Many factors can slow down internet connectivity–from hardware to software. “Tune-Up” computer by going through list below one at a time and checking results. Most common reason for slow-down are Local Temp files — go directly to that section, Software, #4 — if in a hurry.
ethernet cable quality: First, for any cable internet connection, it DOES make a difference as to what cable you use. that cord sticking out of the back of your computer — is it quality? basic rule of thumb, is the fatter the better. generally the ethernet cords that come with your modem or router, are of the cheaper variety. a good cable will cost you more in the way of $30 or so. what i do is use the high-grade quality from my modem to my router, and then the cheapy ones from the router to the computers. (even the cables given to you by the internet company (comcast) are of the cheapy variety. have to remember, that they WANT you to draw less juice from the hive.)
- peak hours and high usage: another reason cable internet may slow, is if your cable company has signed up more customers on your block, without adding to the supportive infrastructure.
- modem quality and modem overheating: is your modem super-warm? one thing you can do, is check the heat. excessive heat can slow or even stop a connection. one option is to take a laptop cooler …. the flat-fan type … and put it under the modem to cool it. (later have found that if propped a certain way, the modem will stay cool enough to maintain an adequate connection. ) the TYPE of modem you buy is also important. while am not into “brand-placing” …. the zoom modem i purchased last year has simply worked in a no-muss no-fuss fashion. whereas trying to use the brand that the cable company supplied, drove me nearly insane the first two weeks.
- router quality: far as routers go, there is a larger variety to choose from, and might be better to go for best price/features. main thing to remember, is the salesperson at best buy or office max or staples … is not necessarily your best shot at getting the right information on the product. research research research. on electronics, you can’t go by brand anymore, and need to look up the specific item and scan customer comments, specs, and pricing available.
- if you can’t use the internet to research, because what you are shopping for are items to GET the internet …… go to the library computers, they DO work, and plod around to find your best options.
- the thing about products and electronics, is they are NOT all built alike, and you will find very quickly that some are solid-state and some are not well-built. we all get stuck with poorly-made electronics on occasion. if you research — you have a better chance of not getting stuck with the bad ones. the time it takes is worth the lowering of aggravation in the end, and it’s one less item to fill the dumpster.
- far as the PCI ethernet board itself — go to this blog for ways to trouble-shoot connection issues: http://eebrinker.wordpress.com/2010/08/24/realtek-pcie-gbe-family-host-controller-did-windows-update-do-it-again/ . the chances for problems with the Realtek PCI hardware in causing a slowing, are very low. as in, anyone convincing you of that is most likely trying to sell you a new board. follow the steps in this blog first, for improving speed.
Biggest slowing of connection is what will attach to your browser itself. picture a ship going through a sea, with more and more icebergs it has to push-through to get where it’s going.
if you KEEP your browsing clean in the first place, that ONE iceberg really stands out. comes down to settings.
ALL browsers now, are pretty much up to speed build-wise. even internet explorer, which always gets a little boggy — is doing better in its 9 build. and of late, i had to switch to the Beta 4 build on firefox from issues with java and flash.
1. is your browser a current build?
browser out-of-date: check and download the latest software, if it is not. only download and install from the actual browser website … like mozilla.org (firefox) or microsoft.com or google.com. do not use a third-party-sponsored browser (unless through linux).
2. are browser add-ons up to date?
plugins out-of-date: most add-ons are coming out with updates every month, now. it’s important to check periodically, that you have the most current versions of Java, and Flash. those are the two that will slow or even stop browsing, if not up-to-date.
in firefox, go Tools>>>>Add-ons. select the option to check if all of your plugins are current — or on the newest build, firefox does that for you.
internet explorer will automatically remind you to update your flash or adobe plugins, but can check the versions by selecting the tools icon (cog) >>>>>manage add-ons. when you click on any plugin, it will list what version is being used. and again, Java and Flash are the most important when comes to browsing and internet speed. Flash is found on adobe.com, and Java on java.com. Sun (oracle) java installs with an update-process…. however, my experience has taught me not to depend upon that.
for a heads-up on computer software updating schedules, click here for the government security reports: http://www.us-cert.gov/current/
it is also worthy to note, that some add-ons amount to bog-ware. and important to go through the listing of add-ons on your browser and determine if they are necessary. for myself, have found the Live ID addons to be a tad boggy. real media, and other players like divx, are not needed for browsing so much. most browser add-on interfaces will give an option to disable or remove an unnecessary addon. if you don’t use it, lose it.
3. have you adjusted browser options or settings?
too many cookies and temporary internet files: just because a cookie isn’t flagged as spyware, doesn’t mean that it isn’t “spying” and slowing you down. there are all forms, even image files that contain tracking elements — web bugs. and they can easily take a browser from loading a page in 2 seconds, to loading it in 20 seconds. the best way to eliminate at least SOME tag-alongs, is prevention through custom-tailoring browser settings.
US CERT dot gov instructions for safe browsing: http://www.us-cert.gov/reading_room/securing_browser/
FIREFOX: tools>>>>options>>>>privacy. switch it from “remember history” to “use custom settings” …. and UNCHECK option for THIRD PARTY COOKIES. check option to “clear history when firefox closes.”
INTERNET EXPLORER: clean house first: for whatever reason, the browsing history “delete” button does NOT delete all cookies in internet explorer. so instead, go Control Panel>>>>>Internet Options>>>>>General>>>>>Settings>>>>View Files. Select them all, click on File>>>>Delete. or hit the delete button on your keyboard. then adjust settings by going Control Panel>>>>>Internet Options>>>>Privacy>>>>>Advanced. Click “override automatic cookie handling” and under third-party cookies, click “block” and then “OK.”
for GOOGLE CHROME, it doesn’t matter because everything is being submitted to search engines anyway. in fact, Google chrome will SLOW DOWN if you uncheck the option for third-party cookies.
4. have you cleaned your Local Temp files?
trackers in your local temp files: this is the most likely spot where you will find whatever “sticky” that has slowed down your browsing the most.
first, you have to make the file viewable. go to Control Panel>>>>>>Folder Options>>>>View. and click on “show hidden files, folders, and drives.”
go to Computer>>>>>>C: drive>>>>Users>>>User name (you)>>>>>>AppData>>>>>Local>>>>>>Temp. select all and delete. some files, such as those used by windows or your security software, may not delete. don’t worry on that and leave them. don’t worry about the long numbered-ones. those are usually adobe. any files that windows needs, will be put back. so can delete the folders and everything to get a clean start.
(when finished, can go to folder options again, and reverse to NOT show hidden files)
5. browser still boggy?
try uninstalling it, delete any files left behind in local or programming directories, and re-install browser.
third-party firewall software: the other biggest-slowdown of internet, is security software and firewall protections. so that’s something to look into, if your current security software seems to slow your internet connection or might be the cause — you can try disabling the firewall and then check your speed. if it’s the cause, can try switching to a different security provider. in some cases, having only the windows firewall is adequate protection, and you can ditch the private firewall idea to speed things up. but that one’s a trade-off, and i wouldn’t advise it unless there is a significant difference.
other users in your household: the other thing to keep in mind, is that most broadband internet is still based upon “pieces of the pie.” so the more users you have, the slower it’s going to go. the more users in your household, on your router …. the slower it’s going to go. one of your kids downloading a torrent? good luck trying to stream your news channel.
slow response from web server: same goes for your neighborhood, and the time of day. during the week and around business peak-times, you will notice some slowing. and that’s not because of YOUR connection …. that’s the server-end getting over-loaded. that’s all those workers, sneaking onto their favorite sites when they’re supposed to be doing their jobs!
so a slow-down may not always be due to your internet or cable — keep a steady site handy that you know has server-capability — like myspace —- and see how that loads. if it’s boggy too, then you probably have a problem with your own system.
and of course, you can check network activity under task manager (right click toolbar>>>>task manager>>>>network) and check your usage in real-time. it’s not very helpful, though …. because a lower-percent usage still doesn’t tell you if it’s the connection itself, or your computer (browser).
the only way around that one, is to keep more than one computer on hand. and if one goes lickity-split and the other is slows-ville, you can know that slowing is localized to that computer software or hardware. if they both are slow, could be either your connection or the computers. so you have like a 75% chance then of knowing where to start trouble-shooting.
many simply put-up with slow connections. but when you are paying for the speed, you should get it. and when that slowing most often is due to some busybody that attached a cookie to your machine, so they could know what you are shopping for that day —- it goes under you just don’t let somebody take advantage of you in that fashion.
i would say 90% of any slowing i get is due to a cookie or temp file that slips in under the radar. so you go through the process, then, of wiping the temp files.
like i said, the ONE ice berg is a lot easier to spot, and torpedo. if you wait, until are bogged down completely …. it’s just a sea of ice and you won’t know when one more, and one more, and one more adds to the pile.
to check real-time network usage:
Control Panel >>>>>>> Network and Sharing Center >>>>>>> Change Adapter Settings >>>>>>*right click* on your connection (local area or wireless) >>>>> *select* Status.
you will see Bytes sent and received.
if that number moving, going up and up ……….. when you aren’t doing anything in the way of actively using your internet bandwidth (no browser window launched or no email program running) ………….. chances are you have a problem. sitting here typing for the last 5 minutes, the check on my usage count is it went up maybe 1 kb at most (1000 bytes)–to give an idea of normal usage.
if you suspect a trojan of using your internet bandwidth, download and run a reliable anti-virus ……… such as McAfee, Norton, or one of the offerings from Microsoft.
remember that a computer is supposed to help WITH accomplishing a task, not be the source of frustration and a slowing of productivity. only support and patronize those programmers who respect YOUR time, as well as your pocketbook.