So many hotels I stayed at (3~4 stars ratings) provided too slow Wi-Fi. The speed is somewhere around 2~3Mbps, and it frequently falls down to <200Kbps.

However, once you find that your hotel provides such a terrible Wi-Fi environment, is there anything still that you can take an action there? In hotel search websites, many hotels are tagged with Free Wi-Fi or even Hi-Speed Wi-Fi but it is not reliable in my experience.

Note that I'm not asking for whether it is possible to know the quality of Wi-Fi at hotel in advance, which has been posted in this question. What I ask here is how you can deal with it when you find your hotel provides a terrible Wi-Fi.

Usually, I get through it by going into cafe with Wi-Fi. But still, the cafe might not provide you with a good connection. Also I want to use my Mac in midnight, when most cafes are not open in general.

I also make sure to contract a local SIM with 4G/LTE and tethering capability, but still, the tethering fails to connect too frequently in many cases.

This is what is happening on me right now in Shanghai, that the hotel's is terrible, all cafes I tried (including Starbucks) suck, and China Unicom 4G/LTE is too slow even without VPN. It's really stressful...

So is there still anything I can do to assure the good network environment? (except changing the hotel which I do once the current booking ends)

My point is that I want to use my Mac whenever I want (including midnight), since it is a part of my job (working while traveling). The minimum requirement is a stable access to GitHub and Stack Overflow and fast google search responses. I don't need much speed (around 7 ~ 10Mbps is sufficient) but cannot tolerate <2Mbps, since it takes me to wait for so long. For me, the stable, undisconnected network is far more important than the speed and latency, once it is above 3Mbps. I don't download/upload large files at once (e.g. videos or hi-res pictures or big softwares, those with >500MB).

If a list of countries is required, I ask for Hong Kong and China (Shanghai/Beijing). But this occurred in Singapore and Japan as well. South Korea never bothered me in this regard, though, as the major cities are full of terrific Wi-Fi cafes.

  • 61
    Whatever the solution, make sure to mention the wifi speed in your review. It's usually extremely hard to find in advance so any review helps.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 11:36
  • 22
    There is no magic bullet, no one wifi to rule them all. When you travel you are always at the mercy of the local ISPs, hotels with too many guests for their broadband pipe and overloaded cellular networks. You have to modify your data usage habits to match the environment. Or change your travel habits to match your data needs.
    – user13044
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 11:53
  • 38
    One point: Don't forget about good old Ethernet. At some - not all - hotel rooms, there's an old-fashioned ethernet port on the wall. (As well as the wifi.) By way of example at the Shangrila in HK. if your laptop is old-fashioned enough that it has a ethernet port, you can often get a fantastic surprise by just plugging in, and hence getting fantastic speed.
    – Fattie
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 14:45
  • 9
    The problem might be China. Accessing foreign websites from China is incredibly slow in general because of the great firewall.
    – user42680
    Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 0:21
  • 1
    hey @JopV. they seem to have largely removed them from the "Apple" product line
    – Fattie
    Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 17:19

18 Answers 18


At first, I thought it would be sort of difficult to answer this. The only options are hotel WiFi and 4G/LTE, and it's not always easy to do much about the speed of those. (Except for the fact that the speed given by various 4G/LTE carriers may vary, so you could check reviews of those before picking your carrier.)

Then I remembered something called Speedify. It's a multi-platform service which utilizes channel bonding to allow you to fuse multiple internet connections into one.

By using a technology known as channel bonding Speedify makes it possible to spread individual packets amongst multiple Internet connections. By splitting all your web traffic at the packet-level even large single socket transfers such as VPNs, streaming movies, and uploading and downloading files can be given a major speed boost!

This would allow you to be connected to an LTE mobile connection and the hotel WiFi at the same time. If speed is very important to you, you could even join multiple LTE connections together. Of course, for that, you'd need multiple LTE modems and SIMs. That would, of course, increase your expenses. But then, you're asking for high-speed internet while traveling, which is not going to be free in any case.

You mention that both LTE and WiFi speeds are unstable and fluctuate. Being connected through multiple connections at the same time would be a good protection against this, as you'd maintain an acceptable speed even when one of your connections goes slow or disconnects altogether.

Speedify review from Macworld. (4/5)

Speedify review from TechVise. (9.1/10)

Speedify review from PC World. (Generally favourable.)

As you have now noted in a comment, this also doubles as a VPN, which may also be useful in certain countries.

You get 5 GB of free usage per month. After that, it's $8.99 per month or $49.99 per year.

Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with Speedify. (Although I realize this answer probably reads a little bit like I am.)

  • 2
    Here is a trick: although Wi-Fi only doesn't get you much boost, Wi-Fi with LTE saves your life. So connect to a phone via tethering, not to the Wi-Fi in the room, and you get the good speed on a computer.
    – Blaszard
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 20:37
  • 11
    Moreover, this works as a VPN, too, so you can just ditch your VPN while in China; it's more or less the same cost, a perfect solution!
    – Blaszard
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 20:38
  • 2
    Well that's very interesting and timely +1. It's all a crap shoot, I was in a hotel in Anhui province that had incredibly fast internet. I downloaded 70G in the short time I was there (just for one meeting) just with the regular Wifi. Others will drop 5x before you can get your lousy 50-100 text emails. By the way, some VPN related stuff is blocked in China (the sites not just the VPN itself) so it's probably a good idea to prepare in advance. Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 22:15
  • 1
    @Blaszard now THAT is some awesome news. Will have to check it out next time I'm in the Middle Kingdom.
    – user28559
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 15:37
  • 1
    Joined just so I could upvote. Thank you for this :)
    – Kiwi
    Commented Oct 12, 2016 at 14:28

There are few workarounds in this situation :

  • ask the front desk to allocate a room next to a WiFi hot spot. This will allow you to bypass coverage problems (from one room to another, the coverage will be drastically different).
  • use the WiFi during low trafic period (this is good sense) so between 12 PM and 6 PM or in the middle of the night.
  • buy a SIM card and use your phone as a WiFi hotspot.
  • you'll also find in some countries local providers that will lend you for the duration of your stay a WiFi hotspot that will connect the 4G/LTE network.
  • ask the hotel to do something about it! Not all hotels are auditing the real coverage so they might not be aware that it isn't working in one area and fixing the issue might be simpler than you think.
  • check hotel reviews on Trip Advisor. If people complain about the WiFi, stay away from these.
  • ask the hotel in advance about their WiFi. Ask them for a commitment that it will work fine.

A simple trick to use - especially if browsing the web is very slow, is to change the DNS settings on your laptop for that WiFi connection. I generally use Google's public DNS servers which are and

You can also subscribe to a premium DNS service such as smartdns.com which also enables access to services that are geo-blocked in your area.

Warning: Technical mumbo jumbo ahead:

By default, when you connect to WiFi you get an automatic IP address and along with this IP address you get the addresses of two DNS servers. These servers are what translate web addresses to IP addresses which is how computers connect to each other.

The problem is that WiFi routers make horrible DNS servers and are not designed for a large number of clients; and if your DNS lookup is slow, the entire Internet will feel slow, even if the physical connection is good because you are waiting on the WiFi router to tell your computer where to go - in order words, you are stuck on the ramp while trying to get to the Internet super highway.

  • 2
    I did this for my laptop years ago when I was still in school, and it gave me a very significant boost. It sounds almost too easy, but it really just is easy. Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 7:57
  • Thanks. While I'm a mobile Software Dev and understand what the article explains, I don't have much expertise in these fields. So it might take a few days but anyway I'll try it out.
    – Blaszard
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 12:52
  • 4
    One potential catch with this: Some Wi-Fi networks require logon and they way they get you to the logon page is by answering a DNS query for whatever page you're trying to visit with the IP address of the Wi-Fi network's logon webserver. If you set a static DNS server setting, that redirect wouldn't happen, so you'd have to figure out what page to visit to log on or temporary switch back to DHCP-assigned DNS. Also, some places that like to filter Internet connections may block DNS traffic to anything other than their own DNS servers.
    – reirab
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 14:49
  • This trick works, in some cases. My home connection runs at 85mbit down using my ISP's DNS, but only 20ish mbits down with google's public DNS (and this was on ethernet).
    – Tyzoid
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 15:52
  • 9
    @Tyzoid your DNS server shouldn't affect download speed at all! It's likely that you were using a different server for the two tests. Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 18:12

I can only tell you what I do. First, pick a chain of hotels and stick with them. I always stay at a certain band of hotels and this gives me the ability to know going in that I am less likely to have a problem. When I do have a problem, I have more barging power because I am an established customer.

When there is a problem, you have three choices.

  1. Use their wired network. Most hotels I stay at have (but don't advertise) in room Ethernet. Usually it's just a plug in their lamp on the desk. Almost all hotels have this. Make sure to ask about it if your having a problem with wifi.

  2. Go to the business center. There is almost always wired connections and better wifi in the business center. Again, almost all hotels have this.

  3. Use your cell phone tethering. Yep it sucks, but if your getting bad speeds at the hotel, then it may be your only option.

You may need to be more realistic about your network needs.

(around 7 ~ 10Mbps is sufficient) but cannot tolerate <2Mbps

That may be totally unrealistic. I understand your goal but unless your watching Netflix or playing games that kind of speed just isn't needed.

You could try not pushing commits till you have a better network. Or just accepting a slightly slower page load time. For example a google search is around 80Kb. Even with a 56k Modem that less then 2 seconds. At around 200 kbps that's less then a second. A SO page is 290KB, again, at around 200 kbps that just a few seconds.

Try running a local caching DNS server on your laptop, or try caching more aggressively. Essentially, at even 100kbps you should have more then you need to do the kind of tasks your looking for as far as bandwidth is concerned. Maybe latency is an issue?

  • 7
    "You may need to be more realistic about your network needs." +1 to that.
    – Schwern
    Commented Oct 12, 2016 at 18:36
  • 2
    "You may need to be more realistic about your network needs." +1 too.
    – motoDrizzt
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 10:12

You can get a better Wi-Fi antenna. A lot of wireless issues are simply due to poor coverage and crappy access points (consumer-grade gear is garbage and OSes are way too optimistic about displaying the signal level - sometimes displaying full signal when you can't get more than 1Mbps from the AP).

Get yourself an USB wireless dongle with decent antennas (this one looks nice, but I haven't tried it) and you should get way better speeds than with the default antennas (try not to laugh) your laptop comes with.

  • 6
    1. Many laptops will have wifi antennas in the lid. 2. I tried an Alpha long ago but very often that only solves the problem (if at all) where you can't connect at all -- the speed issues discussed are typically caused by the hotel having a crappy upstream.
    – user4188
    Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 1:23

A USB WiFi dongle on a long lead can allow you to maximise your WiFi signal without you having to sit on top of the wardrobe or in some other daft place. I've been known to hang it out of the window as reception on the floor below had a good strong signal, or to run it under the room door into the corridor.

Of course this will only help you if it's your connection to the wireless network that's the issue. But you mention it disconnecting which makes it more likely that the WiFi itself is your problem rather than the upstream connection .


This obviously doesn't apply everywhere, but some hotels have ethernet ports in the rooms. If you bring an ethernet cable (and a USB or Thunderbolt ethernet adaptor if you laptop lacks a dedicated port) then you can use a direct connection which may be faster.

As an aside, this doesn't sound like the issue you're having but some hotels I've been in have run out of IP addresses in their DHCP pool. You can fix this by setting one manually.

  • 2
    +1. Also, if you have an ethernet port in your room, but want to use a WiFi only device (such as a phone), you can buy a small portable access point (like this one, for example). I bring one when I travel and obtain much better speeds this way than using the hotel's WiFi.
    – Ben Miller
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 19:48
  • You can buy a tiny router that is preloaded to access your VPN so you plug it into the wired Ethernet and get your own private WiFi network with no blocked websites. Ask your VPN provider. Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 17:51

I usually buy a local sim card with access to the internet. You don’t pay much if you just browsing the web and don’t download/upload many large files. Most countries have special offers for tourist at the airport. You just need to bring your passport.

  • Yes I always buy it. But sometimes it can't be connected via tethering to my computer, which I use in my job.
    – Blaszard
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 19:01
  • @Fiksdal No it works and I said sometimes. I meant, while you can usually connect it via tethering, you also encounter the "cannot connect to your phone" error, which is pretty annoying (and also occurs in my home country's carrier, so whether it is a traveler SIM is not related here). But I always ask a staff if I can use a tethering.
    – Blaszard
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 19:12
  • @Fiksdal I always connect them via Wi-Fi. Sometimes I use USB, but things don't change much. I never connect them via Bluetooth as it is so slow.
    – Blaszard
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 19:27
  • You can try portable wifi to go. I know some people who use the world sim card from the same company so that they have always the same business number. I guess inside the device is just this world sim card. Works in the most countries but it is not cheaper than buying always a new local sim card. worldsim.com/portable-wifi
    – Patrick
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 19:34

Install a browser adblocker such as Adblock and/or an ad blocking proxy such as Privoxy so your web pages won't contain so much heavy advertising media. This can make a huge difference to some web pages such as news sites.

  • 2
    This is correct (and I have used it as well) but it doesn't benefit much here as the problem lies under the bandwidth itself, not the pages.
    – Blaszard
    Commented Oct 12, 2016 at 16:18

It is not possible to improve your bandwidth with a bigger antenna when you have seventeen users downloading stuff next door slowing the whole house down. You could copy them and use a download manager (for normal files, YouTube, etc). Download all day then watch later.

As for web browsing, this is what I did when I had dial-up:

The first trick (and most important) is to reduce the number of simultaneous connections. Drop it down to 3 items, tops. I can't remember the way in IE, but in Firefox do this: 1) type About:config in the address bar 2) search for Connections 3) change Http.max-connections from 900 to 3. (you may also want to drop the max-persistant-connections-per-server to a figure lower than the max connections. not sure about "websocket", give it a low figure if it helps). X) the reason why this works is that it makes a request for a file and if it takes too long to come in then it times out and you get nothing. 900 may not actually be realistic for most user's internet connections but they don't see issues because most sites do not have 900 items on a page.

Of course disabling ads helps. Research HOSTS and PAC files.

If I absolutely didn't want to be slowed down, I would disable images (although I prefer to see the image placeholders, some browsers may not show them nowadays. They let me know if I am missing a small or large image and sometimes it's caption tells me what is supposed to be there. If I want to see it I can right click it and press "show image").

You can try disabling other things like Flash - but today the webpages are covered in it, so some sites would become unusable.

A new one I have not explored is that some sites have "mobile" versions of their site (as opposed to "desktop"). A quick search tells me that Safari lets you do that, and you can get a "user agent" switcher for Chrome or Firefox.

Enjoy your fast internet :D

I have given six tips, the last four tips are also useful if you are nearing your downloads limit with your ISP.

  • "The first trick (and most important) is to reduce the number of simutaneous connections." This is not a concern with HTTP/2
    – ave
    Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 22:29

Just because I didn't see this answer above, see if there is another place nearby that has better wifi. I stayed in a hostel recently and got a near unusable connection (~10kbps and flaky).

I was able to get the wifi connection of the hostel next door, and get 3Mbps.

In my case, I was lucky and it wasn't password protected. But if it was, I could have asked someone going in or out if they'd be cheeky enough to let me have the password.

  • 2
    Note that using a WiFi network without permission is illegal in some jurisdictions, even if it's unsecured. Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 8:31

As an alternative: a potential solution that would work with "almost any" speed:

  • have a computer with a good connection (in a friend's company? at your house? at some family member's house?). This is where your (huge) data resides.
  • use an accelerated VNC to access it ( tightvnc? other ?) from your laptop. (ie, work remotely from your laptop on the computer with a good connection).

That way you don't need huge amount of speed: just enough to display locally what is on the remote pc. Then when needing to download/send huge things, this happens on the remote pc with its good connection.

  • I don't think that would help the OP much with his actual problem.
    – mts
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 10:22
  • 1
    @mts: I believe the opposite. Having "2mbps" as a minimum is quite hard to achieve in many hotels... so it limits a lot his choice of hotels (and even then, if that hotel happens to have more guest using the bandwidth than usual, it's still not guaranteed to be enough), whereas my solution makes the bandwidth requirement much lower, expanding a lot on the possible usable wifi points the OP can use for his tasks Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 10:25
  • but the OP does not want to access huge data but websites in a stable manner. I'm not the expert here but I don't see how this would help, in any case, I do leave the vote open for others. Welcome to Travel SE by the way :)
    – mts
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 10:35
  • 2
    @mts: thanks ^^ But I focus mainly on his "cannot tolerate <2Mbps" part, which to me is quite difficult to achieve in many parts of the world (and on many hotels as well). My solution is to work around that (bandwidth is reliable on the computer's location, and he just access that computer with much less bandwidth by just drawing that computer's screen locally). It is an alternative, but can be used with the other answers as well (ie, can boost local speed too). With mine he can have just the "needs huge bandwidth" part on the remote computer (ex: edit video remotely, use mails on his laptop). Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 10:40
  • 1
    I've used this technique before with success by using TeamViewer to remote me into a computer with a stable connection. Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 6:25

Know that some hotels that charge for Wi-Fi have special access points that monitor for other Wi-Fi communications taking place in range, and jam them by sending a "deauth" packet. So if you're using Wi-Fi tethering from your laptop to your mobile phone, this will cause frequent interruptions and disconnections. This is done in an attempt to force their guests to use their expensive Wi-Fi service.

In the USA this practice was found by the FCC to be an illegal jamming signal and fined the Marriott chain $600,000 for doing so, along with a cease and desist order. But American laws don't apply to hotels in other countries, who might also be trying to make a fast buck.

  • If it is not able to be remedied with a cable between the devices, this can be avoided by using a directional antenna, but remember to throttle back the dB of the transmitter because these antennas confine the signal so it becomes louder - you have to conform to the country’s regulations on transmitter power in the WiFi spectrum else you could be fined. People seen with a cantenna are assumed guilty because people handmake them and don’t consider what the antenna is actually doing. Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 8:31

The minimum requirement is a stable access to GitHub and Stack Overflow and fast google search responses. I don't need much speed (around 7 ~ 10Mbps is sufficient) but cannot tolerate <2Mbps, since it takes me to wait for so long. For me, the stable, undisconnected network is far more important than the speed and latency, once it is above 3Mbps. I don't download/upload large files at once (e.g. videos or hi-res pictures or big softwares, those with >500MB).

Bits vs Bytes

For the purposes of this answer everything will be in bits. Normally throughput is in bits and everything else is in bytes. A byte is 8 bits. 2Mbps is 2 megabits per second. With 2Mbps you can download a 2 megabyte file in -- not one second -- but 8 seconds. This confusion is retained as a little marketing ploy by networks to make them seem faster.

Throughput vs Latency

You should be fine at 2Mbps. The problem is probably not throughput but latency.

When you talk about 10Mbps what you're talking about is throughput. How many bits per second can be shoved down the pipe. What you really should be caring about is latency, how soon the bits start coming down the pipe after you request them.

A site like Github is made up of lots of little pieces, each of them has to be requested and downloaded as the page loads. Latency is how long after the request it begins downloading. Throughput is how fast it downloads once it starts. Each request might spawn more requests.

So if Github.com has 10 requests of 10kb each, and each of them has 5 requests of 10kb each, that's 50 requests totaling a mere 500kb. If you're getting a throughput of 500kbps you can download this in 1 second... if you have 0 latency.

If your latency (ping time) is 500ms then every request has a half second delay on it. That means your browser makes a request, waits half a second, then starts downloading the content. It gets worse because that content can have more requests. If you have three layers of content, very easy on a modern web page, that's a minimum of 1.5 seconds before everything starts to load.

Here's an illustration with 500ms latency, 500kps, fetching 50k files.

0ms                 500 ms              1000 ms             1500 ms
GET index.html
                      GET resource1
                                            GET resource1.1
                      GET resource2
                                            GET resource 2.1
                      GET resource3

As you can see, high latency eats up most of the page load time. You can see this for yourself in the Network pane of the debugging tools in your browser. Here's where you find it in Firefox.

enter image description here

Here's what Github looks like with 100ms latency. It's noticeable.

enter image description here

Find Networks With Low Latency

You want to optimize for latency. You want to find networks with the lowest ping times to the sites you visit. ping www.github.com to decide whether the network will respond well or not.

Since you're traveling worldwide, and most of the servers you're contacting are in North America, you should look for 250ms or less. Sometimes content is mirrored around the world, sometimes it isn't. 250ms is pretty good for talking to North America from Asia.

Use Adblock

Ads add to the number of requests per page. Sometimes A LOT of extra requests. Some sites are well designed and will be functional before the ads load. Others will not. High latency will make this worse.

Use an adblocker on your browser to avoid these extra requests.

Do A Virus Scan

If your computer is infected with a virus, it's possible that your own computer is furiously using the network and clogging your connection.

Remove All Unnecessary Browser Extensions and Toolbars

Like a virus, malicious or poorly done extensions and toolbars can be using your computer's network connection to do bad things. This can slow your connection down. Remove them.

Quit Any Networking Applications

If you're running any sort of file sharing software like BitTorrent or Dropbox or Samba or Google Drive, turn it off. If a shared drive changes frequently it might be syncing all those changes and gulping down network.

Turn off any software update tools that might be downloading in the background like Steam.


Additional to the other answers: You might also look at the area where you are booking. I know of areas in west Central Europe where you would be happy to get a stable 3Mbit/s connection. The connection is between 0.5 and 1.5 MBit/s and fails every other weeks for hours and all providers think it is not worth repairing/improving.

At least in many European countries providers allow you check the maximum speed available at a specific adress online with only giving them the adress. These data are not always accurate and does not mean the maximum speed was ordered but can give you a warning signal if it shows no or slow possible internet connection.

When you are already in this situation and LTE also doesn't satisfy your need, you are very limited. Options are looking for an internet cafe or other businesses/private people providing WiFi/internet like some big shopping center, restaurantes or a WiFi sharing community like https://freifunk.net/en/ .

  • 2
    @pnuts added some information in that direction
    – H. Idden
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 8:35

Assuming you have tried everything above, here's a trick I used in my hostel to cope up with slow connections. External network cards These work like a charm and are very tiny so that you can carry 10s of them. The trick is to use your NICs to connect to every network you can and then use speedify to connect all together and enjoy your increased speed. If you are confused what to buy just look for any 802.11n network adapters. And use a USB extension port to to extend your USB ports. In just 15$ I pentupled my avg speed by connecting with 4 extra networks. Hope this helps. The other one is a dirty trick and involves some misdoings on your part. As you are in a hotel the default password for the WiFi router remains the actual password for that and a simple google search would reveal their access IP address and default password.

  1. Connect to the WiFi.
  2. Type in the IP address and then the password in the dialog box.
  3. You are now on the admin page.

Here on you can change the password of WiFi under the wireless security. Apply bandwidth control protocols for devices and even reset the their router with your own tweaked router firmware.

Netcut Mess up the ARP table of your router with netcut, just download it, install it and run it. it's very simple and also protects your from ARP attacks.

Remember the last two methods may be considered illegal. Try to talk to the management first if you can. Happy traveling.

  • I'm not sure what you call "External network cards", but is it the one that can be searched as "external network adapter" in Amazon? Why do you carry 10s of them? Is the one (or two in case of being broken) enough, right?
    – Blaszard
    Commented Oct 12, 2016 at 16:13
  • I carry 3's of them. The more you have the more networks you can connect to. The motive here is the connect to multiple slow networks and get decent connection. Also you might need to add the word USB in your search. Search for wifi usb network adapter. Hope that helps.
    – user363203
    Commented Oct 12, 2016 at 16:50

If it's your job, I don't understand why you threat it like an hobby: what you want is a wi-fi connection and a place to work, not an hotel; the bed is your lowest priority, here. So:

  • rent an apartment, today 99% of them has a dedicated internet connection both wifi and cabled


  • rent a coworking place AND a cheap hotel room.

Very niche response (as most of the other answers cover relevant points) but something that can speed up http (not https) requests (which currently still covers the StackExchange network) is Google's Chrome Data Saver. Designed primarily for mobile devices, it routes your http traffic through Google's endpoints, compressing the content (sometimes noticeably on images).

Obviously take on board privacy issues etc, but this is a straightforward way I've found to speed up http browsing.

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