Broadband a little slow? Try re-starting your modem/router

Broadband a little sluggish today? If so then try turning off your modem/router (the box that connects to the phone line) and restart it. It will take 5-10 minutes to come back fully online so go and make a cup of tea whilst you’re waiting.

There are various causes for your internet broadband speed suddenly dropping. Some accidental and some intentional. By ‘power cycling’ your router you break the connection to the broadband provider and a new link is established. If there was a technical problem in the path from you to the internet there is a good chance that this issue may be resolved by the new connection.

What is not so obvious is that doing this can not only change your ‘path’ to the internet through the various pieces of hardware that exist outside your home but it will almost always result in your home (or office) receiving a new IP address. This address is how the internet recognises you. (Exception to this is if you pay for a static IP address, this is a service that fixes your IP and is usually used in shops and businesses for point of sale transactions).

The reason that this is important is that many broadband providers will ‘restrict’ your throughput if you have made excessive use of your broadband, even if you are paying for unlimited data. This is termed by them as ‘fair usage’.

This means that if you watch a lot of films, do lots of updates, play hours of online games etc;, if your broadband provider thinks you’re using ‘above the norm’ they will penalise you by cutting back your access. The way they do this is by monitoring and restricting the IP address. Therefore if you turn off your modem/router as indicated above, you will get around this as you will receive a new unrestricted IP address.

As an example, by the very nature of my job I use a lot of data, mainly through doing Windows update for customers. I generally get around 6Mbps on my broadband but if I have had a lot of systems in I often find that my broadband has been pegged back to under 2Mbps. A simple ‘power cycle’ of the router brings it back to 6Mbps.

This practice is especially prevalent in areas without super fast broadband (such as here in rural Lincolnshire).

If you want to try this out in practice check your speed using http://www.speedtest.net Note your speed and your current IP address, power cycle the router and then try it again (you may need to re-start your PC).

I am not exaggerating when I say that about 75% of broadband calls I receive are fixed by re-starting the modem/router for speed or access problems. Not sure why but many people seem nervous about trying a re-start.

About taffybach

Author of the young adult fantasy novel series, The Portal Chronicles, including The Spider Gem and The Shimmering Gate. When not writing and promoting Taff runs a small IT support company, LITES PC based in Bourne UK.
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