Making the Most of Your Internet Bandwidth
Let’s say you have enough bandwidth. How can you be sure you’re getting the most out of it? Try these tips.
Monitor Your Speed
If poor connectivity is getting you down, use a speed testing tool like this one to see what’s up. If you’re getting a lower speed than you paid for, there could be a number of reasons, such as:
- It could be that others in the house are using a lot of bandwidth, so test when you’re sure no one is using the internet.
- You could be suffering router or modem issues, which means you’ll need to reset (see below).
- Your ISP may be having issues. Check with their outages map or give them a call.
Reset Your Hardware
Every now and again, you’ll need to restart your router and modem. It’s easy, though. Just unplug the power to both devices and leave them alone for one minute. Then plug in the modem and leave it for another minute. Finally, plug in your router and leave it for another minute. There, you’re all reset.
Use Good Passwords
Make sure no one is mooching off your Wi-Fi. Change the password that your router came with by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Use a Guest Network
Part of hosting people at your home is offering them use of Wi-Fi. But keep them on a guest network. Partly this is for security, but keep in mind that you can limit the speeds on the guest network in your router’s settings. That’ll keep your kid’s friends from watching shows on their phones at your kitchen table all day.
Schedule Your Downloads
If you download a lot of files, consider scheduling your downloads for late at night or other off-peak hours.
Scan For Malware
You have anti-virus software, right? Make sure you scan for malware constantly. This includes not only your computer, but phones, consoles, smart devices—indeed, anything that connects to the internet can become infected with malware. Some malware will indeed eat up your bandwidth. For example, many Internet of Things (IoT) devices get roped into botnets, and some malware is used for mining cryptocurrency. Keep in mind that you can keep your IoT devices on their own separate network if it’ll give you more peace of mind.
Upgrade Your Router & Modem
Routers should be upgraded every few years or so. Ditto modems. Consider upgrading to a beefier router that can throw signals further or manage more devices. Or consider getting mesh Wi-Fi, which can better distribute your Wi-Fi signal around your house.
If you’re having problems with Wi-Fi signals, consider running cable. Video streaming is the biggest bandwidth hog in most households, so at least connect your router to your smart TV, streaming box, or console you’re using to stream TV. You may also want to run cable to other parts of your house, if you’re streaming in more than one room, if you’re gaming, or if you just want a very secure connection.
Upgrade Your Internet Package
There comes a point where there are so many members of the household watching Netflix, gaming, jumping on video calls, or just doing general internet stuff that it makes sense to upgrade. Jumping from 25Mbps to 75Mbps is a pretty big deal, and sometimes you just want to watch fragment-free TV without checking to see if anyone else in the house is doing the same thing. You’ve earned that, right?