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Why your fibre internet could be slow

For most people and businesses, the internet has become a daily necessity. Since normal life would be impossible without it, many people opt for a fibre optic connection because of its speed, reliability and affordability. 

From time to time, certain users may encounter slower performance than usual. There are four common causes for this: bandwidth contention, signal interference, incompatible WiFi routers, or slow devices. 

1. Bandwidth contention

Customers of some internet service providers (ISPs) share fibre optic cables. This is referred to as contention and it is frequently expressed as a ratio. Ten users share one fibre cable in a 10:1 contention ratio. Each cable has a maximum bandwidth (or amount of data) that can be sent and received simultaneously. As a result, the more users sharing a cable, the lesser the bandwidth allocated to each user and the slower the speed.

These users will experience slower internet speeds than usual during peak hours. Fortunately, this isn’t true of all ISPs. WonderNet, for instance, offers uncontended fibre internet with a 1:1 contention ratio. This means that your fibre optic cable is dedicated to you alone. 

2. Signal interference

WiFi signals are radio waves that bounce around a building until they reach a connected device, such as a smartphone or laptop. As they travel through space, these signals weaken slightly and they can be hindered by certain objects, such as walls and large appliances.

The most common cause of slow internet is WiFi signal interference. Multiple devices receiving WiFi signals on the same or similar transmission channels can also cause signal interference. Check that your router is not located near any large metal appliances or thick walls in the home.

3. Incompatible WiFi router

WiFi routers are not all created equal, and some may be incompatible with your fibre line or connected devices. Although most traditional routers will support fibre optic connectivity, certain older models may not be capable of handling the high-speed nature of fibre data transmission. 

4. Slow devices

The poor computing capability of your connected device may be another major cause of slow internet. Since processors struggle to deal with fibre’s high-speed data, a slow computer or phone will inevitably affect internet speed. 

How to boost internet speeds

There are several ways to improve your internet speed. Begin by closing any unnecessary programmes or apps. These could be consuming a significant amount of processing power on your device or accessing the internet in the background without your knowledge. You could also turn off automatic updates on your devices while online. These updates frequently consume a lot of bandwidth and can slow down internet speeds.

Unused devices can be disconnected from your WiFi as this will allocate a larger percentage of the bandwidth to the device you’re using, improving connectivity speed and reducing signal interference.

Lastly, if your connected devices are far from the WiFi router, a signal booster (or WiFi repeater) may be required. This will strengthen signal coverage throughout your home or workplace, allowing you to get the most out of your internet connection.

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Written by Taryn Hill

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