Why is my internet slow?

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There’s plenty of reasons why your internet could be slow. There could be high internet traffic in your area, you could have devices soaking up your bandwidth, or you could have a plan too slow for your needs. On top of this, your modem or router might be faulty or there could be problems with your internet provider in your area. Whatever is the issue, we’re here to help with some easy advice.

With more Australians than ever before now working from home, streaming, video calling and gaming, there’s a lot to be said for having a fast internet speed. But as usage increases, Australia’s internet is bound to become strained, meaning speeds could be slower than usual. There’s a lot of factors at play causing this speed distortion, but we’re here to guide you through why your internet might be under-performing.

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Why is my internet slow?

There’s several reasons why it could be slow or congested. There could be damage, there could be too much network noise causing lag, there could be too much bandwidth being used in your house, or the node or junction box you’re connected to through the NBN might be experiencing high traffic. Your internet plan might also be too slow for what you’re trying to do with it, which is an easy fix.

It might be worth doing an internet speed test, just to check if you’re getting the speed you’re paying for.

Is my internet damaged?

If your line is damaged, you might be able to organise for a technician to visit your property through your Internet Service Provider and fix the issue. Damaged lines are typically characterised by constant drop outs, or inconsistent quality of connection.

What is bandwidth?

Bandwidth is how internet usage is measured through how much data is transferred, transmitted or received at any given time. In the case of the NBN, this can be applied to both households and NBN junctions, through Fibre to the Node and Fibre to the Curb connections. Bandwidth tension might be caused when too much network traffic is applied to these connections, causing slower internet speeds for all devices connected.

Woman wondering why her internet is slow

Devices also have bandwidth limits – for example, a modem might have a maximum bandwidth of 600Mbps – which means that any excess data downloads surpassing this limit would cause bandwidth lag. Your WiFi could also be having signal problems – there might be traffic issues because of too many connected devices around, or you could simply have poor coverage in your home.

But in most cases, this shouldn’t be the issue. Because NBN tiers are limited to the overall speed of the connection (for example, the max download speed on Standard Plus NBN 50 is 50Mbps), you’ll find your speed is actually tied to NBN plan you’re signed up for.

Bandwidth lag in the neighbourhood

If you’re connected to the NBN through Fibre to the Curb (FTTC), Fibre to the Node (FTTN), Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) or by Fibre to the Building (FTTB) you’ll also be experiencing lag depending on the other people in your area that are using that same connection type. Because you’re all sharing the same fibre optic line to deliver the NBN, you’re all essentially fighting over that high speed that the NBN provides.

As an added layer of complexity, the further away from the shared junction box that you are, the slower your connection will be. That’s because the copper wiring or HFC cabling used to complete the journey between the box and your property cuts down on broadband quality the further it travels.

If you’re on a Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) connection, you shouldn’t be experiencing any lag because of other households. See below to see how your connection might be laggy within the home.

This type of internet lag isn’t particularly an easy fix, and it could be quite pricey. One thing being offered to fix this is the NBN Technology Choice Program, which allows for customers to pay for their connection to be changed to FTTP, but be warned – it doesn’t come cheap.

Bandwidth lag in the home

If there’s too much bandwidth lag going on in your home, it might be worth considering getting either a faster NBN plan, or considering alternatives to the NBN itself. If you’re working from home, and you’ve got family members playing video games, video calling or watching Netflix, there’s a strong chance you’ll notice the lag on lower-end NBN plans.

man googling why my internet is so slow

You may have noticed slower speeds thanks to the influx of people working and studying from home. Social media websites have announced initiatives to combat demand by lowering the quality of some of their services, which definitely improves the speeds.

You could try changing your bandwidth channel, in case other networks in the neighbourhood are overlapping with yours and causing slower speeds – this is done through your modem’s settings, which you should be able to access through your modem’s portal. If in doubt, give your ISP a ring.

Is my internet plan too slow?

When internet usage is through the roof, you might be dissatisfied with the speeds provided by your current internet plan. NBN plans are divided up by the speeds they provide, with Standard Plus NBN 50 plans and Premium NBN 100 plans ideal for high-definition streaming, online gaming and lots of video-calling. But in contrast, Basic NBN 12 and Standard NBN 25 are more intended for common use, like basic browsing, social media use and instant messaging.

Unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Unlimited Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Unlimited Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Unlimited Basic Evening Speed (NBN 12) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Basic Evening Speed (NBN 12) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

NBN alternatives

If you’re already on a fast NBN plan but still underwhelmed by speeds, you may need to switch up the type of internet you’re using. It might be worth considering mobile broadband or even home wireless broadband alternatives, just so you can get work done. You could even try using your phone’s data through a mobile hotspot. If you’re interested in mobile broadband, a selection of plans are available in the table below.

Mobile Broadband Plans Compared: Over 100GB

The following table shows a selection of published mobile broadband plans with over 100GB of data on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Telstra Logo

Large

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • Free 5G access until June 2020

min. cost $75 over one month

200GBMax Data**/billing period $75Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Ovo Logo

OVOBoom XL

  • Unlimited sport and radio on OVOPlay
  • BYO modem option

min. cost $79.95 over 30 day billing period

250GBMax Data**/billing period $79.95Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Amaysim Logo

SIM Only 240GB

  • SIM Only

min. cost $60 over 28 day billing period

240GBMax Data**/billing period $80Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Mobile Broadband Plans Compared: 100GB

The following table shows a selection of published 100GB mobile broadband plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Vodafone Logo

100GB Mobile Broadband Plan

  • SIM Only plan

min. cost $720 over 12 months

100GBMax Data**/billing period $60Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Ovo Logo

OVOBoom Large

  • Unlimited sport and radio on OVOPlay
  • BYO modem option

min. cost $64.95 over 30 day billing period

100GBMax Data**/billing period $64.95Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Southern Phones Logo

Large

  • SIM Only

min. cost $780 over 12 month plan period

100GBMax Data**/billing period $65Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Mobile Broadband Plans Compared: Over 50GB

The following table shows a selection of published mobile broadband plans with 50GB – 100GB of data on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Amaysim Logo

SIM Only 50GB

  • SIM Only

min. cost $25 over 28 day billing period

50GBMax Data**/billing period $25Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Southern Phones Logo

Medium

  • SIM Only

min. cost $480 over 12 month plan period

50GBMax Data**/billing period $40Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Amaysim Logo

SIM Only 90GB

  • SIM Only

min. cost $45 over 28 day billing period

90GBMax Data**/billing period $45Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Vodafone Logo

60GB Mobile Broadband Plan

  • SIM Only plan

min. cost $540 over 12 months

60GBMax Data**/billing period $45Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Ovo Logo

OVOBoom Small

  • Unlimited sport and radio on OVOPlay
  • BYO modem option

min. cost $49.95 over 30 day billing period

50GBMax Data**/billing period $49.95Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Medium

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • Free 5G access until June 2020

min. cost $50 over one month

60GBMax Data**/billing period $50Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Mobile Broadband Plans Compared: Under 50GB

The following table shows a selection of published mobile broadband plans with less than 50GB of data on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Amaysim Logo

SIM Only 7GB

  • SIM Only

min. cost $15 over 28 day billing period

7GBMax Data**/billing period $15Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Southern Phones Logo

Extra Small

  • SIM Only

min. cost $180 over 12 month plan period

7GBMax Data**/billing period $15Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Extra Small

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • Free 5G access until June 2020

min. cost $15 over one month

5GBMax Data**/billing period $15Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Vodafone Logo

5GB Mobile Broadband Plan

  • SIM Only plan

min. cost $180 over 12 months

5GBMax Data**/billing period $15Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Southern Phones Logo

Small

  • SIM Only

min. cost $300 over 12 month plan period

15GBMax Data**/billing period $25Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Small

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • Free 5G access until June 2020

min. cost $25 over one month

20GBMax Data**/billing period $25Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Vodafone Logo

25GB Mobile Broadband Plan

  • SIM Only plan

min. cost $360 over 12 months

25GBMax Data**/billing period $30Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Home wireless broadband might be more your thing if you’re heavier on your downloads. Plans typically include more data than mobile broadband, and are designed to be a replacement to fixed-line internet.

Southern Phone Wireless Broadband Plans

The following table shows a selection of published Southern Phone wireless broadband plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Southern Phones Logo

Home Wireless 50

  • Includes WiFi modem
  • Optus 4G wireless broadband network

min. cost $1,279 over 24 month plan period

200GBMax Data**/billing period $50Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Southern Phones Logo

Home Wireless 70

  • Includes WiFi modem
  • Optus 4G wireless broadband network

min. cost $1,579 over 24 month plan period

500GBMax Data**/billing period $70Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Optus Wireless Broadband Plans

The following table shows a selection of published Optus wireless broadband plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Optus Logo

4G Wireless Broadband 200GB

  • Includes: B8 18 modem

min. cost $1,560 over 24 month plan period

200GBMax Data**/billing period $65Advertised Data^^/billing period
Optus Logo

4G Wireless Broadband 500GB

  • Includes: B8 18 modem

min. cost $2,040 over 24 month plan period

500GBMax Data**/billing period $85Advertised Data^^/billing period
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Yomojo Wireless Broadband Plans

The following table shows a selection of published Yomojo wireless broadband plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Yomojo Logo

Home Wireless Broadband Plan

  • $169 Huawei 4G B525 Modem upfront cost

min. cost $228.90 for the first month

200GBMax Data**/billing period $59.90Advertised Data^^/billing period
Yomojo Logo

Home Wireless Broadband Plan

  • $169 Huawei 4G B525 Modem upfront cost

min. cost $248.90 for the first month

500GBMax Data**/billing period $79.90Advertised Data^^/billing period
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Spintel Wireless Broadband Plans

The following table shows a selection of published Spintel wireless broadband plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Spintel Logo

Basic Home Wireless Broadband Plan (12Mbps)

  • $145 upfront for NetComm WiFi modem ($20 P&H)
  • $100 account credit

min. cost $764.40 over 12 month plan period

200GBMax Data**/billing period $49.95Advertised Data^^/billing period
Spintel Logo

Home Wireless Broadband Plan (High Speed 4G)

  • $145 upfront for NetComm WiFi modem ($20 P&H)
  • $100 account credit

min. cost $884.40 over 12 month plan period

200GBMax Data**/billing period $59.95Advertised Data^^/billing period
Spintel Logo

Home Wireless Broadband (High Speed 4G)

  • $145 upfront for NetComm WiFi modem ($20 P&H)
  • $100 account credit

min. cost $1,064.40 over 12 month plan period

500GBMax Data**/billing period $74.95Advertised Data^^/billing period
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Exetel Wireless Broadband Plans

The following table shows a selection of published Exetel wireless broadband plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Exetel Logo

Home Wireless Broadband month-to-month plan

  • $189 upfront for WiFi modem ($20 P&H)
  • Download speeds up to 12Mbps

min. cost $278.00 for the first month

250GBMax Data**/billing period $69Advertised Data^^/billing period
Exetel Logo

Home Wireless Broadband 12 month plan

  • $94.50 upfront for WiFi modem ($20 P&H)
  • Download speeds up to 12Mbps

min. cost $942.50 over 12 month plan period

250GBMax Data**/billing period $69Advertised Data^^/billing period
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

How can I make my internet faster?

There’s several things you can do to make your internet faster. Some options include:

  • Disconnecting unnecessary devices from your home internet
  • Investigating if your line has any damage
  • Upgrading your internet plan, or upgrading your line through the NBN’s Technology Choice Program
  • Throttling your download speeds in some applications through app and device settings
  • Upgrading to a more suitable modem

Turning off unnecessary devices

One great thing you can do right off the bat is disconnect any unnecessary devices from your internet and WiFi. This could include phones, gaming consoles or computers not being used. These things could be doing background downloads that could be severely affecting your internet quality. Make sure you also turn off any apps you’re not using on your computer or phone.

Upgrading your internet plan

You could upgrade your internet plan through your Internet Service Provider, or alternatively you could look around for alternatives that might be cheaper or offer more bundled-in perks. You’ll most likely want to look at plans on the NBN 50 speed tier or faster, which begin at around $60 per month depending on your provider.

Upgrading your internet line

Upgrading your internet line could be more costly, but if you band together with your neighbours you could make the Technology Choice Program an agreeable price. Essentially, the NBN Technology Choice Program removes your current internet connection through copper or HFC lining, and replaces it with a direct fibre optic cable right to your door, giving you a much faster internet experience.

Upgrading your modem

The age and quality of your modem or router can impact your speeds. You may want to consider upgrading to a newer model, or even repositioning your modem away from physical barriers and other devices that may interfere with your WiFi signal (for example, microwaves or baby monitors). You may also notice a significant speed difference when your device is directly connected to your modem via an Ethernet cable, so this may be an option if you need a quick performance boost.

Image: Carballo / Shutterstock

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