For streaming videos, downloading entertainment, music or data, viewing multiple websites or playing online games, there is nothing quite like a fast Internet connection. If you are working wirelessly on your laptop, it can be quite frustrating to waste battery time waiting for a slow connection to load a page. Whether you log on at the local coffeeshop or from home, there are several steps you can take to speed up your connection.
Before making any changes it is a good idea to find out exactly how fast your connection speed is at the moment. Go to one of several websites (see Resources) that measure ping, upload and download speed online. Ping measures how quickly your signal reaches your Internet service provider; the lower the number, the faster your connection. If you have a smartphone, tablet or another computer connected to the same ISP, download the app for a speed test. Note the difference, if any. If your laptop speed is significantly slower than your other devices, there is a good chance that programs or malware installed on your laptop are the cause of your slowdown. If all speeds are similar, contact your ISP service about the problem.
Check your laptop for viruses and malware by running a virus scan and checking your startup and services settings. In the Windows start search box, type “msconfig” and look for programs that that are either unrecognized or unnecessary to run your computer. Uncheck them to eliminate them from loading at startup. You can always load them individually if they are needed later. Download a free system cleaning utility (see Resources) to clean your registry and eliminate any unnecessary running programs. Defragment your hard drive; click “Start | Programs | Accessories | System Tools | Disk Defragmenter.” Check into upgrading your wireless network adapter driver by opening the Control Panel and going to the System icon, locating your network adapter and selecting "Update Driver." If problems persist, consider replacing your laptop's wireless PC card-based network adapter.
Make sure your router is centrally located in your household or office. Proximity to your router can greatly increase your access speed. First make sure your router is properly set to the optimal transmission and reception settings by logging on to your ISP website and noting those suggested settings; then open your router interface by entering the IP address of your router, available from the manufacturer’s website. Make a note of the original settings before making changes. Check to make sure your router is set to the recommended channel. Locate your router at the highest possible level in your home or office environment, and make sure it's not located behind dense materials that can block the wireless signal, such as brick, stone or metal. If your router has antennas, check the possibility of replacing them with high gain antennas (see Resources).
Open your network settings on your laptop and check to see the devices on your network. If unknown machines appear on your network, it can mean that another device is stealing access to your bandwidth. This means less bandwidth and slower speed for you, so change the password that encrypts access to your ISP.
If you are using a router that is running on 802.11a, 802.11b, or 802.11g devices, upgrade your router to an 802.11n router. You may also need to upgrade your network interface card to run at these increased speeds. Finally, you can call your ISP to increase your access speed.
- Speedtest.net: Start Now
- Microsoft: 10 Tips To Help Improve Your Wireless Network
- PCWorld.com: Router Tips to Make Your Wireless Faster
- TechRadar.com: How To Speed Up Your Wireless Network
- Windows IT Tech: 4 Tips to Help Improve Your Wireless Network
- Digital Inspiration: How to Increase the Range of Your Wireless Network
- CNET: Optimize Your Wireless Network
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