Get all the band­width on a shared net­work


Mar­tyn Casserly re­veals how you can im­prove the speed of your web con­nec­tion on a shared net­work

Us­ing ap­pli­ca­tions such as Skype, Net­flix, YouTube or online gam­ing re­quires a fast in­ter­net con­nec­tion to run smoothly. This can be hard to main­tain if you share your con­nec­tion with fam­ily or flat­mates who also want to down­load large files, stream mu­sic or watch iPlayer. Here we’ll show you how to get all, or at least a pre­mium slice, of the band­width on a shared net­work.

Ask oth­ers to stop us­ing the in­ter­net

Be­fore you delve into the tech­ni­cal so­lu­tions for these prob­lems, you could al­ways talk to the peo­ple you live with. If you want to call some­one on Skype, but find that the video keeps freez­ing be­cause Tom in the next room is main­lin­ing the new se­ries of House of Cards, you can al­ways ar­range be­fore­hand to have the con­nec­tion free for a while.

Of course, this works both ways, so you’ll have to stay off­line at some point to re­turn the favour. Do con­sider the fact that the con­nec­tion is shared, so ex­pect­ing oth­ers to keep off the in­ter­net ev­ery night just so that your ping rate on Call of Duty stays as low as pos­si­ble won’t make you a good flat­mate.

Switch from Wi-Fi to eth­er­net

One way to im­prove the con­sis­tency of your con­nec­tion is to plug di­rectly into the router. Wi-Fi may well give you free­dom, but an eth­er­net ca­ble gives you sta­bil­ity and avoids the var­i­ous ob­sta­cles, such as walls, which can ham­per your Wi-Fi ex­pe­ri­ence. To get tech­ni­cal, eth­er­net is full du­plex, but Wi-Fi is only half-du­plex. In essence Wi-Fi is much slower than eth­er­net.

Ideally, you would con­nect your PC or lap­top via an eth­er­net ca­ble into your router, look­ing to see if there is a Gi­ga­bit port marked on the unit. It’s only worth look­ing for a Gi­ga­bit port if your lap­top or PC has a Gi­ga­bit net­work adap­tor of course.

This tip won’t give you pri­or­ity over other users, but will elim­i­nate ran­dom el­e­ments in your house that could cause you to have a re­duced ser­vice. Quite ob­vi­ously, it’s not rel­e­vant for smart­phones or tablets with­out eth­er­net ports.

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