Working with slow Broadband

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12 Slow Broadband Tips

Unfortunately there is often no magic cure for slow broadband, but there are a few tips that may help.

Let us know if you have some more via our Feedback Form.

Your ISP has to provide Internet to (and sometimes including) your router, but no further than that.  It is up to you to ensure connectivity between the router and your devices.  

WiFi can be a struggle to get from one side of the house to another.  If possible, locating the router centrally may help.

You can measure your Wifi signal strength with a free app on your phone or tablet.  Eg WiFiman by Ubiquiti Inc.  Generally a measurement between 0 and -60dBm is excellent.  Between -60dBm and -80dBm is OK.  Your mileage will vary…  (Note that some phones cover only the 2.4GHz WiFi band)

If possible, check using an Ethernet cable to see whether the issue was with WiFi.

Schedule some ‘me time’ for your PC, consider manually updating Windows at a time convenient to you. Details here.

Windows provides an option to pause updates.  Details here.

Major refreshes to Windows 10 come about every six months.  They typically are 2 or 3 GB to download.  This may take a few weeks to download if your PC is normally left off. 

You will probably notice the internet is slow if anyone in the household is receiving updates.

Installing an advertising blocker extension in your device browser can save a significant amount of your time and let web pages load quicker.   “uBlock Origin” is a popular free extension for the web browsers Firefox and Chrome. 

Here’s how to install it in Chrome.

Alternatively, use a web browser with a built-in ad blocker (eg Brave).

A few websites resist Ad blockers, but you can easily enable Ads for specific websites.

Different browsers handle poor networks differently. Eg Chrome and Brave use techniques that help it work better on some types of poor internet connections. (With other browsers you can often manually enable these features too eg HTTP/3, QUIC.)

Try using different web browsers side by side, you may be surprised at the results.

Brave also has a built-in ad blocker.

You can check your monthly usage and set limits.

You can also check the instantaneous usage. Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + Esc. Click “More Details” at the bottom of the simple view window (if required)

From the Processes tab you can determine which apps are using the most internet. The Performance tab can show a graph of actual usage.

Watching Youtube and Netflix on a more modern/powerful device may give you a better picture quality for less bandwidth. The efficiency of sending video has improved over the last few years. The latest methods are around 50% more efficient than those that you may still be using.


YouTube are starting to support more efficient ways of sending video with the new AV1 codec. It can be enabled here .

The Netflix Apps (Windows 10, Android, iOS apps) have the ability to download shows. You can do this overnight to avoid taxing  your internet at peak usage times.

The Netflix settings allow you to restrict picture quality (and bandwidth)

Chromecast does not support the latest and most efficient methods of receiving video.  (You may be better off using a PC and a HDMI cable)

Spark mobile and broadband plans include 1GB free WiFi per day from phone boxes.  Details here.

Peak internet usage is typically around 9pm.  Congestion may slow your broadband down

If you are a long distance from the exchange (or cabinet) then a Master Filter may help.  Chorus may install one for free if they are already onsite. Talk to your provider.

Where the Master Filter is installed in your house is important because it affects router location and therefore WiFi coverage.

Details on why you want a Master Filter here.

The Commerce Commission launched the SamKnows Measuring Broadband New Zealand programme to provide consumers with independent information on broadband performance across different technologies, providers and plans.

Why get one?   Provide independent performance stats of your internet connection for:

  • yourself
  • your ISP
  • TDR (Telecoms Dispute Resolution)
  • the govt on rural broadband performance

“Volunteers have access to their own personal broadband performance information in real time through a personalised online performance dashboard. This information can help diagnose problems and improve home broadband performance. 

Volunteers will also be able to bask in the glory of knowing they are helping make the internet better for all Kiwis.”

Sign up here. 

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