Improving Network Performance: Best Practices

Tips to remove bottlenecks from your network

In today's digital world, having a fast and stable internet connection is essential for productivity, entertainment, and communication. However, sometimes you might encounter issues with your network speed that could be easily addressed. In this guide, we explain how to improve your network performance by identifying common issues that hinder network speed and the steps to resolve them.

Improve Network Speed by Removing Bottlenecks

Review any hardware between your device and the internet.

If you are driving on a 4-lane highway that suddenly merges to a 1-lane street, you will quickly have traffic build up and increase your time to get to your destination. This is known as a bottleneck, with the term being taken literally from the shape of a bottle. In computer networking, a bottleneck is a pinch point in your network where no matter how fast your internet speed or other devices are, the traffic is flowing through a common device that is significantly limited in its bandwidth or speed, compared to the rest of the network.

There are countless sources of potential bottlenecks in your network, since there is virtually no limit to how many devices your internet traffic touches before getting to its final destination and back. Some common network devices include:

  • Switches
  • Routers
  • Modems
  • Wireless Access Points

Each of these devices have their own speed specifications and maximum bandwidth. When you chain them all together, the maximum internet speed you will be able to get will be equal to the lowest performing device between your computer and the final server. We can't really control anything outside your network, but inside it, you can review the different devices' specifications and find which device might be your bottleneck. For example, if you have a router with a maximum speed of 100 Mbit/s, you will be limited to that speed even if you are paying for 500 Mbit/s internet service. Sometimes, you can check the ports on your device, and you might find that you have an available port with a higher speed, but you were connecting your devices to lower speed ports. In case like those, connecting the cable to the higher bandwidth port should be enough to see improvements in performance.

Check your network cables.

Like the previous issue, internet data cables have their own specifications with maximum throughput that can be achieved. If you have older cables on your network, such as a Cat 5 cable that has a maximum speed of 100 Mbps, upgrading it to a Cat 5e or higher is a low cost solution that could very likely boost your network performance. Below, we’ve laid out a table some different types of ethernet data cables with their respective maximum data transfer speeds. Please note that we've excluded anything under Cat 5 since they have been effectively phased out.

Ethernet Category

Maximum Bandwidth

Cat 5

100 Mbps

Cat 5e

1 Gbps

Cat 6

1 Gbps

Cat 7

10 Gbps

Cat 7a

10 Gbps

Cat 8

25 Gbps

Avoid using wireless.

Another tip that might help improve internet speed and stability is using physical data cables instead of connecting through wireless radio, or WiFi. There are many factors that can degrade wireless connections. If your wireless access point is too far away, or blocked by obstacles, your internet reliability and performance could be negatively impacted due to the radio transmission having to be bounced around in the air. In addition, having too many devices connected through wireless could cause bottlenecks if you wireless does not support as many connections, leading to clients dropping from the network. Therefore, if you require high internet performance and reliability, it is recommended that you connect those devices with ethernet cables.

Know the different between Megabits (mbs) and Megabytes (MBs).

Something else to keep in mind is that internet speeds and storage are measured in different units. It might seem confusing because they sound similar, and their unit symbols are similar, but internet speeds are measured in Megabits (Mb) or Gigabits (Gb), while storage and downloads on your devices are in measured Megabytes (MB) or Gigabytes (GB). Note the difference in capitalization and bits vs bytes. One Megabyte is equal to 8 Megabits; so if you have an internet speed of 500 Megabits  per second (Mbps), you should expect to see about 62.5 Megabytes per second (MB/s) of download speed.

External Factors.

Sometimes, you might face slow internet connections that are caused by factors outside of your control. When you download a file, for example, the download speed is not only limited by your internet connection, but also by the maximum speed allowed by the server you are downloading from. It’s hard to believe that not all websites are high performance like ours, but it does happen! If the source can only send 50 Megabits (Mb) of data per second, that will be the maximum speed you will be able to download at, even if your internet speed is 1 Gigabit (Gb) per second.

Check with your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

If none of the suggestions above can help you, there might be some temporary issues with your ISP or the connection to your modem. You will need to contact them and let them know that you think they have an issue. If your ISP identifies an issue within their systems, they will usually take steps to resolve the problem.


Improving network performance can be a complicated and frustrating topic, since it can be difficult to know what the cause of an issue might be. However, many times you will be able to improve your performance by following these suggestions. By reviewing the hardware in your network, checking your network cables, and avoiding wireless connections, when possible, you can make sure you are getting the most out of the internet you pay for. With these tips in mind, you'll be well on your way to enjoying a faster, more stable internet connection that will enhance your network performance. But if you have tried these suggestions and are still faced with network performance issues, give Antemodal a call so we can get you on the fast track to improving your network speeds!

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