How to Limit the Wi-Fi Speed Of Certain Devices?

This is how to limit the Wi-Fi speed of certain devices.

Is your little brother watching cat videos all day long and slowing down the internet?

If you want to know how to slow down certain devices, then you’re in the right place.

Let’s dive right in!

Table of Contents

How to Limit the Wi-Fi Speed Of Certain Devices?

With so many devices in the house and only one internet connection, things can get tricky.

Everyone wants to watch their show, play their game, download their files, or do their work without interruptions. But, what happens when we all want those things at the same time?

We’ve all been there—it’s almost more frustrating to have a laggy connection than to have no connection at all.

And, let’s face it, not all devices need to be using up the same amount of bandwidth. 

Someone who uses the internet to read the news and google things doesn’t need the same internet speed as streaming games or TV shows.

So, how do you limit the Wi-Fi speed of certain devices?

About Internet Speeds and What Affects Them

Your internet speed is presented in two variables: 

  • Download speed
  • Upload speed 

Download speed refers to how quickly data can travel from the internet to your router. The upload speed tells you how quickly it goes in the other direction.

It’s measured in Mbps (Megabits per second), and the FCC considers anything above 25 Mbps “high-speed internet.”

This, of course, refers to download speeds as they’re the ones that dictate how efficiently you can browse, play games, and consume content in other ways. 

There is much less competition in upload speeds because people consume much more content online than they produce.

So, what causes your Wi-Fi speeds to drop?

Obviously, the key issue here is network crowding. When you have multiple devices connected simultaneously, they need to share the bandwidth, which results in slower speeds for everyone.

Group of girls using their smartphones outdoors.

You might think that idle devices (e.g., smartphones on standby) don’t take up bandwidth. 

You’re probably right, but there’s a big chance that your smartphones are doing some background stuff while idle, such as: 

  • Updating/syncing apps
  • Backing up data to the cloud drive

The fewer devices connected to the network, the better.

Other than that, your Wi-Fi speeds can be affected by things like: 

  • How you’ve positioned your router
  • The distance between your device and router
  • The time of the day

That’s why it’s always recommended to use ethernet cables if you want a stable connection. It doesn’t depend on other devices and people as much, and it provides you an uninterrupted browsing experience.

Wi-Fi: General Rules and Issues

You need to understand a few key things when it comes to Wi-Fi and the way it works.

Most importantly, you need to view Wi-Fi as an atypical internet connection. 

Unlike cable, DSL, and fiber internet, Wi-Fi doesn’t deliver data through physical infrastructure. It transforms the data into radio waves that it transmits over frequencies to the device you’re using.

Why is this important?

Well, for starters, radio waves aren’t stable. They can’t travel through walls (at least not efficiently), and they can be affected by other devices that work on the same frequencies. They also get weaker the further away you are, which you probably noticed.

All this goes to show that if you’re looking for a reliable, fast internet connection for gaming or streaming, you’ll be much better off with a cable.

2.4 GHz vs. 5 GHz Wi-Fi

That being said, Wi-Fi is getting faster.

New Wi-Fi protocols have 5 GHz connections that can achieve incredible speeds of over 5 Gbps, downloading a game like GTA V in a few seconds. 

However, those speeds are theoretical, and most Wi-Fi connections will rarely achieve their maximum speed.

An important thing to consider when talking about Wi-Fi speeds is the difference between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz connections. 

While 2.4 GHz connections have a more comprehensive range, they’re typically slower and can hardly go up to 50 Mbps. 

On the other hand, a 5 GHz connection will go up to 150 Mbps, but it won’t cover such a wide area.

So, if you’re thinking about changing things around when it comes to your Wi-Fi speeds, check which frequency your router has (most modern ones have both) and which one you’re connecting to.

How Many People Can Use Wi-Fi at the Same Time?

You might be thinking that your router can only support so many devices at the same time.

Theoretically, this is far from true. You’ll find that most modern routers can support 250 connections at the same time.

Yes, you read that right! But, here’s the thing: this is only theoretical.

In practice, most ISPs (Internet Service Providers) will allow no more than 50 connections. That’s still plenty for a household, right?

Again, this is highly debatable. Suppose you have a few (four or five) devices connected simultaneously, and those devices are active. In that case, you’ll likely run into some problems. 

Group Businessmen Smartphones

Several devices downloading, streaming, and running bandwidth-consuming processes can overheat access points and mess with your speeds.

How Can You Limit the Wi-Fi Speed Of Certain Devices?

Now back to our original question: how can you limit the Wi-Fi bandwidth for certain devices connected to the same router.

There are several options to do this, and they all require you to access your router settings on your laptop or PC. If you’re not sure how to do this, here is a detailed guide.

Man using his white laptop while working on the table.

When you do that, you can try one of the following settings:

Modern Routers: Speed Limit Rate

If you’re lucky, your router will have a fairly straightforward way for you to limit the speed of the devices using it.

For example, some Huawei routers have an option called Limit Rate that allows you to do this in just a few clicks. You simply:

  1. Go to the Manage Devices page;
  2. Toggle Limit Rate on;
  3. And manually set limit rates.

That way, you can always make sure that specific devices don’t use the bandwidth they don’t need, but others get the best service.

QoS Settings

It’s more likely that your router won’t have the Limit Rate setting laid out so simply.

You’ll probably have to do this manually in the QoS (Quality of Service) settings. These settings allow you to do other things as well—such as splitting your router’s frequencies into separate 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz connections.

Here’s how you use QoS settings to limit the speed of devices:

  1. First, you may need to enable QoS. This is simple: just go to “QoS”, then “QoS Settings”, and select “Enable QoS.”
  2. In the QoS, find something similar to “Rules,” “Rules list,” etc. Adding a new rule will allow you to tell your router how to treat devices from different IP addresses.
  3. At this point, you’ll need to give your PC or laptop a static IP address, so the router knows to always prioritize the device on this address. Enter that IP address and set the maximum speed your ISP allows.
  4. Finally, you want to do the same thing for other IP addresses, only limit their speeds (instead of entering max speeds as we did above). You can do this by entering IP address ranges (e.g., from 192.168.1.101 to 192.168.1.199) and entering the limits you want.

Essentially, what you’re doing here is telling your router:

“For this one device that always uses the same IP address, don’t place a limit when it comes to maximum speeds. For all other devices that may come from any IP address that ranges from X to Y, limit the download and upload speeds to the given value.”

Bandwidth Control Options

Bandwidth control options are similar to QoS settings, only you arrive at them differently.

  1. Navigate to “Advance Routing” and find the “Bandwidth Control” setting.
  2. You might need to set your DHCP server to “Off”—you’ll likely find this among your main tabs. When you do this, you’ll be able to manually tweak settings and assign an IP for each device.
  3. The rest of the process is the same—give your device a static IP address and give it the maximum speed. Then set IP ranges and place limits on their max speeds.

How Do You Speed Up Your Wi-Fi?

Apart from limiting bandwidth for individual devices, you can use some other tricks to improve Wi-Fi speeds for all users.

  • Position your router properly: if your Wi-Fi is in the corner of your living room, chances are you’ll be getting a weaker signal in the opposite corner. Place your router at the center of the room, away from physical obstructions and electrical devices.
  • Switch to 5 GHz: not only is this frequency capable of providing faster speeds, but there is also less noise in this frequency range. Funnily enough, your microwave or some Bluetooth devices will obstruct a router that works on the 2.4 GHz frequency.
  • Get a new router: hate to break it to you, but if you’re getting consistently lower speeds than those your ISP advertises, you might need to change the hardware on your end. Router technology has advanced in the past few years. More importantly, routers get damaged over time due to heat stress.
  • Call your service provider: you might want to avoid this option, but it can often be the quickest and easiest fix. Your ISP might be able to solve your problem remotely or provide you with new, better hardware to help things run smoothly.