Troubleshooting Slow Broadband Speed

by Rod Dunne on January 6, 2011

in Articles, Performance

Slow broadband issues | Troubleshooting slow Internet connection speeds.
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Slow broadband speed can result from issues with the web connection itself or software problems on the PC. In this article, we’ll show how to troubleshoot slow Internet connectivity, how to establish what the speed of your connection is and some of the computer repairs maintenance tasks you can perform to fix the most common causes of bad performance.

Establishing slow broadband connection speed: Measuring upload/download

Before making any changes to your PC, it is worth knowing what the current upload and download speeds actually are. There are a large number of websites you could use to evaluate this (e.g. and many Internet service providers (ISPs) also provide these types of connection statistics on their member pages.

If the measurements indicates that you have a slow Internet connection then contact the ISP directly to find out if there are problems with slow broadband speeds in your area. They can run a variety of tests to test your line from their end.

Improving slow broadband speed with PC checks

If the upload/download speeds seem fine then the problem may well lie with your computer. Here are some checks you can do:

  • Use PC optimization software
    You can use software utilities such as XP Repair Pro to automate the process of repairing and optimizing system configuration.
  • Scan for viruses
    Your perceived slow broadband connection could actually relate to viruses on the PC that are using up bandwidth or have already corrupted Internet connection settings. Update your anti-virus application and scan the entire hard drive to detect and then remove these bugs.
  • Disable browser add-ons
    All browsers now facilitate using add-on applications (visible via the options menu in your browser). These can end up running on every single page you go to so will prove to be a drain on bandwidth. Try disabling all of the browsers add-ons to establish if they are cause of your slow broadband speeds.
  • Test out different browsers.
    Every browser handles the web/HTML coding specifications differently and some browsers are better at handling newer technologies such as Flash based advertisements or streaming video. It may simply be that your browser is struggling to access certain websites. You should make sure you have the latest update or version of the browser as older releases will struggle to handle the more complex modern websites.
  • Apply strict firewall permissions.
    Many of the applications running as background services/tasks on your PC will be permitted web access in order to access data or updates. You can open your firewall permissions and try disabling as many of these programs as possible in order to free up some extra bandwidth. Just be careful that you do not disable any of your security programs or anti-virus updates.
  • Browser configuration improvements.
    There is a huge array of configuration changes you can make to IE or Firefox to improve how they perform. The easiest way to improve slow Internet speeds however is to use specific performance add-ons (e.g. Faster Fox) to cleanly automate the configuration changes.
  • Use download managers.
    If your slow broadband speed issues specifically relate to the times it takes to download files then you should strongly consider using a download manager software tool to help improve the scheduling and file download performance.

Related posts
How to increase Internet speed | Configuration changes.

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