7 things that can slow your internet speed

Many Australian households now have multiple web-enabled devices, which means internet speeds have never been more important. If you’re stuck with slow internet at home, or want to make sure your connection will be working after moving house, there are a number of things to keep in mind.

What internet speed do I need?

With many of us working from home more, as well as streaming shows and gaming in our downtime – speed’s often a big factor when searching for a provider and selecting a plan. Let’s take it back to basics. Internet speed, or ‘bandwidth’, is expressed in Megabits per second, or Mbps. To help work out what speed you might need at home, here’s the bandwidth some common tasks require:

  • Skype HD video call: 1.5Mbps
  • General web browsing: 3Mbps
  • High Definition (720p) video streaming: 5Mbps
  • 4K video streaming: 25Mbps

What speeds are available?

Plans on the National Broadband Network (nbn™) are available at download speeds of 12Mbps, 25Mbps, 50Mbps, 100Mbps, 250Mbps* and 1000Mbps*. If you’ve got multiple people using your connection, and doing many things at once, you’ll need more bandwidth to accommodate everyone. So, it’s important to choose a plan that suits your needs and the size of your household.

If you’re an avid online gamer, and love to stream, you might need a plan with higher speeds.

What’s slowing down my internet?

We’ve pulled together seven major things that might be contributing to the slow speeds at your place – plus some tips on how to troubleshoot them.

1. Connection type

Let’s take it right back. Your internet speed depends largely on the type of connection you have. In Australia, there are seven types of nbn™ connection types available:  

  • Fibre to the node – FTTN
  • Fibre to the curb – FTTC
  • Fibre to the building/basement – FTTB
  • Fibre to the premise – FTTP
  • Hybrid Fibre-coaxial – HFC
  • Fixed Wireless
  • Satellite

There are lots of different technologies used and that means different speeds. If you’re not sure what kind of nbn™ connection you have at your place, check out the nbn™ address search to find out.

If the nbn™ hasn’t rolled out in your area yet, there may be other alternative connection types available to you such as Opticomm (Fibre, VDSL, HFC).

2. Your plan

The speed of plan you choose from your internet service provider is the single most important factor affecting overall internet speed. Remember, when choosing an Origin nbn™ plan, you have the choice of plans capable of achieving speeds from 25Mbps through to 1000Mbps*.  Origin Internet offers fast, reliable internet and, for added peace of mind, there’s also our Origin next day promise.

What’ve you got to lose, except slow internet?

3. Your equipment

Something that’s often overlooked is what speed your modem/router is capable of achieving. Most devices will usually support either 2.4ghz broader coverage or 5ghz higher speed coverage over a shorter distance.

4. WiFi issues

Is your router slowing you down? While the convenience of Wi-Fi has seen its popularity grow over the last 15 years, wired connections – when your computer is connected to your modem with a physical cable – generally remain faster. If you’re connecting to the internet using Wi-Fi, here are some reasons why you might be experiencing speed issues:

  • Router Location: Router location is an important choice that makes a big difference. Things to consider are the distance from your devices, the router’s height from the ground, and its proximity to dense materials like concrete and metal that can block Wi-Fi signals. For best results we recommend putting your router in the location where internet is used most frequently, above ground level, and away from walls or obstructions.
  • Interference: Even though Wi-Fi is usually on a different frequency than most devices in your home, there’s still potential for those devices to cause interference, resulting in slower speeds. Some devices that might cause interference include microwaves, Bluetooth devices and even Christmas lights. You can track down the culprit by switching devices off to see if they affect your internet performance.
  • Neighbours: Similarly, areas with a large amount of Wi-Fi networks, such as an apartment building, may suffer from poor signal strength because of conflicting frequencies. Wi-Fi routers have several channels that can transmit at different frequencies – if you’ve got a slow connection caused by a neighbour’s router using the same channel, changing your router to another frequency can help. To do this, you’ll need to connect to the router’s admin tool from your computer – your router’s instruction manual will have instructions on how to do this.

5. Copper telephone lines

A weak point of an nbn™ connection is when there’s copper cable involved. As a signal travels through copper cable it weakens, so in general, the longer this distance, the more your connection speed drops. Copper cable issues generally affect FTTC, FTTB and FTTN connections more commonly. Currently FTTP and some HFC connections can support higher speeds than those with copper.

6. Multiple devices

When using multiple devices via wifi this will impact the speed you get at each device.  This will be split out across the number of devices that are in use. Say for example you have a 25Mbps plan, and there are 5 devices using wifi in your household, this means that effectively they’ll each only be able to achieve (roughly) a speed of 5Mbps per device. This is why selecting the right plan for your household is so important.

7. Network congestion

When everyone’s online at the same time, the internet can sometimes struggle to keep up with the demand. Modern networks are designed to handle a high volume of connections, but you might still experience reduced speed during peak hours of internet usage – we’re looking at you, Netflix-loving neighbours!

Network congestion’s generally most common in the evening when more people in your area are at home and online. It’s the same issue closer to home in large households when multiple people are using different devices on the one internet connection.

However, improvements to our internet infrastructure is helping reduce this issue. According to data published by nbn™ Co, the average fixed-line nbn™ subscriber’s now experiencing, on average, 13 minutes of bandwidth congestion per week, down from a sizeable 30 minutes in November 2020. Network congestion is defined as when 95% or more of available bandwidth is being used.

Here at Origin Internet, we know that slow evening speeds are no good. Once we see that an area’s reaching capacity we stop selling until we can increase it. 

Ready to make the switch to award-winning internet?

Read the full details, eligibility criteria and T&Cs here.


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