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IT Untangled: Why Is My Internet So Slow? How to Fix Internet Issues

Written by Accent Computer Solutions

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A common, but historically troublesome problem, in the world of small to mid-size business is internet speed.  Network performance can be a pain because it usually has more than one point of failure, and isolating the issue(s) can take some time.

Singling out one isolated Internet connectivity issue takes patience, time, process, and a lot of know-how.  Most of the time, it takes little to no time to fix. But if you’ve got a real fiasco on your hands, it could take weeks to get your Internet functionality back up to par. Not only is it frustrating, but it’s a huge hindrance to businesses that rely on Internet connectivity, and most do today.

System engineers at Accent Computer Solutions, Inc., work daily with clients to pinpoint why their Internet speed isn’t up to expectation, and effectively help them get back to their norm.

If you’re having one of those, “Why is my Internet so slow?” moments, here are a few tips from our team on how to pinpoint the source of Internet failure – from the easiest to the most severe cases.

How to Figure Out What’s Wrong with Your Internet

Internet issues seem to always happen at the most inconvenient time. To help speed up the process, gather as much information as possible.

Knowing the answers to the following questions can really help your managed IT service provider as they’re diagnosing the problem:

  • Is the Internet connection slow, or are you losing connection completely?
  • Is it happening for everyone, just to you, one cubical section, or one side of the building etc.?
  • What time of day does it happen?
  • Is it sporadic?
  • Is the problem with your phones or computer, both?
  • Are there any issues connecting to local resources, such as servers, shared folders, or printers?

Once you’ve given your IT team the most information possible, the troubleshooting begins.  

1. Check External Factors That Might Affect Internet Speed

First, we start with external factors. Think high traffic from things like Amazon Prime Day or March Madness. “External factors matter when it comes to trouble shooting. During World Cup Soccer, TelePacific Internet in the Inland Empire went down because their system was over utilized due to streaming of the soccer match.”  - Corey Kaufman vCIO at Accent Computer Solutions

Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) plays a big role in trouble shooting. Your IT team can check the speed of your connection and weigh that against the speed you pay for. After that, your IT provider should test your access points, followed by contacting your Internet Service Provider so they can test your connection and the equipment, such as routers, from their end.

2. Check How Many Devices (Phones, Tablets, Laptops) Are Connected and How Much Internet Bandwidth They’re Using

If all of that checks out, it’s time to look at other external factors. How many wireless devices are connecting to your Internet? Corey notes, “Many times, we forget that our phones or tablets automatically connect to the Wi-Fi. If 5 employees are looking at Facebook videos, one is streaming sports, and a couple are streaming music – there goes a HUGE chunk of bandwidth being sucked up. We forget that just a couple of smartphones can take up a lot of space.”

3. Check for Hardware Related Internet Issues

If the issues are still unresolved, it’s time to move on to the show stopper. Failing or underperforming networks can also be due to hardware issues. Your IT team will check your firewall. Is it running as expected? Depending on what kind of firewall you have, they might be able to check the bandwidth to see if it’s being over utilized. Rebooting the firewall and modem will solve most issues when it comes to Internet speed.

4. Troubleshooting the Infrastructure

After that, things get a bit hairier. At this point, it might be an infrastructure problem, such as cabling. In this case your IT provider will run several tests to find points of failure.  

Creating a Plan to Fix Internet Connection Problems

This part is twofold. Once the problem or point of failure has been identified, your plan of action depends on its severity.

If the point of failure is a controllable issue, such as streaming, social media, or gaming at work, there are a couple of things that can be done. Send out a companywide email about the do’s and don’ts for internet streaming. You can also talk to your IT team about blocking websites and content that you don’t want your employees to access.f

Larger issues such as cabling, loss of internet due to access point connectivity, or a faulty router take time.  Working with your managed IT service provider, create a timeline in which all issues can be addressed ASAP. Some pain points are more serious than others. Your IT provider should create the timeline based on the most important and work their way from there.

Internet connectivity issues are, by nature, HARD. There are so many variables, and a million and one reasons why your internet could be down. That’s why working with a defined process is the best way to resolve these issues. But keep in mind, they are human. Working hand-in-hand with your IT department to keep your Internet connection healthy and manageable is a team effort.

IT Untangled

IT can be complicated. We're here to help "untangle" it for you.

IT Untangled aims to provide clarity on IT topics for business people. This weekly blog series will explain and discuss the complex world of IT, in words you understand. 

Related:  Ask an IT Guy: Which Internet Service is Best for My Business?

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