Slow wifi? Your ISP may be limiting your Internet connection

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

Is your internet connection suddenly moving slow? It could be due to a outdated router or a router location less than ideal. Your connection problems may just require a simple fix, like upgrading to a mesh network (which it must also be installed in the right place) or simply restart your modem and router. But if you’ve already tried many of the proven methods and your internet speed is still poor, the problem may be something on your own. internet service provider is doing it intentionally: Bandwidth throttling.

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Yes, you read that correctly. Your ISP may be slowing down your Wi-Fi on purpose. Because of a 2019 Supreme Court decision where the court refused to hear a net neutrality appeal, ISPs can still legally choke the internet, limiting your broadband if you stream more TV than they want and offer slower connections to websites owned by their competitors.

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One solution to slow down Wi-Fi (if it is caused by internet throttling) it is a virtual private network
. Basically, ISPs need to see your IP address to slow down the internet ea good vpn it will protect that identity, although this comes with some limitations and disadvantages, which I will discuss below. We’ll walk you through how to tell if throttling is to blame, and if not, what to do to fix your poor Wi-Fi. (You can also learn more about how to get free wifi 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 jumping to these conclusions, it’s important to go through the usual troubleshooting list: verifying that your router is centrally located in your home, repositioning its antennas, double-checking network security, and so on. If you want to know more ways to optimize your Wi-Fi, check out our suggestions.

If you’ve been going through your shopping list and your Wi-Fi is still running 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. Using any VPN should reduce your speed considerably, so speed tests should show a discrepancy, with active VPN speed significantly slower than idle VPN 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 that without the VPN, this could mean that your ISP is targeting your IP address for throttling.

Screenshot by David Priest/CNET

OK, that’s the hard part. Even if you find that your provider is throttling your Internet connection, there may not be much you can actually do about it. Many people in the United States live in regions with ISP monopolies or duopolies, so you may not be able to find a better provider. But here are some helpful answers:

  • If you Do you have options, use the best provider in your area. Measurement laboratory provides a good resource for finding information specific to your region and can guide you to a more reliable ISP.
  • Use your VPN to maintain more consistent speeds. A VPN cannot fix a bad connection or other reason behind your slow service, but it can mitigate throttling by unscrupulous ISPs.
  • Call your provider and threaten to switch providers if they don’t stop throttling your internet connection. This might seem old-fashioned, and I can’t guarantee lasting results, but vendors have responded positively to such tactics when I’ve used them.

Read more about best VPNs to use while working from homethe Fastest VPNs and VPN you can try for free before purchase. And here is the best high speed ISPs and the best wifi booster for almost everyone.

Correction, February 10, 2020: This article previously incorrectly attributed the 2019 net neutrality ruling to the Supreme Court, rather than the Circuit Court in Washington which decided the case. The Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal.

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