Slow Wi-Fi? Your ISP Could Be Throttling Your Internet Connection

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

Is your internet suddenly moving slowly? It could be due to an outdated router or a less-than-ideal router location. Your connection issues may need only an easy fix, like upgrading to a mesh network (which also has to be set up in the right spot) or simply restarting your modem and router. But if you’ve already attempted many of the tried-and-true methods and your internet speeds are still subpar, the issue might be something your internet service provider is intentionally doing: bandwidth throttling.

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Yes, you read that right. Your ISP could be making your Wi-Fi slower on purpose. Because of a 2019 Supreme Court decision in which the court declined to hear an appeal on net neutrality, ISPs can still legally stifle your internet, limiting your broadband if you’re streaming more TV than they want and serving slower connections to websites owned by their competitors. 

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One solution to slow Wi-Fi (if it’s caused by internet throttling) is 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 — though this comes with some limitations and downsides, which I’ll discuss below. We’ll walk you through how to tell if throttling is to blame and, if not, what to do about fixing your crummy Wi-Fi. (You can also learn more about how to get free Wi-Fi anywhere in the world.) 

Step 1

First, troubleshoot your slow internet connection

So your Wi-Fi is slow and you think your service provider is throttling your connection. Before you jump to those conclusions, it’s important to run through the usual troubleshooting list: Check that your router is centrally located in your home, reposition its antennas, double-check your network security and so on. If you want to read about more ways to optimize your Wi-Fi, check out our suggestions.

If you’ve run through the laundry list and your Wi-Fi is still chugging slowly, move on to the next step.

Screenshot by David Priest/CNET

Step 2

Test your internet speed

 

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Step 3

Find a reliable VPN

 

Screenshot by David Priest/CNET

Step 4

Compare your speed with the VPN

Next, test your internet speed somewhere like Fast.com or Speedtest.net. Compare the results with the same test when your VPN is active. The use of any VPN should cut your speed considerably, so the speed tests should show a discrepancy, with the VPN-active speed being notably slower than the VPN-inactive speed. But a VPN also hides the IP address that providers use to identify you, so if your speed test with the VPN is faster than without the VPN, that may mean your ISP is targeting your IP address for throttling.

Screenshot by

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Internet Connection Issues: Troubleshooting Your Internet Connection

Troubleshooting Your Internet Connection

Access Problems | Routers | Firewall Issues | Security Software | Terminology

If You Can’t Access the Web

We’ll assume that your Internet was working at an earlier point. If you are setting it up for the first time, the steps listed below were not designed with that purpose in mind. You need to follow the instructions that came with your router or modem.

I’ve included a series of definitions for the terminology used on this page.

Reboot the Computer

The first step should be rebooting your computer or device to see if that fixes the problem. You’d be surprised how often that simple step resolves issues.

If restarting your computer or device doesn’t work, you’ll have to check out each potential problem area to see if it restores access.

Check These Areas

The most likely problem areas related to a loss of Internet assess are one or more of the following:

Progress through the suggestions on this page to test alternative solutions. I’ve presented them in the order I’d likely progress if I were to be assessing the problem and looking for solutions.

ISP Issues

If the issue is with your ISP or (rarely) a regional access issue, the resolution is beyond your control. You’ll just have to wait for your ISP or the Internet structure to repair the problem.

Everything Connects via a Network

Everything about Internet connection issues relates to how the various networks are operating. Unless the problem is directly related to your computer or device (tablet, smartphone, virtual assistant, Smart Home appliance) then it will involve either your own network or one that is further along the chain.

I’m going to use the terms computer and device interchangeably, because all that differs is how they are configured to connect to the Internet.

A network is a collection of computers and other devices connected and talking to each other.

  1. The most immediate network is the one inside your home or business (your home network).
  2. The next is your connection to your ISP (another network).
  3. Your ISP connects to the Internet (a world-wide network) through a regional collection of related networks.

Let’s have a look at how each of these may be involved in the chain of connections from your computer to the website or service you’re trying to reach.

Your Home Network

Your most basic home network is your computer connected directly to a modem provided by your ISP (usually via either a router or a router/modem combination).

The router provides access to all other connected devices connected to your network as well as to the Internet. Whether these devices can talk to each other (i.e., share information) depends upon how the network and the devices are configured.

Your network should be secured using secure passwords for both your router and your WiFi.

Your ISP

Your ISP (Shaw, Telus, Rogers, etc.) provide you with your connection to the Internet via their own network (which includes all their customers’ networks).

Your ISP then

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Yemen Goes Offline, Loses Internet Connection Right after Saudi-Led Airstrikes

Yemen shed its relationship to the Net nationwide early Friday after Saudi-led airstrikes targeted the contested metropolis of Hodeida, an advocacy team stated, plunging the war-torn nation offline.

NetBlocks mentioned the disruption began all around 1am (3:30am IST) local and afflicted TeleYemen, the condition-owned monopoly that controls World-wide-web obtain in the nation. TeleYemen is now run by the Houthi rebels who have held Yemen’s funds, Sanaa, because late 2014.

Yemen faces “a nation-scale collapse of Internet connectivity” immediately after an airstrike on a telecommunications setting up, NetBlocks said.

The San Diego-centered Center for Applied World wide web Knowledge Assessment and San Francisco-based mostly World-wide-web business CloudFlare also mentioned a nationwide outage impacting Yemen commencing all around the identical time.

More than 12 several hours later on, the World-wide-web remained down.

The Houthi’s Al-Masirah satellite information channel said the strike on the telecommunications developing had killed and wounded persons. It produced chaotic footage of people digging by rubble for a overall body as gunshots could be read. Aid employees assisted bloodied survivors.

In the meantime, Al-Masirah explained an additional early Friday airstrike on a jail in Yemen’s northern Saada province also killed and wounded men and women. There was no instant independent confirmation of how lots of individuals were harm in either attack.

The Saudi-led coalition battling the Houthi rebels acknowledged carrying out “accurate airstrikes to ruin the abilities of the militia” all-around Hodeida’s port. It did not instantly accept putting a telecommunication focus on as NetBlocks described, but as a substitute called Hodeida a hub for piracy and Iranian arms smuggling to again the Houthis.

The undersea FALCON cable carries World wide web into Yemen through the Hodeida port alongside the Pink Sea for TeleYemen. The FALCON cable has a further landing in Yemen’s considerably japanese port of Ghaydah as nicely, but the bulk of Yemen’s populace lives in its west alongside the Crimson Sea.

A reduce to the FALCON cable in 2020 brought about by a ship’s anchor also triggered prevalent Net outages in Yemen. Land cables to Saudi Arabia have been minimize considering that the commence of Yemen’s civil war, although connections to two other undersea cables have but to be produced amid the conflict, TeleYemen formerly explained.

A Saudi-led coalition entered Yemen’s war in 2015 to back its ousted govt. The war has turned into the world’s worst humanitarian disaster, with international criticism of Saudi airstrikes killing civilians and targeting the country’s infrastructure. The Houthis meanwhile have utilised boy or girl soldiers and indiscriminately laid landmines across the region.

The war reached into the United Arab Emirates, a Saudi ally, on Monday when the Houthis claimed a drone and missile assault on Abu Dhabi, killing 3 people today and wounding 6.


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