7 Ways To Speed Up Your Internet Connection

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You’ve decided to take the fastest plan offered by your internet service provider. The latest episode of your favorite show has just dropped on Netflix and the smell of popcorn is still fresh in the air. Yet, you sit there watching the dreaded buffering spinner…We have all been here and can probably relate to how frustrating this can be. Assuming your internet provider is providing you what they promised, we have compiled the below tips and tricks that you can try to get your link to its maximum potential!

1. Change Your DNS Provider

DNS or domain name system is the internet’s phone book, our devices use DNS servers to translate human-readable address to computer-readable IP addresses. Which DNS server you use will impact both your speeds and even your browsing security. Internet service providers in Kenya sometimes configure their own DNS servers to collect information on service usage, luckily we can change this.

dns

We recommend using Googles DNS servers (Primary: 8.8.8.8, Secondary: 8.8.4.4), given the reliability and scale of Google we have found their servers providing the fastest response and reliability in Kenya, please follow this tutorial to configure your device specific DNS.

To learn more about DNS watch this video

2. Restart You Router

If you have ever worked in tech support you know the magic of restarting the device can perform. The way the router works can sometimes lead to caches filling up or errors affecting the performance of your wireless home network. A reboot can be surprisingly effective. We recommend restarting your equipment at least once a week.

 

 

 

 

3. Move Closer to Your Router

Distance to your Wifi router can significantly impact the speeds and performance of your devices internet connection. The signal radiated by the routers is affected differently by different materials. So there is no hard and fast rule on the distance I can give you but use the number of bars on your devices wifi icon as a guide. Less than full bars means the connection’s max limit has been reduced significantly, for most uses other than HD video conferencing or online gaming, 3 of 4 bars is sufficient.

4. Clear Your Browser Cache

To try to speed up your browsing experience browsers keep a temporary copy of downloaded images and resources from websites your visit, it will use these from “cache” instead of redownloading the content when you revisit the website. Made to help speed up your experience, sometimes these caches can become so big that they do the exact opposite and need to be manually cleared. The process to do this varies from browser to browser, below is applicable to the chrome browser:

  • Click the three dots menu at the top right corner of Chrome
  • Select “settings” from the drop-down menu
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page and click “advanced”
  • Click “clear browsing data”
  • A pop-up window will open with four options that are safe to clear: “browsing history,” “download history,” “cookies and other site data” and “cached images and files.” All are selected by default.
  • Click “Clear Data”
5. Use Ethernet

Wifi is a great convenience but due to obstacles or background noise (other wifi devices talking), it is a lot less efficient than ethernet. If your internet connection is fast yet your smart tv seems to buffer or you are having a large amount of lag while gaming, we recommend trying to connect the device to the router directly over ethernet.

wireless radios on mast

Internet Using Fixed Wireless vs Fiber: Whats the difference?

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Over the last few years, there is been a climbing demand for fixed internet access. There are more and more homes and businesses are coming online in Kenya every day. To meet be able to meet this growing demand, many internet companies are offering a variety of connectivity solutions. Two major options you may have heard of are Fiber or Fixed Wireless broadband. If you don’t fully understand the difference between them and which to choose, you aren’t alone! We hope this article will help you understand the difference and make a more informed choice to the tech that best fits your needs.

Let’s first understand what each of these technologies are, and how they work:

Fixed wireless: With this setup, the internet service provider will install a receiver/subscriber somewhere on your property. The receiver connects wirelessly to the internet providers’ tower to one of multiple access points or AP’s that bridge to the wider internet. Wireless connections are usually in the microwave 5Ghz spectrum and are capable of over 1Gbps given the right equipment.

 

Fiber: The medium used for transmission of information in this solution are fiber optic cables. They work by encoding information into bursts of lights and sending them over the optical fibers. These fibers may come to your premises either overhead, usually on wooden poles, or through underground trenches. They are then connected to a router to provide access over WiFi. Fiber is able to deliver incredible max speeds of over 10Gbps at literally the speed of light!

What’s right for me?

As technology moves forward we have certain facts that get overturned. If you had asked the question, fiber or wireless, 3-5 years ago. The resounding answer would be easy; fiber, without a doubt! We have come a long way since then and the lines between the advantages of fiber over fixed wireless are becoming blurred. Let’s breakdown each technology by 3 main criteria: Cost, Speeds, Latency & Reliability.

Cost

The cost of laying fiber is significantly higher per KM of coverage than fixed wireless. If you aren’t lucky enough to live in a populated area. Chances are you don’t have fiber available and pulling fiber can be an expensive process. As wireless radios today are capable of covering up to 20KM with a single AP, getting coverage in areas that don’t already have fiber cables nearby can be a lot easier on your pocket.

Speed

Optical fibers are able to deliver a much higher maximum throughput achieving up to 10Gbps without much difficulty. While wireless tends to max out around the 1Gbps mark for most systems. Now the speeds I am talking about here are the total capacity that is possible. The average consumer generally use between 10-100Mbps. Both technologies are easily able to deliver speeds to the average consumer.

Latency

Latency means the time taken between requesting a resource, like a website and the response starting to download. It is an important factor to consider if you plan to do large amounts of voice calling or gaming. In this case, fiber is the theoretical winner. You can expect fiber to have 2-3 ms of latency vs 3-4 ms in a wireless link. The difference is negligible to most users but those with the aforementioned requirements.

Reliability

Due to being physically placed in public areas fiber is extremely prone to being cut. In metro areas of Kenya, where the fiber cables are hung from electric poles or laid underground along roadsides. We tend to see a lot of cuts due to upgrades and works. Wireless, on the other hand, is placed at private properties with power backups and close by technicians. The drawback is they are prone to interference especially In crowded metro areas, this can affect service reliability.

To summarize, fiber and wireless internet access in today’s market are becoming indistinguishable. We recommend fiber in crowded metro areas while wireless access is perfect for suburbs and surrounding areas.