How to Get Faster Internet Without Paying More

With two small kids, Talia and Jon Paul Villanueva are busy from morning to night. When they find time to slow, they say their internet usage picks up.

"It's so strange but they are like 'Mommy put Netflix on!" Talia said.

They family streams movies on their smart TV's, plays games on tablets, and at all times their wireless surveillance system, smart thermostat and smart home device are connected to the internet using Wi-Fi.

"Instead of looking something up with a book, everything is at your fingertips now," Jon Paul said.

This modern family has a smart home but say they sometimes notice their internet speed lagging.

"I've seen it at times drag, when it comes to speed," Jon Paul said. "We do a lot of work from home, searching and downloading, things of that nature."

They are paying for 250 Mbps, which according to their internet provider should be good for up to 11 devices at one time.

We connected the Villanueva family with technology expert Brandon Bowers, President of Zentek Data Systems. Bowers ran an internet speed test on the home's Wi-Fi system.

"When everything was on in the home, and I was running the test, you were actually getting full speed when I was next to the modem," he told Jon Paul.

The family is getting faster internet download speeds than what they are paying for but Bowers found key areas in the home where the speeds slow down. In some areas the speeds dropped as low as 80 Mbps.

Bowers says concrete walls can reduce signal strength. Depending on where the router is placed, the signal could weaken as it travels to a wireless device.

He also says Wi-Fi internet works like a round robin tournament. The internet signal communicates with one device at a time. As you add more devices into the mix, it can take longer for the wireless communication to take place.

Bowers suggests simple fixes like disconnecting wireless devices you aren't using, putting your Wi-Fi router in a central location and even purchasing a wireless mesh system that comes with small routers you can place around the home.

"Your purchase that once instead of upping your internet speeds," Bowers said. "So definitely there is a savings there."

There are free apps available that will help you test your internet download speed at home. You can also call your internet provider to ask them to run a test.

Experts also suggest making sure your router is running the most up-to-date firmware and setting a secure Wi-Fi password to ensure unauthorized users aren't adding stress to your connection.

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