Is your company’s internet connection frustratingly sluggish? That could be costing you. Nearly 11 working days are lost each year due to technology failures and 48% of workers point to slow internet connections as a root cause of that lost time.


Here are six of the most common speed-slowing culprits—and how to handle them:


1. Out-of-date devices

Is your connection slow—or are your devices? “Begin the diagnosis by running a speed test, which will measure your upload and download speeds,” advises Jud Whiteneck, Senior Director, Product Management at Spectrum Business. “This process can help you narrow down the sources of slowing speeds. Hardwire computers to the ethernet during this test to rule out any WiFi issues that may be contributing to the issue.” (For a general idea of the speed you need for the number of users and online activities your business has, check out this chart.)

“Keep in mind that the internet speed you’re getting through a connected device is only equal to what that device can handle,” says Erin Toney, Director, Wireless Products at Spectrum Business. “As a general rule of thumb, [more expensive] laptops will be more powerful than tablets, which will be more powerful than smartphones. However, specific configurations by device type will vary based on make, model, and age of the devices.”


2. Too many applications

As more and more business applications have moved to the cloud, the amount of bandwidth required has increased as well. Check devices to make sure all applications currently running are necessary, and close those that don’t need to continue running in the background.


3. Blocked WiFi signals

Obstructions between the WiFi router and the connected device—such as elevators, cubicle walls and even metal furniture—will degrade the signal. A clear path will provide the best performance. “Have your WiFi-enabled internet modem or standalone WiFi router installed as close to the middle of your business as possible, or centrally -located within the space where you will use WiFi most often,” Toney says. “The router should be in an open location, not in a cabinet or closet, situated at table or desk height, and oriented in the appropriate position so that the antennae have maximum effectiveness.” A WiFi (or range) extender, a device that piggybacks on the existing signal, may also be a simple fix.


4. Browser bottleneck

Your browser could have add-ons and plug-in features that are consuming bandwidth. It might also have security features that scan pages for safety before loading. To disable unnecessary add-ons in Internet Explorer, go to the Tools menu and click “Manage add-ons.” If you use Google Chrome, add-ons can be disabled through Settings.

If you go through the process of disabling add-ons and you are still browsing at a snail’s pace, your browser may be corrupted. Install an upgrade to the latest version to ensure your devices are browsing at the maximum speed.


5. Host server hangups

One of most common causes of slow speed on the internet is the host server, which hosts websites, files, images, games and applications. The server you’re using may be misconfigured or underpowered for the number of people using it at the same time.

To test your host server settings, visit a few different web sites. Your modem is capable of delivering at least as much speed as the fastest-loading site. If other websites are slower, the problem is usually with those host servers.


6. Bandwidth blues

If you implement all these tips and your internet speed has not caught up with the pace of your business, consider upgrading your internet service plan. In addition to providing robust, reliable connections, your provider may also offer the latest modem and router and 24/7 support.


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