This article does not have to start off listing of the ways you need internet, you just do. The internet is an ever present facet of modern life, whether at work or at home, you need it. This is especially true for expats who have a strong need for the communication, information, and entertainment the internet can provide. First, lets see what we have for:
Slow Wifi Connections
Test your Connection Speed
You can test your internet connection speed using various websites and tools, like speedtest.net, speakeasy.net, or AT&T’s speedtest. Japanese ISP will often ask you to test using the BNR Speed test, but it is a Japanese language only tool. But what do the results mean?
- 0.5-2 Mbps: This is functional, but not for much more than standard chat and mail services.
- 4-5 Mbps: This is sufficient for all websites, and even allows for basic video streaming.
- 20+ Mbps: This is sufficient for all websites, and barely allows for HD video streaming.
- 50+ Mbps: This is enough for anything (and EXTREMELY rare, no matter what the advertisement said!).
Your specific results should fall in one of the middle two speed zones, and the majority will fall between 5-10Mbps, in our experience. While this is rarely the advertised speed you will find that all the internet companies advertise the “peak” speed, which is the speed their service achieved once, under ideal conditions, basically next door to their switch. In other words, the advertised speed is very unlikely to be your reality.
If your speed is an issue, you may want to spend some time diagnosing your connection.
“Have you tried turning it off and turning it back on again?”
Yes, I know it is cliche, but if there is a problem reboot everything, immediately. Reboot the computer, and especially the wifi router. This is best accomplished by simply unplugging it for at least 30 seconds before plugging it back in. If the issue persists…
Isolate the Network Problem
Is your wifi slow, or your internet connection slow? To test this, run the speed test again, only this time make sure your wifi connection is turned off, and your computer is accessing the internet via network cable directly from the modem.
Assuming you have confirmed lightning fast speed from the direct connection, we will continue.
Is it a Computer Problem?
- Try connecting with a different computer or device. If you can, chances are good the problem is your computer.
- Try these troubleshooting steps for the wireless card of your computer.
Move the Router, Computer, or Both
The placement of your router or computer is not really up to you, if reception is important. You must place both devices strategically to ensure your internet is speedy! Some points to note:
- Routers give the best coverage when placed centrally on an upper floor, or on top of tall furniture, as radio waves are strongest side to side and down, not up.
- Reception will improve if the signal does not travel at steep angles or through thick walls, mirrors, aquariums, or anything metal.
- Place wireless routers as far as possible from other radio devices, like cordless phones, microwave ovens, baby monitors, etc. These types of items will cause interference. You could try simply turning off such radio devices to see if they are the problem.
Here are some additional resources for determining the best place for your router:
- www.pcmag.com/10 Ways to Boost Your Wireless Signal
If the issue persists…
Interference – Change the Channel
If you live in a high density population area, like most of Japan, your neighbor’s wireless networks are crowding the airwaves around you and may negatively effect your router’s performance; especially if they are using the same default channel. There is no one way to change a router’s channel, each manufacture is different. Here is a basic guide, but you should see the router manufacturer’s instructions for your particular device.
If you are still not getting the speed you should be, try:
- installing any firmware updates available for your router.