Your ISP may be intentionally slowing down your WiFi. Here’s what to do

This story is part of Home TipsCNET’s collection of practical advice for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.

If your internet is slow at home, it’s possible that a outdated router or less than ideal router location could be the culprit. And there may be simple solutions to your connection problems, e.g Upgrade to a mesh network or Reboot your modem and router. But you might also be able to blame your slow Wi-Fi on something else internet provider does intentionally: bandwidth throttling.

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Yes, you read it right. Your ISP might be intentionally making your WiFi slower. Resulting from the 2019 Supreme Court decision If you refuse to hear a net neutrality appeal, ISPs can still legally suppress your internet, Limiting your broadband when they stream more TV than they want and offer slower connections to their competitor’s sites.

one Solution for slow WiFi (if it is caused by Internet throttling). a virtual private network
. Basically, ISPs need to see your IP address to slow down your internet and a good VPN will shield that identity – although it comes with some limitations and disadvantages, which I’ll discuss below. We’ll walk you through how to determine if throttling is to blame, and if not, what you can do to fix your crappy WiFi.

Continue reading: You can get free Wi-Fi anywhere in the world. Here’s how

Step 1

First, fix your slow internet connection

So your WiFi is slow and you think your service provider is throttling your connection. Before jumping to these conclusions, it’s important to go through the usual troubleshooting list: verify that your router is centrally located in your home, reposition its antennas, check your network security, and so on. If you want to read more about it You can find ways to optimize your WLAN in our suggestions.

If you’ve gone through the laundry list and your WiFi is still chugging slowly, continue to the next step.

Screenshot by David Priest/CNET

step 2

Test your internet speed

Norton

step 3

Find a reliable VPN

Screenshot by David Priest/CNET

step 4

Compare your speed with the VPN

Next, test your internet speed in a place like Fast.com or Speedtest.net. Compare the results with the same test when your VPN is active. Using any VPN should decrease your speed significantly, so the speed tests should show a discrepancy, with the VPN active speed being significantly slower than the VPN idle speed. But a VPN also hides the IP address that providers use to identify you, so if your speed test is with the VPN More quickly than without the VPN, this may mean your ISP is targeting your IP address for throttling.

Screenshot by David Priest/CNET

OK, that’s the hard part. Even if you find out that your provider is throttling your internet, there might not be much you can do. Many people in the US live in regions with ISP monopolies or duopolies, so you may not be able to find a better provider. But here are a few useful answers:

  • If you do If you have options, use the best provider in your area. measurement laboratory provides a good resource for finding information specific to your region that may direct you to a more reliable ISP.
  • Use your VPN to maintain more consistent speeds. A VPN can’t solve a bad connection or other reasons for your slow service, but it can mitigate throttling from unscrupulous ISPs.
  • Call your provider and threaten to switch providers if they don’t stop throttling your internet. This may seem old-fashioned, and I can’t guarantee lasting results, but vendors have responded positively to such tactics when I’ve used them.

Read more about the The best VPNs for working from homethe fastest VPN and VPNs you can try for free before the purchase. And here they are Best High Speed ​​ISPs and the best Wi-Fi extender for almost everyone.

Correction, February 10, 2020: This article previously incorrectly attributed the 2019 net neutrality ruling to the Supreme Court, rather than the DC Circuit Court, which ruled the case. The Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal.

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