What the Tech? Your New Devices May Be Slowing Down Your Internet
By JAMIE TUCKER Consumer Technology Reporter
Internet speeds have improved across the country, but still, your internet may be too slow for a simple video call. If you’re suddenly having this happen, it might be because of what someone got for Christmas.
If you’re suddenly seeing problems streaming Netflix, or if video games stop loading, it could be your new doorbell, smart TV, or even an Alexa device causing the problem.
Every device that connects to your WiFi router pulls a little bit of bandwidth. It might not be much, but the cumulative total of devices can drag your speeds down. And if it isn’t fast enough, to begin with, you’ll see dropped calls and connection problems.
One fix is to improve your router. If you’re using the same router as a few years ago, it needs updating. WiFi 6 is the latest and fastest router on the market that can supply enough bandwidth for multiple devices. But before you run out to buy one, they’re expensive, there are a few things to try.
First, unplug the router you have for 10 seconds and plug it back in. That’ll load updates. You should do this every few months anyway. Consider a mesh WiFi router. These are placed throughout the house to spread the WiFi signal to hard-to-reach spaces far from the main router.
These WiFi extenders can help. Make sure you place them halfway between the main router and the room having a connection problem. Putting the extender in the room isn’t going to help.
It needs to be close enough to the router for a good connection.
Your primary router should be placed in the center of the house. The installer may have put it in a spot most convenient to them.
If there are computers and phones connecting to WiFi and you suddenly have streaming issues on the TV. Disconnect those small devices from WiFi and run them off the cellular service. If most people are spending more time in the house, you’ll have wireless data to spare.
3 or 4 phones streaming YouTube or Netflix will slow the WiFi connection for everyone else.
Smart TVs. Rokus, Amazon Firesticks, and online video games hog a lot of bandwidth. If you’re using a streaming device, shut it down when you turn off the TV. If they’re playing something on Netflix or another streaming service, they’ll still be connected even after you turn off the TV.
You may notice a difference. If you try all of these things and are still having connection problems, check with your provider to make sure you’re getting the speed you’re paying for. If you try those things and are still having issues, it’s probably time to upgrade your router.