Guest Post: Can You Increase Your Download Speeds Without Increasing Your Bill?
We live in a world of streaming video. Whether you’re an avid YouTube user, a Netflix buff, or a lover of classic, epic films, the only thing most of us need to be able to enjoy our favorite movies is a good internet connection.
However, as you likely know, this can be much harder to come by than it should be. Internet companies tend to over promise and under deliver, and their rates seem to just keep going up, which is frustrating, to say the least.
So if you’re getting a lot of loading and buffering screens while trying to watch movies, then it might be a good idea to consider trying to boost your speeds. But this doesn’t always mean increasing your bill.
Here’s how you can do it:
Change the Type of Internet You Have
Dedicated Service Line (DSL) internet was the first form of broadband internet ever invented, and it’s terribly out of date. The only way it can deliver a decent internet connection is if you live right next to your Internet Service Provider’s (ISP’s) service center, which isn’t likely.
Satellite is another internet type you should try to avoid. It’s only benefit is that it can provide a connection to remote areas, but connection speeds tend to be rather slow.
Your best options are going to be cable and fiber optic internet. The speeds these connection types offer can get you way past 30 Mbps, which is what you need for easy streaming.
If you don’t have cable or fiber optic internet, then you can likely switch without having to increase your current bill.
Telecommunications companies are always running promotions to get people to sign up for their service, and this usually means you can get a low rate for switching.
It’s true they may try to jack the price up after a certain period of time, so you’ll need to remain vigilant to make sure you don’t get stuck with a hefty bill in a year’s time. But meanwhile, this can be a great way to boost internet speeds without having to incur an additional expense.
Check Your Equipment
While you may be paying for a super fast connection, this won’t matter if your equipment is out of date.
The first thing you will want to do is check the equipment provided by your ISP, mainly your modem.
They don’t make it a habit of checking up on you to see that you have the most updated gear, but they will often replace it for little or no charge since old hardware can have an effect on the speeds they are allowed to deliver across the network.
After you’ve checked your modem, take a look at your router. Most of us access the internet through WiFi because, let’s face it, it’s awesome.
However, routers are made to handle the connection speeds of their day, and things are almost always getting faster.
As a result, if you bought your router five years ago, there’s a good chance it can’t handle the speed currently being delivered through your connection.
There should be something on the router that tells you its capabilities. Compare this to what your ISP is promising, and if there is a major difference, consider investing in a new router.
Doing this is better than upgrading your connection because it’s a one-time cost. A good router will cost you around $60, but it will get you much faster internet.
Consider Going Old School
If you think the problem is your router but you don’t want to spend the money on a new one, then one alternative is to go old school and plug your device in using an ethernet cord.
Connections delivered over the cord do tend to be faster, and this won’t cost you a thing, unless of course, you need to buy a cable, which won’t run you more than just $20.
A good in-between solution is to only use your ethernet cable when streaming or doing other types of intense internet use, such as gaming. This way you won’t suck up all of the router’s bandwidth, allowing for faster speeds on your other devices.
If you’re not sure if things are faster, then use this tool to determine the actual speed you’re getting from your ISP.
One other thing you can do is to check your devices to make sure there are no apps running in the background that are connected to the internet. These apps will use up bandwidth, which will result in slower internet connections when you most need them.
One last thing you can do is to get on the phone with your ISP and start negotiating. Spend some time researching alternatives, and don’t be afraid to threaten canceling your service and going with a competitor.
This is a telecommunications company’s biggest fear, and they will often work with you to get you better value if the only other alternative is to lose you.
If you try all of these things and your internet connection doesn’t speed up, then it’s possible that you may need to upgrade your service.
High-quality streaming requires between 10-30 Mbps of internet speed. If you’re not getting this even after implementing all the above hacks, then start shopping around for alternatives.
But even this doesn’t mean raising your bill. More competition in the market means better prices and better service. Now it’s just time to take advantage of it!
About the Author: Kevin is the founder of Broadband Search, which is an online platform designed to help people find the best value high-speed internet in their area. He’s a big movie and music person, and he hates when slow internet keeps him from streaming. As a result, he’s made it his life’s mission to make sure no one has to deal with slow internet.