Reviewed on 01/03/2024
Learn to troubleshoot your business internet connection in five easy steps. This is by no means an exhaustive guide in troubleshooting a business internet connection but a starting point. You should always engage with your ISP’s customer support agents if you require help or are unsure of the actions you are taking. WiLine will take no responsibility if you damage your equipment while trying some of the fixes suggested.
At the WiLine customer support center, some of the most common calls we receive are related with either outages, usually caused by loss of power at the switch or complaints of slow internet speeds . More often than not, these are related to only a handful of causes that can be addressed on the customer side and are often not network related. In this document you will find five of the most common issues that can cause your business internet to underpreform or feel sluggish. There are many reasons why an internet connetion could become slow, and you may find that your cause is different, in which case we would advise you to contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) for a more in-depth analysis of the issue.
When you start experiencing a drop in performance, your first port of call should be your internet router. If your router isn’t configured correctly, this can lead to performance problems. For example, if your Maximum Transmission Unit (MTU) is set too high or too low, it will lead to bandwidth performance problems. You should ensure that your router configurations are consistent with the recommendations from your ISP. If you are testing different configurations on your router, be sure to log your changes so you have a restore point to go back to if something goes wrong.
Here are some other ways a router can affect internet performance and potential solutions:
- MTU (Maximum Transmission Unit) Settings: As mentioned, incorrect MTU settings can cause speed issues. The MTU determines the size of packets sent over a network. If set too high, packets may be fragmented or dropped, and if too low, it can lead to inefficient data transmission.
- Solution: Adjust the MTU size according to the specifics of your network. For most connections, the standard MTU is 1500 bytes, but it might differ based on your ISP’s recommendations or specific network requirements.
- Firmware Outdated: Outdated router firmware can lead to security vulnerabilities and performance issues.
- Solution: Regularly check for and install firmware updates from the router’s manufacturer to ensure optimal performance and security.
- Bandwidth Throttling or Inefficient Bandwidth Management: Routers that don’t manage bandwidth efficiently can cause bottlenecks, especially in business environments where multiple devices are connected.
- Solution: Use Quality of Service (QoS) settings to prioritize bandwidth for critical applications or services. This ensures that high-priority traffic like VoIP calls or video conferencing is not interrupted by less critical traffic.
- Inadequate Router Capacity: In a business environment, a router that’s not designed for high traffic volumes can become a performance bottleneck.
- Solution: Upgrade to a business-grade router that can handle a higher number of simultaneous connections and has better processing capabilities.
- Poor Network Design or Router Placement: The physical placement of the router and the overall network design can affect performance, especially in terms of Wi-Fi signal strength.
- Solution: Place the router in a central location and consider the use of additional access points or mesh networks for larger areas. Ensure that the router is not obstructed by physical barriers that impede signal strength.
- Network Congestion: Heavy traffic can slow down a network, especially if the router or your contracted bandwidth are not suitable to handling peak loads.
- Solution: Analyze network traffic to identify peak usage times and potential sources of congestion. Consider implementing network segmentation or separate networks for guest and business traffic to distribute the load.
- Security Settings: Overly restrictive security settings or firewalls can inadvertently block or slow down legitimate traffic.
- Solution: Regularly review security settings to ensure they are optimized for both performance and security. Make sure firewall rules and security protocols align with your network’s usage patterns.
- Inadequate Cabling: The quality of Ethernet cables connecting the router to other network devices can impact performance.
- Solution: Use high-quality, category 6 (Cat6) or above cables for connections that require high bandwidth, such as linking to switches or main servers.
- Faulty Hardware: Hardware issues in the router itself can lead to performance degradation.
- Solution: Regularly monitor the router’s health, including temperature and logs, for signs of hardware failure. Have a replacement strategy for aging or faulty equipment.
By addressing these aspects, businesses can significantly improve their internet performance. Regular maintenance, updates, and audits of network infrastructure are key to ensuring optimal performance and reliability.
If you’re experiencing internet performance issues in a business setting and using wireless access, it’s advisable to first investigate your own Wi-Fi network, if one is in use, as Wi-Fi problems are a common cause of network underperformance.
The nature of Wi-Fi is such that it operates on an unlicensed frequency band, which means it’s accessible for anyone to set up a Wi-Fi network. This open accessibility can lead to crowded frequencies, especially in business environments where multiple Wi-Fi networks might be operating in close proximity. For instance, if your business or a neighboring business recently installed a new Wi-Fi router, it could be inadvertently causing signal interference. This interference forces computers and routers to resend data packets repeatedly, leading to network congestion and, in severe cases, service interruptions.
To mitigate this interference, you can try repositioning your Wi-Fi router to a more optimal location. Another effective strategy is to switch the Wi-Fi channel or band you’re using. Typically, the 5 GHz frequency band is less congested compared to the 2.4 GHz band, making it a better choice for avoiding interference and improving Wi-Fi performance. By adjusting these settings, you can often resolve common Wi-Fi-related issues and ensure a more stable and efficient internet connection for your business operations.
These can dramatically increase the bandwidth consumption of your network. Some of the applications you install on your computer run these background processes and these can have a significant impact on the performance of your network and even though you often don’t notice that these processes are running, it is always wise to audit background processes when troubleshooting a slow connection.
Check Your Equipment
Your WiLine connection is comprised of several pieces of equipment that are critical for the quality of the service you receive. Our state of the art antennas and roof installations can withstand a lot of bad weather conditions but with time they can become misaligned and the radio signal quality can decrease. This could be a cause of slow performance on your network, however there are other, more common causes, that can be linked to. Here are some likely places to look:
- – Your Main Switch or Router
- – Your Wi-Fi Router (if you’re using one)
- – Check all the cables in the system, especially those exposed to weather.
The best way to troubleshoot equipment faults is where possible, to replace and test different configurations until you isolate the culprit.
Malware can significantly impact bandwidth and connection speed for a business internet connection, here are some of the ways in which malware could hinder the productivity for your organization through decreased network performance:
- Increased Network Traffic: Many types of malware, such as spyware and adware, generate additional network traffic. This extra traffic consumes bandwidth as the malware communicates with external servers, either to send out stolen data or to receive further malicious instructions. This can slow down the overall network speed for legitimate business operations.
- Resource Hogging: Some malware strains are designed to use a significant amount of system resources, including network bandwidth. For example, a trojan could turn infected machines into part of a botnet, which then participates in large-scale activities like Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, further consuming bandwidth.
- Connection Interference: Certain malware can interfere with how a computer or network device connects to the internet. It may reroute traffic through malicious servers or create numerous bogus connections, which can slow down or disrupt legitimate internet use.
- Bandwidth Throttling by ISPs: In some cases, if an Internet Service Provider (ISP) detects a high volume of suspicious traffic coming from a business (indicative of malware activity), they might throttle the connection speed as a precautionary measure against potential threats. This action, while protective, can reduce available bandwidth for your business.
- Compromised Hardware: Malware can also physically damage network equipment, like routers or switches, by corrupting firmware or overloading the hardware. This could lead to reduced performance or complete failure of these devices, affecting both speed and reliability of the internet connection.
- Disruption of Quality of Service (QoS): In a managed network environment, malware can disrupt the settings that prioritize critical business traffic (QoS settings). This can result in important services not getting the bandwidth they require, leading to performance issues.
To mitigate these risks, businesses should employ robust cybersecurity measures, including firewalls, anti-malware software, regular system updates, and employee training on security best practices. Regular network monitoring can also help in early detection and removal of malware to minimize its impact on bandwidth and connection speed.