The average home router can handle around 250 connected devices in theory – in practice, as more devices accumulate, bandwidth struggles to cover network needs and slowdowns occur. At home or in the modern office where everyone has multiple mobile devices and where smart devices are common, routers can be overloaded and start to create speed problems.
If there are many new devices that have been connected to your Wi-Fi network and you experience speed issues, you can start limiting the devices that are connected. For newer routers, open your router app and find the list of connected devices. For older routers, enter your IP address in the browser and search to find your administrator settings, where you should look for a section that says Manage devices, restrict access, or something similar. Although the settings may vary, there are several important options to look for here:
Search for unnecessary devices: if the devices do not need to be on your network or if it seems that someone is hijacking your Wi-Fi, you can launch these devices. You can also look for an option to ban their MAC addresses and make sure to change your Wi-Fi password when you’re done. It is not a perfect solution, but it can help quickly remove unknown devices.
Acceleration bandwidth: some routers allow you to choose specific connections to speed up or slow down their speed. In this way, you can give less bandwidth to devices only needed for simple tasks, and more bandwidth to devices used for games and streaming, which reduces speed issues.
Restrict usage: Routers may also have the ability to limit the hours that certain devices are used, which is a good way to ensure that devices don’t take up too much bandwidth during key hours of the day . It is also a reliable way to manage children’s online connections for busy families.
Voice commands: we are seeing more and more devices compatible with voice commands, especially for Alexa. Saying “Alexa, disconnect this device” or “Alexa, turn off Timmy’s Wi-Fi” can be a useful command. Alexa can also help you quickly switch from one router mode to another (chat, games, switchboard, etc.) to prioritize certain activities.
Using Ethernet connections
So far, we are assuming that you need to use Wi-Fi connections in your home. However, if your computer (or other device) is close enough to the router, you should consider using a wired Ethernet connection to the ports on your router. This is a very reliable way to increase speeds, since a wired connection is free from many problems that can cause Wi-Fi slowdowns.
“Flush” your DNS
A DNS (Domain Name System) record keeps track of all the website addresses you visit to improve future visits. However, the DNS records depend on you and the website that remain on their respective servers. If the servers change over time – which happens to many websites – the DNS will actually affect your connection speed because it does not recognize the new server. This is why it can be wise, as they say, to empty your DNS from time to time.
This process does not take long with the right steps. On Windows 10, just search for the command prompt in the search box and open the app. Make sure you run as an administrator! Then type the command line “ipconfig / flushdns” and select Enter. Windows will tell you that the DNS has been deleted.
However, in many cases, a VPN can actually slow down your Internet speeds with its combination of encryption and server hopping. Only try this solution if you are sure that your ISP is suspicious. Fortunately, many VPNs are free to download and activate during a trial period if you wish to test it.
If necessary, upgrade your Wi-Fi system or bandwidth
There are many changes coming to the router market right now, including extended MU-MIMO functionality for better individual connections, Wi-Fi 6 and compatible devices, and more. These new features are ideal for improving speed and performance. The problem is, if your router is a few years old, you probably need to buy a new version to get these upgrades – and make sure your new mobile devices are also compatible.
This helps to find a router solution that is better suited to your situation. For example, mesh routers with multiple router points installed around a house may provide better performance.
You can also simply choose to upgrade your Internet plan to get more bandwidth. Obviously, this involves higher long-term costs, but it makes an immediate difference. You can consult your supplier to see if there are any current offers or discounts you can take advantage of.