Increasing the speed of your home internet connection

Last updated: December 12, 2022

Your home internet connection may experience performance degradation under circumstances that place extra load on the connection. You may be familiar with the term “last mile,” which generally refers to the broadband customer at home. The impaired performance of this last mile does not involve or directly impact UW infrastructure, and cannot be mitigated by the UW.

Here are some tips for individuals at home to attempt that may improve performance:

Activities that affect your home internet speed

  • Having many devices connected to your home internet at the same time. Every connected device in your home uses some of the bandwidth.
  • Multiple activities that use a lot of bandwidth at the same time, like streaming, gaming, videoconferencing and downloading large files
  • Connecting via Wi-Fi. A wired connection tends to be faster.
  • Interference from other Wi-Fi networks.
  • Too many people connecting to a website or app at once.
  • The amount of VPN traffic you send can increase consumption of your local bandwidth. Typically, only your UW connections require the VPN. If you are using Husky On Net via the Big IP Edge Client, you can control this via the client application by selecting “Change Server” in the lower left corner, and selecting “UW Campus Traffic Only.”

Ways to potentially increase internet speed:

  • Offload applications to other devices (e.g., Zoom and Slack apps). This is also advisable in case a connection is lost.
  • Turn off video when using conference apps.
  • Restart your router now and then. The router, sometimes called the gateway, is the device that takes the “feed” from your home internet service and disseminates it for use by your connected computers and devices. You may find a reset button on the router, but unplugging it for 5-10 seconds is recommended to ensure that the router’s cache clears.
  • Keep your router and your devices away from obstructions (like metal) and common sources of interference (e.g., baby monitors and microwaves).
  • Move Wi-Fi devices closer to your router. The farther away they are, the weaker the signal and the slower the speed.
  • Place your Wi-Fi router in a central location in your home or office. Keeping it upright and off the floor improves coverage.
  • Install a Mesh System in your home, which uses multiple connected pieces of hardware to extend the range and signal strength of Wi-Fi in your home.
  • Only use Wi-Fi with devices that don’t have wired connection ports, such as smartphones and tablets.
  • Add a Wi-Fi extender to improve coverage and signal strength if needed.
  • Upgrade your broadband plan with your internet service provider.

Hardware tips:

  • Turn off internet-connected devices when you aren’t using them.
  • Clear your browser cache and cookies.
  • Restart devices regularly.
  • Upgrade older Wi-Fi devices to ones with newer, faster Wi-Fi technology.

Software tips:

  • UW Zoom:
    • Using Zoom videoconferencing with Remote Desktop Connection and VPNs like Husky OnNet together can decrease the performance of your home internet connection. Only use a VPN when it is necessary to access files on the UW network. Applications like Zoom can be run from your home computer without using a VPN.
    • If you experience poor audio quality using UW Zoom, you can use the phone numbers provided by the meeting host to access audio via telephone rather than your computer to decrease your bandwidth usage.
  • You an access your UW email via the Outlook Web App instead of using Remote Desktop Connection to access your work computer.
  • Schedule auto-updates for your devices for a time that does not conflict with business hours.
  • Update anti-virus software, drivers, firmware, and computer and device software.
  • Exit streaming apps after watching videos or listening to music.

Resources for working remotely: