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Factors that affect Internet connection speed

You always want to get the fastest, most reliable connection on your home WiFi network. But we're now connecting more devices than ever before. Things like smart phones, smart TVs, security systems, and other smart devices (doorbells, light bulbs, power outlets, motion sensors). Some of these devices are even used 24/7.

Sometimes it feels like we aren't getting the speeds that we should be, like when a video buffers or a file takes longer than expected to download. It's still possible there is something wrong with your home WiFi or Internet connection, but there are other factors that could be affecting your experience.

The amount of speed required

A minimum speed is required for certain online activities. We'll use video streaming as an example of this. If you upgrade the quality of your streaming experience, you'll need a faster minimum Internet speed to keep up.

Below are Netflix's minimum requirements for streaming. Other streaming platforms have similar recommendations.

Video Quality Resolution  Netflix Recommends 
 SD 480p  3 Mbps 
HD  720p - 1080p  5 Mbps 
Ultra/4k  above 4,000p  25 Mbps 

Even if your Internet package has an advertised download speed higher than the recommendation, you still could see issues due to several factors, which we'll tackle below.

Number of devices on your network

Every device that is active on your WiFi network will eat up some of your overall bandwidth. For example, if you have a 20Mbps download speed with your Internet package, 4 devices technically could stream Netflix in HD under perfect conditions. Likely though, this won't be the case as every device would need the best connection possible, which is almost impossible on a home wireless network. Each device will have to be solely streaming HD Netflix, not using your wireless connection for any background tasks (many apps operate even when not in use).

Distance from your modem or router

Most devices now use a wireless Internet connection. The further you move from your modem or router, the more deteriorated your signal will be. Your device may achieve maximum speeds next to the router, but down the hall physical objects like walls will slow down that connection. We take a deeper dive into this in a previous blog post.

Your device's protocol or age

The device that's connected to the Internet could also be limiting your speeds. For example, Apple and Android smart phones and tablets have maximum WiFi speeds that they are able to support.

How do I improve my network?

So how do you improve your home WiFi network? First of all, make sure you have an Internet package that can keep up with your home's demand. Here are 3 things you can do to improve your Internet package and experience.

1. Pair your modem with a router
A router routes your physical Internet connection from one physical connection to multiple devices. A router will also add more protection to your devices.

2. Upgrade your Internet to get more bandwidth and faster speeds

If you've added additional devices to your network, together they will take up more of your bandwidth. Make sure your Internet package has enough bandwidth to handle all of your online activities and all of your devices.

3. Upgrade to Enhanced WiFi

A WiFi Enhancer will extend your wireless signal throughout your home and property. Your WiFi signal will go further without being deteriorated. Learn more here.