Many of our services work best with broadband internet, which is generally defined as a download speed of 25 Mbps or greater. You can check your speed here, however don’t fret if it’s less than 25 Mbps; many essential tools will automatically adapt to a slower connection.

NOTE in response to COVID-19: If you do not currently have access to internet at home, be aware that many internet service providers have pledged to keep America connected. As such, existing customers will experience greater speeds and higher data caps, while low-income households can qualify for free or discounted internet during this time. Learn more about these offers via Consumer Reports.

If you’re experiencing slower than normal connection, try the following tips:

  • Moderate internet usage: Network capacity is shared by everyone connected. If you’re trying to connect with your class on Zoom while your roommate is streaming a movie and downloading the entire Adobe Creative Suite, it may slow down your connection. In addition, try removing other devices from the network such as gaming consoles, smart speakers, and phones, as they may transmitting data even if you’re not actively using them.
  • Close other programs on your computer: Many apps on your computer may be running in the background, using up part of your bandwidth and slowing you down. Close out any programs that you may not be using at the time. Check for other programs that might be running in the background, you can usually find these on the right side of your screen near the clock, on the bottom in Windows and on the top in Macs. Restarting your computer might also help.
  • Get closer to your router: Wi-Fi signals degrade with distance, and in older homes or apartments with thick plaster walls, signal might not even reach one room over. Try moving to the same room as your router for optimal speed. Ideally, your router should be centrally located in your home, and be elevated on a small table or shelf rather than the floor for maximum coverage. You can also try using wi-fi extenders to reach far corners of your home.
  • Try an ethernet cable:Wi-Fi is prone to interference, signal drops, and dead zones. Plugging an ethernet cable directly into your computer from your modem or router gives you a faster, more reliable connection.
  • Restart your modem and router: Many devices now have reset buttons right on them, however if one doesn’t exist on yours, simply unplug it for ten seconds, and plug it back in.
  • Check with your service provider: Your internet service provider can let you know if there are any outages in your area that may be impacting your connection. They can also assist troubleshooting the hardware you have at home.
  • Use a mobile hotspot: If all else fails, your wireless provider (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, etc.) may allow you to use your phone as a mobile hotspot, allowing you to connect your laptop to it for internet access.
  • Upgrade your service: If the other steps don’t improve your speed, it may be time to think about upgrading your service. Having many devices use your home internet (not only computers but connected phones, smart speakers, thermostats, TVs, streaming devices, etc.) can overwhelm your connection. It may be worth talking to your provider to see if they can upgrade your speed, sometimes at little or no additional cost. If you’re renting your modem and/or router from your provider, ask them if they will upgrade you to the latest model. If you own your own equipment and it’s more than four years old, you may want to consider upgrading it to take advantage of the fastest speeds.