Your internet connection is like a freeway

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Just like it is not recommended to haul a loaded horse trailer with a compact car, neither is it recommended to have too many internet connected devices on a basic internet connection at the same time. Most US homes have an average of 7 devices connected at one time. There’s your computer, laptop, the Ipad and the kindle, the xbox and wii, the smart TV, the blue ray player and what about the home monitoring system? Don’t forget each member of the family also has a smart phone!

So now that you’ve counted all of the devices that could be using your internet connection, do you know how much each one is using at any given time? It may be more than you think.

Think of your internet speed like a freeway. If you have 1Mbps service, then you have a one lane freeway. If you have 6 Mbps service, then you have a six-lane freeway and so on. According to the speed chart, if one person is using YouTube that takes up 3 Mbps, that person is using up three lanes of your six lane internet freeway, leaving only 3 lanes free for other users, or devices. But if you have three active devices each needing 3 Mbps to perform the requested duties, that requires 9 lanes of internet freeway and you only have 6 lanes.

This means that one or more devices will have to switch off sharing lanes, causing congestion and an internet traffic jam. This is why understanding the number of internet connected devices you have and what level of internet speed you subscribe to is important. If you have several people using the same high-speed internet connection at the same time over multiple devices, your speed requirements can add up quickly.

The family in the picture is using 17 Mbps with each person doing one thing on each of their devices. It is not counting the smart phone silently updating all of its apps, the idle tablet notifying its user about a new post on Facebook, or the family computer backing up files behind the scenes.

So if your internet connection seems slow, count how many devices are attempting to access it at the same time. Then ask if you subscribe to enough speed for all of these devices. Of course, you could turn unnecessary devices off to free up room for other items… but if all of the devices and their activities are necessary, you may want to consider an increase to your high-speed internet subscription.