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.