Tips to improve the speed of your home internet connection

You may be familiar with the term “last mile,” which generally refers to the broadband customer at home. There may be circumstances specific to your home Internet connection that could result in low speeds or inconsistent connections. Do things seem slow? Use a speed testing site like to check on your connection.

Here are some tips for individuals at home to attempt that may improve performance:

Activities that affect your home internet speed

  • Having many devices connected to your home internet at the same time. Every connected device in your home uses some of the bandwidth.
  • Multiple activities that use a lot of bandwidth at the same time, like streaming, gaming, videoconferencing and downloading large files
  • Connecting via Wi-Fi. A wired connection tends to be faster.
  • Interference from other Wi-Fi networks.
  • Too many people connecting to the same website or app at once.
  • The amount of VPN traffic you send can increase consumption of your local bandwidth. Typically, you will only need to use Global Protect if you are accessing LC hosted services such as LC Files. If you don’t need to use VPN services, disconnecting from Global Protect could increase performance.

Ways to potentially increase internet speed:

  • Offload messaging and social media applications to other devices.
  • Turn off video when using conference apps.
  • Restart your router now and then. The router, sometimes called the gateway, is the device that takes the “feed” from your home internet service and disseminates it for use by your connected computers and devices. You may find a reset button on the router, but unplugging it for 5-10 seconds is recommended to ensure that the router’s cache clears.
  • Keep your gateway and devices away from obstructions (like metal) and common sources of interference such as baby monitors and microwaves.
  • Move Wi-Fi devices closer to your router. The farther away they are, the weaker the signal and the slower the speed.
  • Place your Wi-Fi gateway in a central location in your home or office. Keeping it upright and off the floor improves coverage. Here’s a video that demonstrates some considerations in placing your router.
  • Install a Mesh System in your home, which uses multiple connected pieces of hardware to extend the range and signal strength of Wi-Fi in your home.
  • Only use Wi-Fi with devices that don’t have wired connection ports, such as smartphones and tablets.
  • Add a Wi-Fi extender to improve coverage and signal strength if needed.
  • Upgrade your broadband plan with your internet service provider or complain if speeds you find on a speed testing service is lower than what you are paying for.

Hardware tips:

  • Turn off internet-connected devices when you aren’t using them.
  • Clear your browser cache and cookies.
  • Exit streaming apps after watching videos or listening to music.
  • Restart devices regularly.
  • Turn off auto-updates on apps, gaming consoles and computers.
  • Update anti-virus software, drivers, firmware, and computer and device software.
  • Upgrade older Wi-Fi devices to ones with newer, faster Wi-Fi technology.

Software tips:

  • Zoom:
    • Using Zoom videoconferencing with VPN can decrease the performance of your home internet connection. Only use Global Protect/VPN when it is necessary to access files and applications only available on the Lewis & Clark network.
    • Keep your laptop battery charged or plug-in. When laptop batteries run low there’s often a drop in performance as a power saving strategy. 
    • If you experience poor audio quality using Zoom, you can use the phone numbers provided by the meeting host to access audio via telephone rather than your computer to decrease your bandwidth usage.

Additional Resources: