Nowadays it feels like everything connects to the internet in some way—from computers and smartphones to baby monitors and security cameras. All these devices in your home share your bandwidth. Every device on your network decreases your bandwidth a portion, especially over WiFi.
Think of it like traffic on the highway. During rush hour when there’s a lot of traffic, the cars travel slower than usual. This is the same for your internet connection. Congestion is caused when everyone in your home is accessing the internet at the same time. Add in some lane closures – like older devices running updates or back-ups – and your speed is further reduced.
Wired vs. Wireless
A hardwired connection will always beat WiFi. Wherever possible, use an ethernet cable to connect devices like smart TVs, gaming consoles, smart speakers, etc. This isn’t always possible, but when it is you’ll see a massive difference.
Number of Devices
The term “Internet of Things” is used to describe all the devices in your home that use an internet connection to exchange data. From doorbell cameras to Google Home Minis to smart locks—our homes are increasingly filled with the Internet of Things devices. Each of these devices connects to your internet network either through WiFi or a hardwire connection. Some of these devices – like cameras or 4K TVs – consume a lot of bandwidth.
It’s not unusual for your speeds to come down at night when everyone at home finishes dinner and starts streaming Netflix at the same time. More people online means everyone is more likely to experience slow speeds. Be mindful of the number of people and devices accessing your network.
Age of Devices
Your home network is only as strong as its weakest link. It’s possible for older devices on a network to slow things down for everyone else, even with a newer modem. Older computers, laptops, and mobile devices with slower processors could be putting the brakes on your connection.
With new technology coming out every day, we recommend upgrading your hardware every few years. Or remove that old computer or device from your WiFi network and only sign on when you are actively using it.
Like your devices, older routers will slow down your connection. If your router is more than three or four years old, it’s probably time to think about buying a new one.
If you are trying to push a lot of data to a lot of devices over an old WiFi router, we recommend looking into a mesh network like our HOP WiFi. A mesh network is basically a system of multiple WiFi access points that work together to blanket every corner of your home with a strong wireless connection. Unlike stand-alone routers that lose signal the farther you move away from them, mesh stations piggyback on one another to create a continuous wireless link throughout your home. By connecting all these access points together, you scale up the load your bandwidth can carry.
Viruses and Malware
Viral programs like malware and spyware will also slow down your connection. These programs download to your computer and lurk in the background. If this is the case, the spyware could be connecting to the internet without your knowledge and hogging your bandwidth. Always run internet security software, and never open email links or attachments from an unknown source.
There are several programs available to help manage and remove malware from your computer. Many of our customers use Malwarebytes or SpyBot Search & Destroy. These are both free programs that can be installed on your computer to assist you in removing Spyware and malware.
Run a Speed Test
If your network appears slow, try running a speed test. We recommend Speedtest by Ookla. You can download the desktop app for free on your computer or mobile device, or access it on our website. You can use it to check both your WiFi and wired connection; we recommend checking both.
Remember that all the devices in your home share bandwidth—when you conduct a speed test, any device in use will affect the result.
If you have questions about your internet or WiFi speed, call 360-321-TECH (8324). Our friendly tech support is available to help 24/7. Or give us a call at 360-321-1122 to learn more about HOP WiFi and our high-speed internet options. Find more information on our website.