Internet Throttling: Your ISP Might Be to Blame for Your Slow Wi-Fi Speeds

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

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There are many reasons why your internet could be moving slowly. It might be because of an outdated router or a less-than-ideal router location. You might be able to solve slow speeds with 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 these 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.

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. 

Shopping for a faster internet speed?

We’ll send you the fastest internet options, so you don’t have to find them.

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

 

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 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

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Yes, Your Home Wi-Fi Network Can Be Hacked: These 10 Tips Can Prevent It

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

Your home Wi-Fi network might not be as safe as you think. In 2021, internet crime cost Americans more than $6.9 billion. While phishing and scams contributed to the losses, personal data breaches were also significant. In many cases, those personal data breaches could have been prevented by just a little home network security.

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The average US household has more than 10 devices connected to its home Wi-Fi network. From laptops and tablets to phones, smartwatches and streaming devices, the number can ramp up quickly, and each is potentially vulnerable to hacking. With so much data stored on those devices — credit card numbers, bank records, login credentials and other personal and private information — you want to ensure you’re protecting yourself from hackers if your network is ever compromised.

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A secure home network will help reduce the risk of getting hacked and having someone access your sensitive information. Not only that, it will keep away unwanted or unauthorized users and devices that would slow down your connection or freeload on the internet service you pay for.

It’s fairly simple to create and maintain a secure home Wi-Fi network. Below, you’ll find 10 tips for securing your network. Some are more effective than others at keeping hackers and freeloaders at bay, but all are useful in their own way. Keep in mind that nothing can guarantee absolute security from hacking attempts, but these tips will make it harder for anyone to compromise your network and data.

How to secure your home Wi-Fi network

Here are the basics for protecting your home Wi-Fi network. Keep reading for more information on each below.

1. Place your router in a central location.

2. Create a strong Wi-Fi password and change it often.

3. Change the default router login credentials.

4. Turn on firewall and Wi-Fi encryption.

5. Create a guest network.

6. Use a VPN.

7. Keep your router and devices up to date.

8. Disable remote router access.

9. Verify connected devices.

10. Upgrade to a WPA3 router.

Place your router in a central location

Strong network security starts with a smart setup. If possible, place your router at the center of your home. Routers send wireless signals in all directions, so strategically placing your router in a central location will help keep your connection to the confines of your home. As a bonus, it will likely also make for the best connection quality.

For example, if you have internet in an apartment where neighbors are immediately to the left and right of you, placing your router next to a shared wall could send a strong, and tempting, signal their way. Even if you

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Indeed, You Can Get Cost-free Wi-Fi Everywhere in the World. Here is How

This tale is element of Home Suggestions, CNET’s collection of sensible assistance for acquiring the most out of your residence, within and out.

Our life have become a lot more and extra dependent on obtaining a fantastic web connection. We understand on the weboperate from residence on laptops and entertain ourselves with our preferred shows and flicks on streaming expert services. Secure Wi-Fi is vital day in and day out. 

So what transpires when you’re out and about, away from your residence Wi-Fi? Or what if your residence world wide web just isn’t that fast in the to start with location?

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In this guidebook, we are going to give you a speedy rundown on how to immediately get on line working with a hotspot, and how to discover free of charge Wi-Fi anywhere in the globe. (You can also learn how to notify if your Wi-Fi is slow owing to net throttlinghow to speed up your Wi-Fi and our picks for the best VPNs.) 

What is a hotspot?

A hotspot is a central locale or device that delivers wi-fi obtain to the online, and any community system can join offered it has the correct access. Depending on your cell supplier and program, you may be able to use your smartphone as a hotspot

There are two distinctive kinds of hotspots: community and private. 

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In the over situation exactly where you have paid out your cellular supplier for the means to develop a hotspot with your smartphone, the smartphone is the actual physical device that makes wireless access for other Wi-Fi-enabled products, like laptops, desktop personal computers and streaming equipment. This is an case in point of a personal hotspot. 

A general public hotspot is ordinarily developed by a small business to deliver online provider when visitors, prospects and clientele are on web-site. Several no cost, community Wi-Fi connections are hotspots. But for the sake of precision, it is vital to take note a change involving conventional Wi-Fi and a hotspot.

What is actually the difference among Wi-Fi and a hotspot?

Whilst hotspots are a bodily area or unit, Wi-Fi is a wi-fi technological innovation that gadgets can use to mail facts to each other. If you have Wi-Fi at home, it truly is simply because you have a Wi-Fi router quarterbacking all of your wireless gizmos, and an world wide web assistance company that’s connecting that router to the internet. 

So extensive as you set a powerful password, a personal Wi-Fi network like that is going to be extra safe than a community hotspot due to the fact you manage who and what connects to it. Public hotspots, on the other hand, are open up to any individual in just range, which is why it can be a good thought to use a VPN or some

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Where to Find All Those Saved Wi-Fi Passwords on Your Mac or Windows

After setting up your home Wi-Fi network, you probably don’t give much thought to the password because your laptop, phone and other devices are all now connected.

And then one day your friend or family member comes over and wants access to your Wi-Fi, but you don’t remember your password — and you didn’t write it down. 

Is it that super long number on the back of your router? Or did you change it to something more personal?

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Lucky for you, there’s a way to find all your Wi-Fi passwords in a single place — your computer.

Read more: Best Password Managers for 2022

As long as your Windows or Mac computer has connected to the network before, that Wi-Fi password is permanently stored in your settings. It may require a bit of digging on your part, but all of the passwords are there, saved, and ready to be shared with anyone who wants to connect to Wi-Fi.

Here’s how to find the passwords to all of the Wi-Fi networks you’ve ever connected to on MacOS and Windows. For more, discover 17 essential settings for customizing your MacBook or how to get the most out of Windows 11.

How to find Wi-Fi passwords in MacOS

Every password you’ve entered and saved on a Mac is stored in Keychain Access, the password management system for MacOS. And that includes Wi-Fi network passwords. 

To start, use the search feature to open the Keychain Access app and do the following:

1. Click on System under System Keychains in the sidebar.

2. Next, click on Passwords at the top of the window.

3. Find the Wi-Fi network you want the password for and double-click on it.

4. Finally, check the box next to Show password and enter your password when prompted.

Keychain Access app pop-up on MacBook

Find all your stored Wi-Fi passwords in the Keychain Access app on MacOS.


Screenshot by Nelson Aguilar/CNET

The password field will then show the password you used to log in to that Wi-Fi network. You can double-click in the password field to select the password and copy it to your clipboard, if needed.

How to find Wi-Fi passwords on Windows

Finding the password to the Wi-Fi network you’re currently connected to is simple on Windows, but getting your hands on all stored Wi-Fi passwords takes a bit of work, so we’ll discuss both methods below.

To find the password to the Wi-Fi network you’re currently connected to on Windows:

1. Click the Start button and then go to Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center (Windows 11) or Settings > Network & Internet > Status > Network and Sharing Center (Windows 10).

2. Next to Connections, click your Wi-Fi network name highlighted in blue.

3. In the Wi-Fi Status page that opens, click Wireless Properties and then on the Security tab.

4. Finally, check the box next to Show characters to display your Wi-Fi network password above

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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.

CNET Home Tips logo

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. 

Shopping for a faster internet speed?

We’ll send you the fastest internet options, so you don’t have to find them.

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

 

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 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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5 Reasons Why Your Wi-Fi Is Down and How to Fix It

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

There’s really never a good time for your Wi-Fi to go out: Whatever you’re using the internet for at the time (streaming TV, gaming online, working from home or some combination of it all) comes to an abrupt and frustrating halt. An internet outage could also knock your Wi-Fi security cameras, smart light switches and other connected devices offline even when you’re away — not ideal.

While there’s not much you can do about an internet outage when you’re away from home, troubleshooting and resolving the occasional service disruption can be fairly quick and simple. Here are the most common reasons why your internet might go out and how to fix the problem, if possible. Spoiler alert: It’s not always the fault of your internet service provider. (For more Wi-Fi tips, check out why your router may be in the wrong place, and how to find free Wi-Fi anywhere in the world.) 

Most common causes of home internet outages

Here are some of the top causes your internet may have dropped — we’ll dive into solutions for each below.

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1. Modem/router malfunctions

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2. Inadequate speeds or equipment

3. Hacking or network issues

4. Bad weather

5. ISP service outages and network congestion

Narrowing down the exact issue can take a bit of investigating and troubleshooting. Start by verifying the connection issue isn’t specific to a single website, server or device. 

If you’ve lost your Netflix connection halfway through a show, check to see if other streaming services are still accessible and working. If so, the problem likely lies with Netflix and not your internet connection. If you’re having an issue connecting to other streaming services, it could be that the smart TV or streaming device is to blame. Try streaming on another device, if possible, to verify that an internet outage is the culprit.

Ry Crist/CNET

When your home internet connection goes out, it’s most likely due to a hiccup with your modem and/or router. The solution is often simple: Restart your equipment by unplugging it, waiting 10 seconds or so, plugging it back in and allowing it to reboot. More often than not, this will resolve your outage.

When restarting your router, I’d recommend cutting power by unplugging it instead of pressing or holding any buttons on the device itself. Doing so can prompt the device to do a hard reset, returning it to factory settings and erasing your Wi-Fi network settings. Granted, the reset will likely re-establish your internet connection, but you’ll also have the extra task of setting up your Wi-Fi again.

Also, keep in mind that your device may have a battery backup. If the lights on your modem or router don’t go out when

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