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Why is My AT&T Internet so Slow? (Try These Tips to Speed it Up)

Last Updated Nov 8, 2021

Depending on where you live, within the continental United States, AT&T is either a highly ranked internet service provider or down in the dumps with the worst of them. There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of middle ground. Part of why they get negative reviews is because of slow internet speeds, but why are they slow in the first place?

Unfortunately, many internet slowdowns could be caused by something on AT&T’s end, which means there’s very little you can do about it. The other possibilities are often related to the router and whether it’s defective or in a bad location.

You could also be dealing with an overwhelming number of devices on your network—a problem that’s becoming more and more frequent with the expansion of smart homes. Data chokepoints, too many streaming devices, and the age of the router make up other problem areas. Below, we’ll discuss each of these issues and offer tips for speeding your internet back up again.

Why is My AT&T Internet Slow?

While all of the following tips and tricks are things you can do to speed up your internet—regardless of who your ISP is—keep in mind that the things going on with AT&T’s end are things you cannot control unless you decide to switch.

We also understand the concept of micro-monopolies. This means that an ISP lays the groundwork for internet infrastructure and is successful at monopolizing its usage, either financially or politically.

This means they can effectively toss customer service out the window because they become your only choice. If that’s the case, we feel your pain. However, you’re one of the millions facing the same problem. But, you can only handle what you can control, so here are some ways to do that:

Your Router is too Old

Always keep up with how old your router is. AT&T is just like any other ISP; they’ll give you a decent router to “rent,” and, for the most part, it will effectively do the job. However, with the exponential growth of smart home technology, it’s easy to overwhelm an average router.

Check the back of the router and, if there’s no other information you can gather from it, you’ll at least find a serial number. Google it and determine what router it is, its capabilities, and how old it is.

From here, you can determine whether or not you need a router upgrade to handle all of your devices without crippling your network. Remember, you don’t have to use the router provided by your ISP. In fact, it will save you money in the long term to get your own, more advanced router.

Your Current Router Has Limitations

This goes hand-in-hand with the above situation. In this case, we’re mostly focusing on your own, personal router. It’s time to pull out your router’s user manual or access its web address to find out what its device limitation is.

The reason is, it’s easy to overwhelm a router and have a severe network bottleneck where your internet is not only slow, but some devices may just be disconnected. If this is the case, you need to upgrade your router and any additional nodes to expand your device capacity. You may even need to consider purchasing a Wi-Fi extender.

You Have Low Data Caps

What’s better than several gigabytes of internet speed at all times? That may be what was advertised; however, ISPs will still burn you with the infamous data limit. If you have a data cap set at 100GBs, you’re going to burn through that fairly quickly.

Once you’ve reached that limitation, the remainder of your internet for that billing cycle will be choked so badly that you would be lucky if you could watch more than a blurry YouTube video with resolution at the absolute bottom of the pit. It’ll make you pine for the good ole days of lightning-fast, 56k dial-up.

There Are Too Many Streaming Devices Connected

Internet traffic is at peak hours during the morning, lunch break, and afternoons when everyone is off work. This is the period where streaking 4k resolution on three different devices and Apple Music in the bedroom may be too much.

Streaming on too many devices can slow your family’s little LAN down to a crawl, so always be aware of the time and what your devices are up to.

External Causes

If fixing none of the above helps your internet speed, then there is likely an outside source of interference or something is wrong outside of your area of influence. You’ll have to contact AT&T to see if they can run a check on your internet service.

AT&T will also have to handle any outside interference unless you’re the unfortunate recipient of random cell phone towers interfering with the internet’s route to your home; in that case, you’ll have to just consider switching, if possible.

All Things Considered

Most of the troubleshooting is probably going to take place inside your home. You would be surprised to find how many little things you don’t often consider affect your internet speed.

Worst case scenario, you’ll have to spend some time on the phone with customer service; however, burn through the above tips and tricks first, and consider investing in items that can help boost your current internet performance, such as a Wi-Fi extender.