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The Main Problems You’ll See When Internet Speeds Are Too Slow and How to Fix Them

Let me make an obvious guess; you’re reading this online. On average, every American spends 23.6hrs per week online. Though our current dependence on the internet is not in doubt, one factor that determines how much time we spend there is internet connection speed.

Internet speeds vary a lot across different locations. This is especially true if your work is nomadic in nature. One morning, you could be working from the comfort of your office with a fast and stable connection, and the next morning you find yourself waiting with bated breath to upload a 5MB file from the middle of nowhere.

The U.S. currently ranks at No.20 regarding global internet speeds, and broadband internet penetration stands at 83.5%. This means there’s still an approximately 20% chance that you could find yourself in an isolated location with poor cell phone reception, and no broadband connectivity.

Source: Statista

In this post, we’ll be focusing on the common problems you are likely to face with a slow internet connection and the remedial measures you can take to make the experience more bearable.

Buffering Videos

This is probably the most common one. You come across an interesting video link, but on clicking it, all you get is an oscillating icon on your video player. It can get so infuriating, at times you want to punch the screen or smash your phone against the wall, which obviously would lead to more regrets and pain. So, what do you do?

If you’re watching the video on YouTube, you may be in luck. YouTube will detect when your connection is slow and automatically lower the video resolution to accommodate your link speed. This normally results in a more pixelated video, but it’s better than the buffering.

Other video hosting platforms may not have this feature though. In that case, you may have to pause the video and let it load while you do other activities and then resume play later.

Slow Downloads

This is another type of pain you’re likely to encounter with a slow internet connection. You click on “download,” and the file starts trickling down as if it’s coming from Mars. A 50MB file that you would normally retrieve in seconds shows an ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) of 3 hours.

Try installing a download accelerator. This works by opening up more download ports on the file server to speed up your download. Also check if you have other bandwidth-hungry applications like antivirus updates, windows updates, and bit torrents running in the background and shut them off.

Web Page Takes Forever to Load

On average, a web page takes a maximum of 10 seconds to load. That is widely considered to be within acceptable standards. Trouble begins when you have to wait for over 30 seconds for a single web page to fully load.

Unfortunately, the remedy for this is not instantaneous; it’s more of a continuous process. Your browser actually keeps a record of the websites that you frequent, and keeps “static” copies of them in your computer’s memory. This reserved memory is called the cache. It often takes the blame when your computer slows down, but it’s actually meant to rescue you in this kind of situation.

If the website you’re accessing is not new, the chances are that a template of the web page is already stored in the cache and therefore, all you need to retrieve is the updated sections. This speeds up the loading time.

Incoherent Video Conference Calls

Have you ever tried to hold a video conference with someone when their connection is weak? You say “hello,” and it takes a couple of seconds before you get a response. Alternatively, you ask a question, and instead of receiving an answer, you get a different question from the other person, ending up in a very awkward conversation. This happens mainly because of latency problems. This is the time it takes for data to travel from source to destination and back. For slow connections, this can be in the neighborhood of 300 – 1000ms. Good latency levels fall below 100ms.

If you are having a video conference, you can try and remedy this by dropping the video and limiting your conversation to audio which takes up less bandwidth. Satellite connections tend to suffer more from latency-related problems. If that is what you’re using, you should consider shifting to cellular and broadband connections for better video conferencing experiences.

Attachments Take Too Long To Upload

This can be another painstakingly long process if you have a slow internet connection. Most ISPs actually allocate much less bandwidth for uploads as compared to downloads, which can even make things worse.

If you’re uploading images, a good idea would be to resize them to smaller files and in a format like JPEG that supports lossless compression. Archiving software like WinZip or WinRar can also help to reduce the file sizes and lead to a faster uploading process.


Emily Jacobs is Happiness Ambassador for She loves to write latest technology trends and love to share her knowledge through her articles.

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