Slow WiFi connection is not an uncommon problem on laptop computers. In most cases, the problem lies with your Internet service provider.
Sometimes it can be caused by technical glitches with your device or router. While the former is something you can’t exactly fix, the latter involves issues that you can solve yourself.
Here, we offer some of the common practices and workarounds to help you fix slow WiFi on your laptop.
Why is my internet so slow only on my laptop? Your laptop’s WiFi speed is slow because it’s too far from the router. Usually, walls, big objects, and other things that use radio frequencies can mess with WiFi. If that doesn’t solve the problem, update your driver software and reset router configuration to factory default.
To learn how to do that, keep on reading.
How can I fix the slow WiFi speed on my laptop?
- Place your laptop near the router
- Shut down programs or devices that consume large bandwidth
- Restart your device and router
- Update driver software
- Make sure no energy saving settings are imposed on the wireless card
- Reset router configuration to factory default
- Check if your devices are connected to the same band
- Start thinking about investing in a new WiFi card
Place your laptop near the router
You might not have noticed that your laptop has gone far beyond the reach of your WiFi network. In this case, you only have to move your device closer to the router.
Also, make sure that there is no barrier between your PC and the router such as a wall. Obstacles like that significantly reduce WiFi signals.
For instance, your connection may greatly diminish if you are browsing upstairs while your router is located downstairs.
Solving the problem requires that you move to a place where there is an unimpeded line of sight with your router.
Shut down programs or devices that consume large bandwidth
If the first recommendation does not work, try to look for programs and/or devices that use up large bandwidth.
These bandwidth hogs naturally cause the WiFi connection to go slow on your laptop, especially if someone else in your network is watching movies or downloading large media.
Some applications can also take up a lot of bandwidth, including Dropbox and other cloud services that work in the background.
That is why you might not notice them sometimes, and you are left wondering about what causes your slow WiFi.
Restart your device and router
If, after seeing to it that there’s no issue with your ISP or that no bandwidth hog is consuming your bandwidth, you still haven’t fixed your slow WiFi, try to reboot your laptop and router.
We highly recommend that you troubleshoot on the device that you are using. It usually solves the connection problem.
Rebooting your device in effect resets the WiFi, and hopefully solves the issue. Processes that clog up your laptop can sometimes cause slow WiFi connection.
Programs that run either in the background or foreground can affect WiFi performance sometimes.
In the case of the router, turn it off for at least 30 seconds and switch it back on. This popular fix works in many cases.
Update driver software
Some Windows users may experience slow WiFi on Windows 7 but not on Windows 8/8.1 or Windows 10. A driver problem could be causing this issue.
To help you solve this, download and install the latest Windows updates. Look for your network adapter in the Device Manager, right click the appropriate adapter and click Update driver software.
If the problem persists even if you have the latest driver software, uninstall the driver and reinstall it back again.
Make sure no energy saving settings are imposed on the wireless card
It might have slipped your attention, but you might have accidentally enforced the energy saving option on the wireless card.
You can check this by clicking the battery icon in the lower-right corner of the task bar.
Make sure your laptop did not enforce a Balanced or Power saver mode on your wireless card. This mode greatly affects your WiFi performance.
Reset router configuration to factory default
You can reset your router settings to factory default by following your manual, which varies from one device to another. It is not a bad idea to do so.
Check if your devices are connected to the same band
Depending on your router, there are different ways you can connect to your wireless network. Sometimes you can have a 2.4 GHz band and a 5 GHz band.
The 2.4 one is slower but it has a bigger range, while the 5 GHz one has limited range but much faster speeds.
If your laptop is connected to 2.4 GHz band and your other devices are connected to 5 GHz, you will notice a pretty big difference in speed.
Try to connect you laptop to the same band as your other devices and see if that changes things.
Start thinking about investing in a new WiFi card
In this day and age, laptops are too expensive or too cheap. If you’re lucky enough and you have a pretty well-made device, your laptop has a good wireless network adapter.
In the case that you have WiFi problems on multiple networks, the issue can be with your wireless card. Sometimes, manufacturers cut corners to save a dime or two, and use a less powerful WiFi adapter.
If you have the means, think about buying a new, more powerful and stable wireless network adapter to solve all your problems.
These simple steps for fixing slow WiFi on laptop serve as first-aid to your connection problems. If there are other methods you know, drop us a comment below.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2017 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.