How do I maximize my internet speed with everyone at home?

Do you suddenly have multiple people in your house working from home, schooling from home, taking ballet or piano lessons via video, and hanging out with friends on digital group chats? Many households are facing similar challenges, stretching the limits of their internet connection. If your new stay-at-home lifestyle is causing your home network to slow down, here are some tips to help you speed it back up.

Consider all of the devices using your internet 

The list may be way longer than you realize, including not only smartphones and computers, but also: 

  • Google Home/Amazon Alexa
  • Smart Home devices
  • Security devices (cameras, Ring doorbells)
  • Tiles and other GPS trackers for keys, etc.
  • Smart Air purifiers
  • Smart TVs
  • Smart appliances such as refrigerators and ovens

Consider turning some of them off when not in use to maximize bandwidth.

Minimize streaming during work and school hours

Ensure all devices are fully turned off (not just paused) when not in use. These include:

  • Netflix, Hulu, YouTube TV and other video streaming services
  • Interactive gaming systems (time to break out the old Monopoly board?)
  • Music streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify 

Limit the number of devices connected at the same time

Consider having family members stagger their online schedules or work in “shifts,” for instance.

Minimize VPN useage

Depending on your employer, you may need a VPN connection to access secure corporate systems and data. However, many work applications like Outlook, MS Teams and web browsing do not require the VPN connection. Your speed and performance may improve when the VPN is not connected, so try to use it only when necessary. For example, group together tasks that require the VPN connection, and then turn it off when those tasks are complete.

Finally, limit your uploading and downloading of large files during the work/school day, and schedule cloud-based backups to happen overnight to free up daytime bandwidth.

It may take some planning and practice, but by following these guidelines, you can optimize your home connection and make it possible for everyone in your household to keep their lives running — online.

Still not getting the internet strength you need?

Have you tried everything and are just not getting the performance you need? There are a couple of popular solutions you might consider:

  • Some households choose to add a second internet line, which can be used exclusively for streaming media or working/schooling from home, for instance. This can free up bandwidth for other activities or members of the family, and is a good solution when it's not possible to limit connected devices or adjust the hours you need to be online.
  • In some cases, it is your WiFi signal that is slowing you down, not your internet connection. If you find that your service is weak in parts of your home that are farther away from your router, a WiFi extender kit can increase your signal coverage over a larger area.
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