Your kids are upstairs gaming, your spouse is downloading music, and you’re looking at a “loading” icon while trying to stream a movie. You may have too many devices on your wifi. While many systems claim to support around 250 devices at one time, it’s not recommended that you do so. You may still be able to access the internet but you’ll likely experience poor connectivity.
What are common high-bandwidth activities?
Certain devices and online activities may steal more of your wifi than others. Some of the largest culprits of bandwidth include:
Multiplayer games constantly send high-bandwidth information between the gaming device and the gaming server. Between these two destinations lies your router where all data must first past through to reach the other side. This includes everything from telling the server that you fired a missile to downloading the high-quality graphics.
Whether streaming music from your laptop or Netflix from an entertainment system, media carries large amounts of data that can slow your connection. Video data can travel to your home at one of three speeds:
That said, streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime usually require the highest quality video (4K HDR) and downgrading puts your streaming experience in jeopardy.
While text-based emails may not drastically impact bandwidth, those with attachments can. Think images, video, slideshows, and large documents. The same can be said for email spam. These malicious emails contain attachments and botnets that can take up space on your network. Not to mention, the automatic sorting of spam into your junk folder means that your email is constantly using the internet - even when you’re not.
Backups, downloads, and updates
Backups, downloads, and updates often happen unbeknownst to the user. As so, they are one of the hardest culprits to identify. Devices are usually defaulted to automatically download files or update software. That said, these settings can and should be changed on each device.
How to check devices connected to your wifi
You can access most router systems through a partner website or mobile app. That said, it’s not the only way to control the devices on your wifi. Other management solutions include:
Configuring a whitelist within your router will automatically block devices that aren’t already registered in the system by the network owner. This can be especially useful if you have concerns about neighbors or strangers accessing your network.
Changing security settings
Make sure that your network is private and locked with a password to prohibit outsiders from accessing your internet for free. You can do so by opening your router settings and applying the appropriate settings. The more security you have on your network, the less you may have to worry about bandwidth.
Updating network credentials
By changing your network credentials, all connected devices must enter the new password to reconnect. This can help immediately boot unwanted devices off your internet. When creating a new password, make sure it’s at least 12 characters long. It should also use special characters, numbers, and a mix of both upper and lowercase letters. Be sure to exclude any personal information from your password as well.
Routers can host everything from laptops and mobile phones to kitchen appliances and bathroom scales. As a best practice, you should limit the number of devices that connect to your router as much as possible. Many homeowners connect products to their wifi during setup but forget about them over time. As so, you should frequently manage your network to see what devices can be disconnected.
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