Your IP: Unknown · Your Status: Unprotected Protected
Blog How-To

How to increase Wi-Fi bandwidth

Aug 08, 2019 · 4 min read

How to increase Wi-Fi bandwidth

A slow internet connection is frustrating, especially if you don’t know why it’s slow. If your videos suddenly start buffering or web pages take longer than usual to load, chances are you've got low bandwidth.

What is low bandwidth?

Bandwidth is the maximum Mbps transfer rate of your network or internet connection, and it naturally affects how fast your internet is. Any connection over 25 Mbps is considered a good speed, so larger households with 3-5 users should consider speeds around 200-300 Mbps. Low bandwidth is caused by the Mbps rate that your current broadband has, or your bandwidth could be slowed down because too many people are connected to the network and, in some cases, to your device.

Let’s investigate further and find out how to increase your bandwidth to improve your browsing.

Your bandwidth is mostly determined by your device, your router, your Internet Service Provider (ISP), and the bandwidth they promised you. However, even if your contract said that your connection speed would be up to 20 Mbps, that doesn’t mean you will always get maximum bandwidth – especially if you connect multiple devices to the same network and use them all at once. Why?

Your bandwidth is like a two-lane highway where all the cars (data) travel at the same speed. Driving is fun as long as there aren’t too many cars. The more crowded it gets, the slower you’ll go. More lanes, or bandwidth, on the highway can solve the problem.

Is your bandwidth insufficient? Let’s test it

If you think you have a low bandwidth problem, run a speed test and compare the results with the numbers advertised by your ISP. If you only have one device connected to the internet and you are not downloading any files, the results should be close to what you were promised. However, if you tend to have multiple devices connected at once and love streaming videos and sharing files with your friends, it may be that you need more bandwidth.

Here are 3 simple solutions you could try:

  1. If you have a basic internet plan: Upgrade to a better plan with more bandwidth. While you can prioritize some of your existing bandwidth for specific uses by using packet shaping, this will rarely make a significant impact. The only way to get more bandwidth is to buy more.
  2. If your ISP doesn’t offer enough bandwidth for your needs: Ditch it and go to another ISP.
  3. If you don’t want to invest in an upgrade but need more speed: Try limiting the number of devices connected to the internet or ask your family members to pause their downloads for a while. You could also turn off the Wi-Fi and use a wired connection.
  4. How to increase Wi-Fi bandwidth infographic

No luck? Try a few other methods to improve your bandwidth

If you’re satisfied with your internet plan and your internet speeds were fine during your test, the problem might be:

1. Your device

You won’t be able to enjoy a fast internet connection if your machine is unable to process the data it’s receiving. Could it be time to get a new computer or clean up your current one?

We suggest running antivirus scans to remove any malware. Also, if your device storage is really full, cleaning up a little space could also help. Make sure to constantly update your antivirus and antimalware software. You may also need to clear your cache, try using a different browser, or close any background apps that eat up lots of data.

2. Your router

It may be that your router is overworked. Try rebooting it. Some routers also support automatic reboots whenever they’re inactive.

Perhaps the signal is being interfered with. Keep it in an open space and away from walls and other obstructions, or get closer to it. Physical obstacles can weaken the signal and impact the quality of the connection.

Always update your router with firmware updates for the most up-to-date security patches. Also, make sure you haven’t activated any settings that slow down your speed significantly. If your router is very old, consider getting a new one.

3. Your neighbors' Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi equipment communicates over channels that tend to overlap. Try using a different wireless channel that has fewer surrounding users on it. You could also consider getting a dual-bandwidth router that broadcasts on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies.

4. Your ISP

If you notice that your speeds are slower when engaging in specific activities, your ISP could be throttling your connection.

What is bandwidth throttling?

Bandwidth throttling is when an ISP deliberately limits its users’ internet connection bandwidth. Some ISPs curb traffic for users who engage in bandwidth-heavy activities like HD streaming. A VPN can encrypt your traffic so ISPs won’t be able to see what you do and limit your speed. Use a VPN to bypass internet throttling. ISPs will no longer be able to monitor what you do online and, as a result, will not be able to block or limit your connection based on what you’re doing.

How to increase your upload speed

Your upload speed determines the pace at which information from your devices travels to its destination. To improve it, you should:

  • Clear up your device. Remove any unnecessary files and clear your caches. Perform malware scans and remove malicious software and viruses. Make sure to update your antivirus software;
  • Reduce the number of devices connected to your network. They’ll all be competing for bandwidth;
  • Use a wired connection. Wi-FI signals are weaker and can fluctuate due to interference or your physical location;
  • Check your router. See whether it has the right settings and works properly. Update its drivers;
  • Update your drivers on your connected devices.

For more cybersecurity tips and insights, subscribe to our monthly blog newsletter below!

Emily Green
Emily Green successVerified author

Emily Green is a content writer who loves to investigate the latest internet privacy and security news. She thrives on looking for solutions to problems and sharing her knowledge with NordVPN readers and customers.

Subscribe to NordVPN blog