WiFi connection: Why is my download speed suddenly so slow?

Oct 27, 2021 - Views: 1864 - this post if you find it interesting!

Slow and sluggish WiFi just results in frustrating internet experiences, especially when it comes to online activities that require fast download or upload, right?

So, what causes your internet download speeds to be sluggish? For sure, this is an extremely common question among internet users. If you are looking for the reasons why your WiFi internet speed is slower than it should be, then this post is something you want to check out right now; let’s take a look. 

Painfully slow internet connection

Painfully slow internet connection

What is download speed?

First of all, it’s good to learn about internet download speed meaning and why it is important to our internet experiences. 

About download speed definition, to put it simply, this term refers to the speed or the rate at which an internet connection can transfer digital data from a server to the user’s devices. Download speeds, similar to upload speeds, are measured in Mbps (megabits per second). 

In fact, a large percentage of common online activities require downloading internet data, which can be in the form of text, audio, videos, etc. Things like surfing websites, checking emails, downloading files, watching videos on YouTube, streaming music, playing online games, and more all need data downloading. 

For sure, without good internet download, it’s kind of frustrating for us to enjoy our favorite online activities, especially ones involving downloading a large amount of data like streaming videos in high definition, for example.

Do you know that streaming content in high definition (480p) on Netflix requires the speed of at least 3 Mbps while watching in high definition (1080p) and ultra-high definition (2160p) needs the minimum speeds of 5 Mbps and 25 Mbps, respectively?

Also, though playing games, in general, doesn’t need a very fast speed, some types of games still require a high-speed connection. For instance, to play FPS games (First-person shooters games) without lagging, it’s recommended to have a download speed of at least 30 Mbps together with a ping rate of 20 ms or less, and an upload speed of 1 Mbps or higher. 

Speed test

Speed test

How slow is your internet connection?

If you notice signs like frozen videos, buffering videos, dropped calls, or it takes very long to load web pages, …, high chances are that your internet connection is sluggish to use.

What should you do in this case? Well, the first thing you should do here is to run some speed checks to determine how slow your connection is and find out if your connection speed matches the internet package that you are paying for.

Of course, it seems like no problem occurs if your current speed matches your internet plan. However, what if the results you get are quite lower than the speeds that your Internet Service Provider (ISP) advertises? Will you doubt the service quality of your internet provider or your mobile carrier? Will you call them right away and ask “why is my download speed not what I pay for?”

Wait a minute!!! That might not be their problem since a bunch of factors can affect your WiFi performance. Keep reading on to learn common causes for poor internet connection and know “why is my download speed suddenly so slow?!”

Wireless connection

Wireless connection

Common causes for slow WiFi internet speed?

Do you know that your WiFi signal strength is affected by a wide range of factors? Yep, that’s true. As compared to the wired network like an Ethernet cable connection, the wireless internet is susceptible to different things. This is because WiFi signals are transmitted through the air. 

Following are the top common reasons for slow WiFi connection that you should know. Let’s see if there are any of them causing your WiFi signal to be weaker than it should be. 

Far distance to the router

WiFi signal originates from the router and travels through the air to your devices within a certain range. That means the farther the distance, the weaker the WiFi signal and the slower the network speed. 

If your devices are too far from the router, then, of course, they won’t be able to get the full signal strength as well as the fast internet speed. Similarly, if you run tests to check WiFi speed at a place that is quite far from the router, then you will likely get poor results. 

WiFi signal strength

WiFi signal strength

Building materials and physical obstacles

Materials like concrete and metal are among the biggest reasons for “why is my download speed so slow?”. That is because the WiFi signal is easily disrupted by brick, concrete, wood, drywall, metals, and other building materials. 

They can be considered ''blockers'' that block or interrupt your WiFi signal as it’s transmitted through the air and has to pass through these types of materials to get to your devices. In short, the more walls and physical obstacles the WiFi signal has to travel through, the weaker it will become.

Too many devices using the network at the same time

Many devices connected to your WiFi network at a time also cause a huge decrease in WiFi speed, especially if they are joining in bandwidth-heavy activities like streaming Netflix, downloading large files, or online gaming. 

Well, if you check WiFi download speed at hours when your internal WiFi traffic is overloaded, then you will find your test results are much slower than usual.

Multiple devices connected to a network

Multiple devices connected to a network

Router positioning: High vs Low

Placing your router in low positions such as on the ground or the bottom of the shelf or even behind other furniture is a direct way of hindering WiFi connection. It’s really hard for your WiFi signals to easily penetrate if the router is placed at low positions. 

Instead of that, you should put the router as high up as possible to help extend the broadcasting range of your wireless signal. You can run speed checks to see if the change of router height and position can help improve your WiFi performance.

Router position affects WiFi speeds

Router position affects WiFi speeds

Wireless interference

Wireless signals are all around us. Electronic devices, WiFi routers, cell towers, satellites, and more are the sources of wireless signals. Though the Wi-Fi signal is supposed to not have the same frequency as these other devices, the radio noise can still cause interference.

Besides, there are devices and appliances such as Bluetooth devices, microwaves, cordless phones, etc, running on the frequency range of 2.4 GHz, which is close to or at the same 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi band. As a result, there are times when the frequency of these devices can overlap with the frequency of WiFi signals. 

And when that happens, the data transmitted via a WiFi connection is likely disrupted. Well, when you have many things running on the same frequency range, then the WiFi signals can’t be strong and travel as fast as they should be. 

Wireless interferences

Wireless interferences

Have not rebooted the router for a long time

Most electronic devices and equipment are not made to run continuously and your router is not the exception. If it’s been a while since the last time you rebooted your router, then this might be the reason causing your WiFi speed to get sluggish. 

Try restarting your router and run a speed check again to see if your WiFi download is improved or not. Sometimes, a simple reboot is what you need to do to help it return to peak performance. So simple and easy, right?

No internet connection

No internet connection

Your devices are not able to handle advanced Wi-Fi speeds

According to HighSpeedInternet, the problem might not lie in the internet connection, but in the devices you use. If they are outdated and unable to process today’s internet speed, then slow WiFi can be expected.

In actuality, your PCs, smartphones, and tablets, each one has different speed capabilities. The WiFi speed you experience is just as fast as the speed that your device can process. That means no matter how fast the router is, it can’t go faster than your devices’ speed, especially if the devices you use are older than 5 years old. 

In fact, though newer devices will typically have higher internet connection speeds than older ones, they still may not be able to reach the same speed as a wired connection. 

Poor internet download speeds

Poor internet download speeds

Older routers

Using an older router might be one of the reasons for lowering your WiFi speed. The routers that age for more than 5 years might not be able to fully support high-speed internet. Hence, you should consider upgrading your router if you are sure that it’s the big cause of poor WiFi.

Running speed tests is always a good idea to know your current WiFi speed. Together with common testing tools available on the market these days like Speedtest.net, Fast.com, or Testmy.net, …,  MySpeed is also a great tool for you to try. 

Try it now to see how fast your internet is!

Other causes

Along with things mentioned recently, there are still other reasons for “why is my download speed slower than what I pay for”. Well, if your device has too many unnecessary programs running in the background, then slower-than-actual download speeds are expected. Do you know that these programs not only consume your internet bandwidth but also the CPU power?

Besides, viruses and malware can be the cause. Sometimes, problems with the services of your internet providers are also the reason behind a slow internet connection. 

Strong WiFi

Strong WiFi

Conclusions

They are some common reasons causing your WiFi speed to slow down. Once again, it’s worth noting that in addition to these factors, many other ones can be the causes for decreases in your WiFi performance. What we mentioned above are just very common ones that many internet users are likely experiencing in daily life. For sure, in order to have a faster internet connection, one of the first steps to do is to determine what causes it to be slow, right? Well, we hope that this article did provide you with helpful information so that you, yourself, can figure out the reasons for poor internet performance.

Cre: simplewifi.com, rocketnet.co.za, support.sparklight.com