Sometimes it seems as though everywhere you look some Internet service provider is advertising lightning-fast broadband. Internet providers offer speeds in the double digits and charge accordingly. Why, then, is your broadband so slow? If your Internet speed isn’t keeping up with the hype, there are some things you can do to make it faster.

Use a Hard-Wired Connection

Wireless connections are convenient, but you pay for that convenience with a loss of speed. If you have a choice, always connect to your modem or router using an Ethernet cord. Your connection will also be more secure.

Don’t Split Your Signal

Every device you have connected to the Internet divides your speed. This is true even if some of the devices belong to your neighbors because you didn’t secure your router with a good, hard-to-crack password, so make sure your wireless connection is secured. Then take a quick mental tour of all the wireless devices you have. Don’t forget smartphones, video game systems, eReaders, televisions and tablets as well as any laptops or PCs you routinely leave on and connected.

Beware of Invisible Barriers

Your wireless router is basically a low-powered radio transmitter and the wireless adapter in your device is just a receiver. Radio signals are highly susceptible to interference from electromagnetic fields (EMFs). When your wireless signal is constantly being interrupted and reconnected, the effect is a browser that seems to crawl at a snail’s pace. Virtually anything that runs on electricity can interfere with your router’s efforts to send a signal to your wireless device. However, some of the biggest culprits are electronics, ceiling fans, space heaters and cordless phones. Keep electrical items three feet away from your router. Do the same for your laptop or other wireless device.

EMFs aren’t the only barriers that can block your wireless signal. If you’ve ever tried to listen to an AM/FM radio from within a metal building, you know that metal blocks radio signals. In some areas, it’s common for builders to embed metal mesh within the plaster of interior walls. The result is an obstacle course your wireless signal may not be able to overcome. You can add a signal booster, but in some cases, your wireless signal will never be adequate. If that is the case, try running Ethernet cables directly from your modem or router to your wireless device.

With a little tinkering, you can make sure you are getting the most from your broadband connection. If these steps don’t work, try troubleshooting your PC or laptop in safe mode to make sure the problem isn’t in the device itself.