Are These Common Home Appliances Slowing Down Your Internet Speed?

Author: Kirstin Toms - MarCom/Monday, April 6, 2020/Categories: Home Internet

“It feels like the whole country is using the Internet right now!” Have you uttered those words recently?

You’re trying to host a video conference, but you are competing for bandwidth on your wireless internet connection with your daughter doing distance learning, your son playing Xbox, and your spouse streaming the latest binge-worthy series.

Bandwidth issues and slow Internet speed may be infuriating for those who suddenly find themselves working remotely, homeschooling, and trying to make life feel as normal as possible amidst the threats of COVID-19.

In normal times, your wireless Internet connection was lightning fast and more than enough to deliver a seamless experience, whether you were playing video games, watching movies, or just surfing the Web. It was once hard to tell the difference in Internet speed between your wired Internet connection from Consolidated Communications and your wireless connection.

How to Boost Your Internet Speed During the Pandemic

While latency, low bandwidth, and a slow wired or wireless Internet connection may seem like small concerns amidst global worries, it is a very real problem in many homes today.

But there may be something you can do about it. More home devices than you realize are tapping into that precious bandwidth. By turning them off, you may be able to boost your internet speed and get back to business as (mostly) usual.

Some home appliances may affect your bandwidth without even tapping into Wifi themselves. Let’s look at these categories of devices and appliances to see which you should turn off during the pandemic to leave bandwidth for the online activities that matter to your family.

Appliances That Use Bandwidth in Your Home

Every smart appliance you have that’s connected to the internet, even when it’s idle, is using some bandwidth. If you have a sophisticated home automation system, it’s going to use more than a single smart speaker like Google Home or Amazon Alexa.

Consider how many of these smart devices you have in your home — and which you can unplug when not in use — to maximize your home’s bandwidth:

  • thermostat
  • refrigerator
  • video doorbell
  • security cameras
  • lightbulbs
  • plugs to power any appliance

How to Minimize Bandwidth Use of Smart Appliances

Devices that share or display videos, such as doorbells, cameras, or baby monitors, will use more bandwidth than something like a lightbulb. You can reduce the bandwidth used by cameras by reducing the resolution or turning off functionality to save videos to the cloud.

Devices like Google Home and Amazon Alexa can be tricky. If you aren’t using them, they will use very little bandwidth. Streaming music all day, however, could be using bandwidth that you may wish to put toward other endeavors like distance learning or that conference call. It’s worth noting that Google Home’s “Cast” feature can use a lot of bandwidth in a short amount of time when it transfers data.

Devices That May Affect Your Router and Internet Speed

Some devices and appliances that don’t live on your home’s network may also slow your Internet down because they interfere with your router. Electrical dimmer switches (even if they are manual rather than smart), decorative lights, LEDs, computer monitors, and television sets can all interfere with your router.

Likewise, devices that emit wireless signals, such as a cordless phone or baby monitor, may also interfere with your router. While it may feel like a good choice to keep your router next to your computer, you may want to reconsider, especially if that also puts it near other appliances, such as a cordless phone on your desk, that could affect internet speeds.

Need a Boost in Internet Speed?

Take heart. The pandemic won’t go on forever and eventually, the kids will go back to school, people will return to their offices, and residential Internet usage will drop to normal. But it’s always a good idea to have more bandwidth than you think your family needs. Consolidated Communications offers broadband packages to fit the Internet habits of any user and their family.


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