Learn Why the Speed of Your Wi-Fi Network Fluctuates

How to combat network slowdown at home

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When your Wi-Fi slows to a crawl at certain times of the day, the slowdown may be caused by your internet service provider instead of your local home network. It's not uncommon for internet connections to slow down during peak usage hours —typically early evenings— but local wireless networks themselves usually don't have this problem. However, it can happen. Here's what to look for. 

Why a Network Slows Down

Possible explanations for why your home network may slow down include:

  • Interference from a neighbor's network that's active at the same time of day
  • Devices on the network that are scheduled to run daily backups on your home network while you are on your computer 
  • Malware that is running inside your home
  • An increase in the number of devices that are simultaneously streaming content or playing online games in the home
  • You may be accessing the network from a location further away from the router than usual

Things to Do to Speed Up Your Wi-Fi Network

  • Schedule backups and large downloads at a time you are asleep.
  • Keep your router's firmware and your computer's anti-virus up to date.
  • Password protect your router so your neighbors aren't using your bandwidth without your knowledge.
  • Position your router up high rather than down low and near the area where you usually access the internet.
  • Stay away from electronic devices that might be emitting an electromagnetic field, such as smart lighting, microwave ovens, and holiday lights. Even improperly shielded Bluetooth devices could be slowing down your network

    If you can't identify any of these possible causes fn your home for the intermittent speed reduction of your network, download an internet speed test and record the speeds at which you can access the internet at good times and at slow times. After a few days, if a pattern emerges, contact your internet service provider and ask for help determining if its service is slowing down your internet speed at the times you identify.