Why the Internet in your Maison Ancienne is slow, and what to do about it.

Internet access has become more of an expectation and necessity than a privilege. The only thing worse than an Internet outage is sloooow access, even in tranquil, rural France. If your service is absent, you might go outside for a stroll, or do a bit of cleaning, or visit a chateau – but if it’s simply slow, it becomes a frustration. Here are five reasons your French Internet connection could be slow.

Chronic slowness generally stems from three sources, the first being the home network connection. Across France, network connections are generally good quality, however, in rural areas with low housing density, slow speeds are endemic. Most homes have as the only option ADSL, which is delivered over telephone lines. The distance from your home to the nearest telephone switch directly impacts your potential speed – the farther, the slower. Because ADSL is delivered over the telephone infrastructure, there is no appreciable difference in the connection speed possible with providers – if you’ve got 3mb/s with Orange, switching to Free won’t give you more. Bring the issue up with your network provider, and encourage your neighbors to complain as well. If your home has antiquated telephone wiring, this may also reduce your connection speed.

Whatever your potential speed at the connection point, your ability to use that speed from devices in your home is dependent upon your WiFi network. A router that is not configured to take full advantage of your newest laptop, phone, or tablet can be a bottleneck. The router in your home may be several years older than your devices, built on older technology and limiting your speed. Configuring or upgrading a router can improve speed and signal availability.

Another common problem is WiFi signal penetration throughout your home. If you have slow or intermittent access in rooms away from the router, this is due to the walls diminishing the signal. Additional network wiring in your home could help, but at considerable expense and no flexibility if your needs change. Fortunately, there are cable-free options to extend your WiFi network. WiFi repeaters which re-transmit the signal from your router may be an option. With thick-walled maisons anciennes, a better option might be power-line network devices, which transmit the signal via the existing electrical wiring.

A PC infected with malware may also experience slow network speed. Make sure your PC is up to date. Unfortunately, anti-virus software also can slow you down – but you need to be running at least Windows Defender, which is included with Windows. Advertisements in web pages and video streaming consume a tremendous portion of your network bandwidth – you may wish to employ an ad-blocking software to eliminate the annoyance and improve your Internet speed.

Large downloads from a single PC can also bog down the Internet for everyone else in the home. You may not be aware that a download is ongoing, but PC’s will automatically download updates (e.g. Windows updates, gaming updates, Microsoft updates.) If you have multiple PCs in your home, they may all attempt to download the update at the same time. Proper configuration of your PCs can alleviate some of this by ensuring they share the update download between them. Also, if someone in the family is downloading videos or games, setting a bandwidth limitation on the service can ensure the network works for everyone – even if the download will be slower as a result.

One of the most frustrating aspects of a slow connection is the nagging thought that there ought to be something to improve it. So are you ready to improve your Internet speed? We encourage you to give it a try! The first step is a review of your connection, WiFi network, and devices. You can do this by yourself but don’t worry if you’re not sure how. A professional can help settle the issue.

Submitted by
Price Hall
In the Vendée Tech Admin

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