It’s so frustrating when you settle in to binge-watch your latest TV obsession only to find that you don’t have enough bandwidth to stream your show.
These days, the average household has multiple users using multiple devices to get online for everything from paying the bills to playing “Call of Duty.” If you and your roomies simultaneously use Wi-Fi for gaming, video chats, or watching movies, your bandwidth could get clogged.
Sharing Wi-Fi with roommates can be aggravating – but you don’t have to put up with it anymore.
How much Internet speed is enough?
The first step to solving your Wi-Fi woes is determining how fast your Internet connection should be to support all the online activity in your home. The number of devices using Wi-Fi, and what they’re using it for, will determine the appropriate speed to accommodate everyone’s online activity.
For a household of three people who regularly stream video and audio, constantly check in on social media via smartphone, and frequently download large files, a speed of about 30 Mbps will get the job done. If gaming is added into the mix, you might need faster speeds.
Getting the right Internet speed is the first step to solving your bandwidth blues. But sometimes, no matter how much bandwidth you have, there never seems to be enough. If your bandwidth doesn’t go as far as it used to, you may have a roommate who’s hogging it all.
But before you launch into what could well become the roomie equivalent of World War III, you need to make sure your suspicions are warranted.
How do I know if my roommate is hogging bandwidth?
To keep your living arrangement pleasant, you don’t want to accuse your roommate without evidence. But it can be tricky to determine who is using your Wi-Fi and how much they’re using. The most straightforward solution is to talk to your roommate about your concerns.
If right now all you have is a hunch, getting some solid facts will be helpful. Luckily, there are some fairly simple ways to take a peek at your Internet usage to discover who the culprit is. You can monitor your Internet access right from your PC or laptop.
Start with a bandwidth monitoring app that tells you your current Internet speeds and how much bandwidth you’re using. However, many of those apps don’t help you track down individual usage that can help you identify the true Wi-Fi hog.
To get specific usage data, try an online tool like NetWorx, a free program that helps you monitor all your network connections. You can narrow it down to just Wi-Fi connections, and set up alerts that let you know when the network is down or experiencing unusual activity (like really high usage). The tool even lets you automatically shut down all connections and reboot the system.
If you want to bring visual aids to your sit-down with your roommate, NetWorx will generate charts and reports that can help you show how their incessant gaming is sucking all the life out of your high-speed Internet connection.
How can I make sure we all have enough bandwidth?
Have a heart-to-heart with your roommate. Let her know your concerns and frustrations, and ask what kind of solution she thinks is fair.
It can be touchy when you split the wireless bill evenly but one of you is using all the bandwidth or data. Acknowledge that her online activities are important, but the current setup is interfering with your ability to equitably use the Wi-Fi.
Hopefully your roommate is reasonable and you can come up with a solution that involves closer monitoring, a schedule for activities that eat up a lot of bandwidth, or each of you arranging your own online access.
If talking it out doesn’t work, you may have to take more drastic measures. You can block software that uses a ton of bandwidth or lowers the threshold for download speeds. There are also ways to block your roommate’s usage of ports for specific remote servers that are not common ones like HTTPS, SMTP, and those used for email.
There’s definitely a risk to going covert with your Wi-Fi hogging resolution, as your roomie may feel sabotaged and wonder why you didn’t just talk to her in the first place. Either way, you’re going to end up having a conversation, so be prepared to tone down your emotions and focus on a solution that won’t end with one of you moving out.
Solving roommate issues is never easy, but taking an informed approach that addresses the problem instead of assigning blame will get you queuing up for that weekend watch-a-thon in no time.
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