends to be slower (and that was regardless of DSL, Cable or fibre (I’ve got FiOS, now).

    http://www.speedtest.net/result/1559239234.png


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Nice work!


  • Bilal Kamoon

    I’m from Lebanon: 0.42 Mbps / 0.15 Mpbs
    very informative post btw (:


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Wow that is quite slow.


  • Parley

    I have FiOS, paying for 20/20 and I just clocked at speedtest.net with 30.96 Mbs download

    http://www.speedtest.net/result/1567420073.png

    There are times when things over the net are faster than on my local system.


  • Ray

    We had a new company buy out our old provider recently. Now we rarely get our advertised speed with the new company. The old one was pretty close to the advertised rate. The other thing that seems to happen is certain times of the day it is slower. If I run a test in the popular evening hours the speed is about half of what it is much later at night, and into the morning hours.


  • sheila4hastenhome

    0.27 Mbps download and 0.14 Mbps upload.
    We are in the USA countryside, stuck with satellite. :/

    Sure beats dial-up (most of the time) but that’s about the best compliment I can give it, lol. My husband and I have talked about paying to lay the cable so we could get cable internet…what else to do…

    I am thankful that at least we have a connection, though. Without it, my business would not even have a fighting chance. :)


  • Ahmed

    Some really great tips and I can confirm on most of them since that what I did to get the best of my internet connection. The only thing left that I’ll do pretty soon is buying new router. Mine is speedtouch and I’ve been using it for 5 years now. I think I’ll buy dlink router since I heard it’s the best. I usually use http://www.speedtests.net and here is my results .. So it’s a little bit embarrassing and we’ve been waiting for better internet in Egypt for years now!!

    My Results: http://www.speedtests.net/result/519659.png

    Thanks again for the tips!


  • Chicago Garage Builder

    What the heck? http://www.speedtest.net/result/1593803163.png. Someone is getting a phone call about this. Thanks.


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