Checking your internet speed and tips for faster game downloads

We all know the excitement you feel when a new Sims game gets released. You rush to your computer or console to download it as quickly as possible, and then you remember you have to wait… and wait… and wait… because your internet seems to be acting slow.

I used to feel this pain quite a lot as I grew up in a rural area with slower broadband speeds, so I used to be able to bypass this with buying disc copies, but now everything is only available on digital stores such as Origin.

A woman asleep at the computer
This is how it can feel when you’re waiting for a download!

This can be for a variety of reasons, such as physical infrastructure limitations, but in many cases you can actually improve it! With that in mind, we wanted to share some tips on how you can check your internet speed on your device and potentially improve the speeds! This not only means better browsing, but – of course – it’ll be quicker to download the upcoming The Sims 4 Cottage Living Expansion in July!

Firstly, check your internet speed!

You will want to begin by seeing how quickly your download and upload speeds are on your device. Download speed will impact how quickly you can browse the web or download games, whilst upload speed will affect how quickly you could upload videos to YouTube, for example.

  1. Visit Speedcheck to check your internet speed – press the “Start Test” button! This will begin the speed test.For best results, I recommend pausing any downloads or intensive tasks on your network!
  2. Be patient while Speedcheck performs the speed test for you – it will test your ping, download speed, and upload speed.

    Speedcheck performing a speed test
    Speedcheck performing the speed test on my connection
  3. Review the results you have received – you will get a report on the ping (latency), download, upload, who your internet provider is, and how secure your connection may be.
Speedcheck results
The final results from my internet speed test

From the results I have received, I can actually see that my broadband download and upload speeds are as expected as I pay for 150mb/s download and upload. However, if your broadband isn’t meeting what you pay for – or is looking quite slow – then I have some tips on how you may be able to improve this!

Use a wired connection or move your device closer to the router

Sometimes your internet speed may be slower because you are using a Wi-Fi connection rather than a wired one. Wi-Fi speeds can vary depending on the strength of the signal between your device and the router, and this typically gets slower the further away you are from the router.

Other factors such as the building you are in can play a big factor in the strength of your signal too, such as the thickness of your walls, and is something I used to struggle with in the past!

For the best speeds, try moving closer to the router or consider getting a wired connection! This is usually guaranteed to provide the speed you would expect from the router. This also means nothing is interfering with the connection, and it’s generally more reliable too.

Wireless router

Changing your routers wireless channel

If you are not able to get a wired connection, or moving closer to the router doesn’t seem to help, your slower than expected speeds could be because of the wireless channel your router is on.

You can learn more about what a wireless channel is here. In a nutshell, you could be experience interference on the default channel that your ISP has selected for your router and changing it could lead to better results.

Try changing the wireless channel to a better one – the usual ones are 1, 6 and 11 – and this may lead to a more stable and better connection, thus improving your download speeds! The way you do this will vary depending on your wireless router, so you may need to check with your ISP on how to do this.

Try downloading at non-peak times

Did you know that your internet speed can be slower if loads of other households are using the internet too? With the move to people working from home as well, more people are online and potentially causing you to go slower.

When fewer people are online, such as after 11pm, and before 7am, you’ll typically notice faster internet connectivity. It may be worth trying then to see if you get any improvements.

Consider upgrading your broadband package

Once you have exhausted the above options, the root cause may be the actual broadband package you have. It may be worth asking your internet provider, or consider changing to another one, so that you can take advantage of better internet speeds.

Fibre optic connections will generally give you the best speed and, at least in the UK, are now much more available – even in rural areas! Standard internet delivered over copper phone lines tends to have slower speeds and can vary depending on your distance from the telephone exchange, and if fibre is possible or not.

You can also consider fibre-only services, such as Virgin Media or Hyperoptic in the UK, which deliver fibre straight to your building and thus can provide incredible speeds. For example, standard broadband providers can only give me approx 10-15 Mbps to my building, but fibre-only providers can give me up to 1Gbps – which is mind blowing!

Wifi connection

Hopefully this article has provided you with some useful tips to get the most out of your internet connection, so that you can start to browse better and download games faster! As you make all these adjustments, you can continue to use services such as Speedcheck to see if you are experiencing any improvements.

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