The foremost requirement of high speed web surfing is obvious: a fast broadband connection. But even with the fastest broadband service in place, there are a number of things you can do to optimize your set up and ensure that you’re getting the peak of reliability and the best performance off your hardware and connection.
The following are seven simple measures to help keep your broadband connection and web surfing at optimal speeds.
1. Regular PC maintenance and security routines
First, the basics. Regular system maintenance and security checks are always good. Change your security passwords, defragment your hard drive, and update your computer’s device drivers and anti-virus software on a regular basis.
Malware, spyware and viruses can interfere with your internet connection or otherwise introduce unwanted burdens on your machine’s regular functions, causing poor overall performance.
Visit your router manufacturer’s website from time to time to check for the latest available firmware updates, as well.
2. Clean your connections
Conduct a regular inspection of your router and modem cables to ensure that your hardware has clean connections. Loose and dusty cables from your broadband modem to your router or PC can cause considerable reductions in internet speeds. Use a can of compressed air to blow out any accumulation of dust in the connectors.
3. Test and report any service issues
Test your internet connection speeds and use your VOIP service at different times of the day. Make a note of the days and times when network traffic interrupts your VOIP calls, or when you experience decreases in download and upload speeds.
Report any connection quality issues to your internet service provider (ISP) to allow appropriate troubleshooting or adjustments on their end.
4. Switch DNS servers if necessary
Every web page requires an IP address before it can be loaded. The speed with with which your Domain Name System (DNS) server translates domain names into IP addresses affects how quickly your system can load any given page. If your DNS server happens to be bogged down, then chances are it will be slower to resolve addresses.
In such instances, you can use Google’s Public DNS in lieu of that which your ISP provides by default. Even better, you can ascertain the fastest DNS servers in your area and use one of those.
You can designate which DNS servers your system will use in Windows by configuring your TCP/IPv4 properties under “Network and Internet Settings.”
5. Power cycling
Many PC users include power cycling in their maintenance routines. Power cycling — shutting off and re-applying the flow of electricity to your router — helps to resolve glitches caused by overheating and corruption of the router’s internal memory.
Power can be shut off through the on/off switch on your router or by simply unplugging its electric cord. To ensure proper cycling, be sure to wait a few seconds before you plug the cord back in.
6. Use a good quality router
Often enough, ISPs will bundle poor quality routers into their various service plans. These are inferior products that do not handle multiple connections well and are unable to provide optimal wireless coverage.
High quality routers come with faster processors, better network switches, and more RAM. They offer better wireless coverage, as well.
7. Position your modem and router properly
Your broadband modem should be positioned as close to the incoming feed as possible. When using a cable modem that feeds off a line that is split multiple ways, for instance, connect your modem to the main line — as close as possible to the initial junction. This will permit you the cleanest possible signal and provide your system with a faster, clearer connection .
If you have a wireless router with omnidirectional antennas, position it in the center of the area you wish covered. This will allow your router better coverage of the premises and ensure that your wireless devices receive a better signal.