The average U.S. home has 11 Wi-Fi devices. By 2017 it is projected we will have 5 Wi-Fi devices per person. Between cell phones, tablets, computers, TVs, video streaming devices, and Internet capable watches, those statistics shouldn’t surprise anyone. Do we understand how those devices are affecting our Internet connection?
When you order a High Speed Internet connection for your home or business, it generally comes in a designated speed: 15Mbps, 30Mbps, 50Mbps, 100Mbps, etc.
To make a technical discussion a little easier, let’s compare bandwidth to water pressure. The typical home has about 40-45psi of water pressure, which is controlled by a pressure regulator built into your water meter.
If you turn on your kitchen faucet, you will see the full available pressure come pouring out. What would happen, though, if you opened every faucet and shower in your house full-blast and flushed all the toilets at the same time? You would be able to visibly see the water pressure drop.
The same thing happens with your Internet connection. If you only run one Wi-Fi device it will be able to run at full speed. When you add a second device, depending on your Internet speed, you might or might not see a noticeable difference. However, the more devices you add, the more your available Internet speed will get split to provide a partial connection to each device. You will not be able to get full speed on every active device.
Browsing habits also affect your shared Internet connection. If 5 people are just scrolling through their Twitter feed, you probably won’t see a noticeable slow-down, but if they’re all streaming full-HD movies, you will stall the connection.
If you add devices, or your habits go from scrolling to streaming, make sure you’re adding enough Internet speeds to accommodate the changes.