Why is my Internet so slow?


“My Internet speed is very slow!” This is a common phrase that is used by many Internet subscribers in Nigeria today to express concern and dissatisfaction with their Internet service.

If statistics are right, about 70% of subscribers in Nigeria have a deplorable ‘web browsing’ experience and mostly feel short-changed by their Service Providers. While many of them have lost complete hope with the assumption that Internet browsing experience is put up to be slow in a developing country like ours, those with more financial means end up having about 2 to 3 Internet modems from different ISPs just to fulfill their expected experience. Some corporate organizations even go as far as providing its key staff a modem each!

When a potential subscriber goes to purchase data package from a service provider, one of his assumed most important question is; “is your Internet speed faster than my former ISP’s?” Unfortunately, this kind of question is self-destructive and will pose challenges in the provision of that quality Internet.

Instead of jumping ship or asking the wrong questions, here are a few tips to consider with Internet speed and eventually having a good web browsing experience

Internet Need

Most Internet subscribers feel that once they have purchase any Internet package, they have unlimited access to all the delightful things the Internet can offer. This is a very common wrong assumption. There are so many cases where corporate organizations purchase dongle type connection or the likes, which are generally designed for single and mobile users, to serve as Internet access for the entire office operation. To subscribe, one should first identify the need for the Internet access and discuss this need with an ISP so the provider can assist you choose your bandwidth plan.

Understand Your Bandwidth Plan (Internet is not yet cheap)

Because of the dearth of last-mile Internet infrastructure, Internet subscription in Nigeria is still one of the highest for a fast developing nation like ours. So you may think you are paying a lot, whereas, your Internet is slow because you are paying for slow Internet connection. Inasmuch as service providers may play ‘sales with words’, you need to understand that there is a BIG difference in; “speed up to 1Mb” and “1MB dedicated bandwidth.” If in doubt, check your bandwidth agreement plan for your subscription and then run an online speed test (there are so many free online speed test tools). If the numbers match up to what you are paying for, then your Internet is working just fine. You are definitely paying for slow Internet connection. An upgrade is the best way to speed it up.

Troubleshoot your LAN or Device

And just before you go running your ISP down, have you checked your router or Local Area Network? A quick reset on your router sometimes will do the trick. If there are multiple devices on your network and the Internet problem only happens on one device, the problem is that device, not your router or ISP. Sometimes your subscription may have been designed for just one personal computer, but you have added other mobile devices (phone, tablet, etc) all with background downloads. This will definitely make you experience a slow connection.

If it is the LAN, you may have to check the router configuration. Cheap routers are notorious for losing configuration information caused by power fluctuation. You might also have spyware/malware infecting your devices and secretly using your Internet bandwidth. What about that employee using social media or ‘skyping’ a friend or watching online movies during office hours with company resources?

ISP Coverage or WiFi Coverage

Because of the capital cost in building Internet infrastructure and guaranteeing full coverage, ISPs don’t necessarily have blanket coverage over areas that are deemed not viable. Just because a service provider is providing quality service at your office in Lekki does not mean you can get the same level of service at your home in Akute. You need to check coverage areas with your choice ISP.

What about that WiFi system installed at your premises that make your work area look very tidy with little or no cables showing? Your Internet and router may be fine but your WiFi signal is weak. You may need to relocate, boost the signal or tweak it. You need to also be aware that your microwave oven and radio devices can degrade your WiFi Internet signal.

Bandwidth Consuming Plugins and Apps

From monitoring reports, statistics have it that when a LAN is working in order and the Internet speed is cross-checked yet you have slow speed, there are most likely other programs hogging the connection and BitTorrents are usually the culprit. If you are downloading files or movies with BitTorrent, normal web browsing is going to be slower. In addition, most Windows PCs come with automatic update ON. When download occur in the background and we are unaware as it leeches on our bandwidth, we tend to complain about poor Internet service. Simply identify these applications and turn them OFF.

Confirm your DNS Server

DNS servers are used to resolve domain names with IP addresses, such that, computers can understand our web request. They are usually provided by the ISPs but there are also some public DNSs available. If your DNS setting is outdated or wrong, Internet traffic will be directed to the wrong addresses on your ISP network causing intermittent browsing performance.

There was a large firm that have had to change 3 good service providers due to slow or inconsistence Internet browsing experience without realizing that the firm’s DNS server was broken! It took the intervention of the 4th ISP and its troubleshooting experience to detect and solve the client’s local issues.


These are just some of the many possibilities why your Internet is slow. If you keep experiencing slow connections, speak to a reliable ISP who has got the experience, technical support and a good customer service, in your neighborhood.

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