It can be an extremely frustrating thing to deal with, but it is something that most of us have contended with at some time. Those fluctuating Wi-Fi speeds can result in slower downloads and any number of other issues.
But why does that happen? If you have been wondering, “Why does my Wi-Fi speed fluctuate so much?” there are actually a couple of reasons why this might be happening.
Why Does My Wi-Fi Speed Fluctuate?
Having a fluctuating Wi-Fi speed is a common issue. What you may not have known is that there are a plethora of different reasons why this may be happening. Here are some of the most common issues with that fluctuation.
Without a doubt, the most common reason for those fluctuating speeds is due to the router location. It is important that you place your router in a place that is not only central to your home but also free of devices or signal blockers that can cause interference with the radio waves that your router is putting out.
Some of these devices might include things like microwaves, radios, and obstructions like walls. Your router should also be up off of the floor because the signals that travel through the ground can also be potential blockers, which will contribute to that slower speed.
Most of the wireless devices that you look for will have one of two channels in use: 2.4GHz or 5GHz. Most people don’t know the difference, and that can be understandable. That said, most of the devices that you use—smartphones, laptops, routers, and more—will all use the 2.4GHz channel. It is the best for long-range wireless communications.
The 5GHz channel is better for short-range connections, though it is open to the public. That said, the latter is definitely the least congested of the two. The more devices that you have on a certain band, the slower the speed will be.
There are a number of settings that come with your router as well. How the router is configured can definitely have an impact on the speed that you get. There is the maximum output, which means that you won’t exceed the max speed from your router.
There is also the number of devices that are connected. Most routers will offer the same speed regardless of device, which means that the amount of data you consume on your smartphone is the same as your laptop, etc. You can prioritize data use for certain devices, especially if you use one more than another.
How to Fix Fluctuating Internet Speed?
Now that we know the answer to “Why does my Wi-Fi speed fluctuate so much?” it is time to fix the problem. The good news is that there are a number of different means through which you can implement a fix.
Move Your Router
As talked about in the section above, one of the most common reasons for your Wi-Fi speed dropping has to do with the location of the router. You simply may have your router in a less than ideal space, and moving it can help.
If you have it on the floor, get it off the floor. Move away from walls and other potential areas that could cause interruption to the transfer of data. It is a simple thing, but it definitely can have an impact on the way that your Wi-Fi operates.
Update the Router Firmware
Another simple means for ensuring that your Wi-Fi is running optimally is to ensure that the router is running the proper firmware. There are updates that come out regularly that will fix some bugs and also include things like essential security patches, all of which can make your speeds faster and even help to solve certain connection issues.
If you are experiencing issues on a particular device, make sure to check that device for any updates that may be outstanding. Most of the devices that connect to your system will have app and system updates. Just check to make sure that all of the requisite updates have been installed.
Because of the aforementioned different channels, it could just be a case of switching to a less congested channel. The most commonly used channel is the 2.4GHz since they are common in home Wi-Fi networks.
Having different channel options can also lead to using the wrong option. There are guides out there for which channel might be the best one for your needs.
If you notice that there is a drop in speed at certain times of the day, then you might be overloading the bandwidth. Video streaming, online gaming, large downloads, and other bandwidth hogs are the places to check first.
Also, look into your router settings or third-party data options. It can show you where the greatest bandwidth consumption is coming from. This can allow you to get a better idea of where you are running into issues and how you can potentially resolve them.
Related to the bandwidth is also the potential for malware. Malware can slow things down, which means that you need to ensure that you have the proper protection on your computer (a virus scan and antivirus software is a must).
If you have been struggling with your Wi-Fi speed fluctuating from time to time, there are a few reasons why that might be happening. From the location of your router to band type and several other reasons in between, these can all cause speeds to rise and fall.
The good news is that there are a number of different things that you can do to fix the issue. While it might not be the worst thing in the world to contend with, it can be an annoyance for sure.