In the past few years, there have been several high-profile cases of denial-of-service attacks that affected thousands of people at once. In 2015, an attack on Twitter knocked the social media company offline for about an hour.
A year later, a similar attack took down Amazon’s cloud computing service and Netflix during Thanksgiving weekend. And in 2017, a hacker group known as Lizard Squad claimed responsibility for taking down both PlayStation Network and Xbox Live by launching a series of denial-of-service attacks against Sony and Microsoft’s gaming platforms over Christmas Eve weekend.
But what exactly is a denial-of-service attack? What does it mean when you see your Wi-Fi slowing down? We’ll answer those questions below so you can protect yourself from getting caught up in one.
Here’s If Someone Can Slow Down Your Wi-Fi:
Wi-Fi is limited by the laws of physics, and the speed of the connection can vary depending on how many people are using it at once. It’s also true that some people may have better service than others because their routers are placed in better locations or because they have newer hardware.
How Come My Wi-Fi Is Slower Sometimes?
Different factors affect the speed and stability of your connection to the Wi-Fi router. While mileage may vary, the throttling down of speed can cause unpleasing results.
Router Firmware and Hardware
First of all, your Router might be old and not up to par with the current standards. Often, routers more than five years old no longer have firmware that meets the latest systems.
You may need to change your Wi-Fi router for this.
Another possible culprit would be the hardware used by the Router:
- The cables used to connect the Router from outside may have some physical wear that can affect the stability of the connection.
- You may also want to check the Router’s antenna to see if it is strong enough to send a signal to your house or office.
The second factor to consider is the placement of the Wi-Fi router. While it goes without saying that the closer you are to the Router, the faster your connection is, there are other considerations.
While you can be close to the Router, the speed is hampered when there are obstructions between you and the Wi-Fi router.
Like any other wireless device, Wi-Fi connections can be interrupted when metal, wood, concrete, or drywall blocks the signal between your devices and the Router.
If the obstructions are thick, they can cause your signal to drop, even when not too far from the Router.
It’s recommended that you try and minimize these obstructions. If not, stay clear.
In relation, the height of the Router’s position also affects the speed of your connection. The lower the placement, the higher chances that you’ll experience slow connections. Some people mount their routers in high places, such as walls or shelves, which also lessens obstructions.
External Factors that affect Internet Speed
There are also factors outside your Router that can affect the speed of your connection.
The first thing to look at is how many devices are connected to your Router. Most routers issued to residences are not designed to handle a large volume of connections, unlike those found in malls or even offices. And even routers used at home have different capacities, too.
That said, if you have plenty of devices connected, you are bound to have a slowdown in the performance of your Internet connection.
And if those devices are also using Internet-reliant apps, then all the more, you can expect a slow connection.
It would be best to reduce the apps you use and possibly the number of devices connected to the Router.
Note that smart home devices also eat up space on your Router, which can slow down your Internet connection. It would help if you streamlined these devices to ensure a smooth connection.
Another external factor is Digital Interference. This interference happens when other radio signals mix with the Wi-Fi signal. Because there’s an overlap, your Internet connection gets hampered.
Likewise, suppose you are situated in a building. In that case, there’s a high possibility that fellow tenants are using the same Internet service provider and are likely to be using the same frequency.
Since many devices use the 2.4Ghz frequency, it’s better to use the 5Ghz band since it is specific for Wi-Fi use. This fix comes in handy to connect to less crowded channels.
And lastly, Internet service providers can legally slow down your Internet speed.
Unfortunately, if your service provider finds that you are using too much bandwidth, they can opt to slow down your connection. The United States Supreme Court had ruled in favor of striking down net neutrality, which legalized speed throttling for consumers using too much bandwidth.
Can Strangers Access A Secure Wi-Fi network?
In theory, security can only be accessed by people given proper authorization through a password. But it’s a different matter if your Wi-Fi password is easy to guess.
If you’re looking to have a secure connection, the best solution is to hide your network.
Hidden networks are Wi-Fi connections that are not detected by scanning. You can access them by manually typing the name of the network and the password. Once you gain access to hidden networks, you will automatically connect to them without being prompted for the credentials.
Only when the password or network name is changed will you lose access to the hidden network.
Can Other People Affect My Wi-Fi Speed?
Having many people connected on a single router will slow down your connection. Especially for household Wi-Fi networks, these routers are not designed to handle a large volume of connections. These routers have a limit on the number of devices.
How Do I Check If Someone Interferes With My Wi-Fi Connection?
It’s hard to check if any device’s interfering directly with your Wi-Fi connection. But you can check if there’s an unauthorized device connected to your network. The following the following steps can show you if someone is interfering or if it might be another issue:
Wi-Fi Detective Apps
You can download Wi-Fi detective apps that can search your network and list all connected devices to your network. These apps install on your smartphone and list the names of the devices currently connected to your Wi-Fi. Once you identify the unauthorized device, you can then disconnect it.
Using your Wi-Fi router’s interface
Newer routers would have a smartphone app to look for devices connected to them.
You can use this to scan for any unauthorized device connected to the Router.
Using a dual-band router, you will see which frequency each device is linked to.
If your Router does not have an app, you can log into the control panel using a web browser. You need to have your Router’s admin username and password for this step. Take note that this is different from your log-in credentials for your Wi-Fi.
To log into the control panel, you need to enter the Router’s IP address, usually http://192.168.0.1/. You may verify this with the user’s manual of your Router. Once you log into the control panel using the admin username and password, look for the Network Map, User Log, or Client List, which will contain the list of devices connected to the Router.
Once you get the list, you can remove unauthorized devices. You will get the option to block, ban or remove the device.
A quick way to remove all devices from the network is to change the Wi-Fi password.
Can You Control How Much Internet Speed A Device Can Have?
Some routers allow you to control the priority of a device when it comes to bandwidth. The process differs per device, so you need to check with the router manufacturer to see if it allows prioritization of bandwidth.
For the most part, you will have to set this under the QoS section in the Router’s control panel.
You can set which device gets high priority with the bandwidth and which gets low priority. This feature is good, especially if you need to reduce the connection of a device that isn’t too reliant on an Internet connection.
Can You Stop Neighbors From Interfering With Your Wi-Fi?
While there is a strong possibility that existing wireless connections may overlap with your Wi-Fi network, you can always talk to them if you’re having any connection issues that you believe are caused by their devices.
Wi-Fi networks that use the open authentication method are unsecured, which means anyone within range can connect to them. You may have noticed this when using public Wi-Fi; it’s common for these networks to be named something like “Free Public WiFi” or “Wifi.”
This type of network doesn’t require a password and uses an unencrypted connection, meaning that anyone within range can easily steal your data.
WPA2 networks use encryption methods to secure your data and prevent unauthorized access. These security measures aren’t perfect — they’re not meant to be impenetrable — but they’re better than having no security at all.
How Can I Improve Wi-Fi Speed?
Before improving your Wi-Fi connection, it’s essential to know how much speed your Internet subscription can provide.
Often, the rate advertised is the maximum possible connection. Thus, you can expect slightly lower speeds when using Wi-Fi, and you’re like to get the advertised speed when using a LAN connection.
Once you know how much speed you can get, you can tweak things to get the optimal rate based on your subscription.
Do a Power cycle
A power cycle helps refresh the resources of your devices to improve performance. When power cycling, start with your modem first. Unplug your modem and wait for 30 seconds, then restart it.
Do the same with your Router if you use a separate unit from the modem. While the Router is off, turn off the Wi-Fi connection of all devices, then turn it on again.
Power cycles are recommended after every few months. Plan them wisely, as this shuts down your Internet connection for a few minutes.
There might be some people who may need the connection at that time.
Change your Router’s location.
As pointed out earlier, Wi-Fi routers benefit from open spaces inside your house. You should ensure that it is placed at a central location where there would be fewer hindrances, such as walls and other large furniture. You also want to put it on an elevated spot since there is less likely any opportunity for the signals to get blocked.
Another thing to consider is that the spot you designate would also be free from objects that emit radio waves, such as cordless phones, baby monitors, microwave ovens, and Bluetooth speakers.
When you set up the Router, also consider where the devices will be placed with respect to the former’s position and the whole house or building. For this part, you need to adjust the antenna’s position of your Router.
The antenna of your Router emits signals in all directions perpendicular to the antenna.
If the antenna is upright, the signal is sent across the area. If the antenna is horizontal, the signal spreads from top to bottom.
If your objective is also to send signals to the loft or mezzanine of your place, you may want to position the antenna horizontally.
Use different Wi-Fi frequencies
Many of the new routers today have two (2) frequency bands: 2.4 and 5GHz. You can think of these bands as roads of different sizes, allowing for various quality connections. The 2.4GHz is the most used in routers and the exact frequency used by other devices, such as radios and baby monitors.
To give you an idea of the performance of each frequency, 2.4GHz tends to be slower but can reach longer distances. The 5GHz frequency is the opposite, as it is faster but has a shorter range.
If distance were not an issue, it would be best if you assigned particular devices to specific frequencies.
To help you identify which device should be on specific frequencies, reserve the 2.4GHz frequency for less intensive devices, such as smart speakers, smart home hubs, and security cameras.
The 5GHz is better used on more intensive devices, such as gaming consoles, computers, smartphones, and smart TVs.
Use Wi-Fi extensions
There will come to a point when your Router might not be enough to reach your room on the second floor or basement. You will need to add more points that can help improve Wi-Fi strength so that it does not compromise the speed of your device.
With that in mind, you can use Wi-Fi boosters to amplify any Wi-Fi signal present, Wired Access Points, which can improve both wireless and Ethernet connections, or Powerline extender kits, which allow you to send Internet signals through electrical wiring and to another room which needs better connectivity.
Considering the possible options here, the best one depends on your floor plan.
If only one area has a problem, Wi-Fi boosters should be sufficient. Wired Access Points are best for Ethernet-dependent connections, including a second router, while Powerline Extenders are suitable for more complex home layouts.
Disconnect unnecessary devices
As more devices equate to slower speeds, you need to trim down unnecessary connections to your network. The easiest way to do this is to change your Wi-Fi password, then log in with the new password. Or you can eliminate them individually in your router control panel.
Change the Wi-Fi frequency channel.
Read further if you’re willing to alter some settings on your Router’s control panel. Otherwise, you can skip this step.
Each Wi-Fi frequency has different channels within it. The 2.4GHz frequency has 11 channels, while the 5GHz has 45. By default, the Router gives you the best channel, but sometimes, you may have to do this yourself.
Frequency channels get congested, too, especially if you live in a building with tenants using the same channel on the 2.4GHz band, which can affect your speed.
If you are running Mac OS, you can press the Option button and click the Wi-Fi icon on the menu bar. You’ll get the best channel available, which you can switch to on the Router’s control panel. For those running Windows, you can use apps like NetSpot, which lists the channels and their qualities.
Update the Firmware
Your Router could use a firmware update when available. It helps improve performance and eliminates any bugs found in its system. If you use the Router that came with your provider, the firmware is likely updated regularly.
But for those who use a third-party router, it pays to update the firmware on your own. You can check your Router’s control panel and turn on the automatic updates.
Replace the stock router
Sometimes the stock router or modem you get from the provider might not be up to par with the current standards.
If you are renting a router from your Internet provider, having a store-bought router helps you save money and better control your settings.
Upgrade your Internet subscription
If the suggestions listed do not give you the desirable results, it might be time to upgrade your Internet subscription. While you try to make do with what you already have, it will come to the point that it can no longer cut it, hence the need to get a better subscription plan.
Remember that speeds advertised are “up to X Mbps,” which means that it’s not 100 percent guaranteed that you get the whole nine yards.
The answer to this question isn’t always clear and simple. There are many factors that can affect your wireless internet speed and range, including interference from other devices in your home (phones, microwaves) or outside of your home (wireless doorbells).
But one of the most common causes of slow Wi-Fi is interference from other wireless networks.
Read our blog here about do video games slow down wi-fi?
- High-Speed Internet: Improve Your Wi-Fi Speed in 10 Simple Steps
- Business Insider: How to tell if someone is stealing your Wi-Fi and how to stop them
- How To Geek: Why Is My Internet So Slow?
- Lifewire: Limit Bandwidth On Your Router