The extent to which technology is penetrating our lives in this new world is fascinating.
Seriously, just try and take in a moment and imagine your life without tech.
I know there is a certain beauty about being away from all this but, the value addition in terms of productivity that tech has offered is invaluable.
Now, our home environment is no different.
Every day we see these wonder gadgets and smart devices being manufactured and shipped directly to our homes.
Truth be told it’s too much sometimes isn’t it?
Because with more stuff, more management and more maintenance come hand in hand.
But that why this post is there, I guess.
I have been receiving a lot of queries regarding smart home gadgets and their deployment in the home network from you guys.
In this post, let me cover a variety of queries revolving around smart homes, smart gadgets, and the issues concerning their deployment on your home network (Wi-Fi).
Let’s get straight into it.
Do Smart Home Devices Slow Down Wi-Fi?
One of the most asked questions, can your smart home device network slow down your Wi-Fi?
And while the answer to the question is subjective, but the short answer is that having too many smart devices can potentially slow down your wi-fi.
But I would be wrong to lay it out as fact. There are many factors and specifics that need to be considered.
Like what smart devices are you using primarily in your network?
Do you have a dedicated Wi-Fi network or is your Wi-fi being shared with other devices like computers, smartphones and laptops?
Because if it is and if any of these devices are running bandwidth hungry tasks like HD video or game streaming.
Then I can guarantee that your smart devices and other devices will experience a lag.
So, it’s not actually about how many devices or how less devices you have but more about how much bandwidth those devices extract from your available bandwidth.
In general, most routers allow around 200 devices to be connected to them in a network (Number may vary depending on router capabilities).
But for most houses that is more than enough to serve all the digital resources.
Moreover, smart gadgets like smart light switches, smart plugs etc don’t have huge bandwidth demands to cause any significant impact on your Wi-Fi speed.
Plus, most of these devices including hubs like Eco Dot in idle conditions won’t demand any significant bandwidth.
But if your domain of smart devices involves heavy bandwidth hungry devices like round the clock cameras, video doorbells, smart fridges that relay video to your phone, well than lags will be your constant companion.
In addition, couple all of this with computers, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles, smart TVs who all want piece of that video pie than the Wi-Fi pipes will start getting dry so to speak.
Unless you make the decision of upgrading your internet plan.
Does Having Too Many Devices Slow Down Your Wi-Fi?
Not particularly but potentially yes.
I say this because again it all depends on what kind of devices are associated with the Wi-Fi network and what kind of internet plan do you have.
Plus, its very difficult to imagine that you will have too many devices connected to your Wi-Fi if you have a medium sized house.
But if you live in a huge mansion that has multiple sections and hidden doors that lead to Narnia or Hogwarts.
And if you have a sophisticated security and entertainment system that is handled my tiny little sad router than yes of course, problems.
However, for an average sized home I don’t think you will run into, “too many devices and thus slow internet problem“.
In addition to that most routers like the ones we discussed here offer support for connecting around 200 active devices.
So, if you have a decent plan, connecting all your smart devices and a few media streamers on there won’t break a sweat.
And as I mentioned this previously, not all your smart devices will demand bandwidth at once.
In idle situations they won’t require any active bandwidth thus leaving it for other devices to exploit.
Smart device manufacturers are also getting smarter by the day.
Their active production designs are continuously modified and updated to use as less resources as possible.
I small problem that I need to point out here is that of distance and location.
This Wi-Fi situation is a distance thing that I am confident you know.
The devices that will be close to the original source router won’t lag or show any speed problems.
However, let’s say you have kept your router in the basement and have some smart devices on the top most floor than yes, it may see operational lags.
But that’s due to the access distance not the number of devices.
One solution around this is using repeaters, I have relayed a post previously that teaches you how to create one using old routers here.
If your home houses more than a few smart devices I highly recommend you to make sure that you have an updated router model.
An old one that was gifted to you by your humble ISP or one of those two in one model-cum-router need to go unless they are of exceptional quality of course (but I am sceptic).
We talk about all of this in my previous post on do you really need both a modem and a router to connect to the internet, do give it a read, will you honey.
How Much Bandwidth Does A Smart Home Really Use?
Reiterating it again, you do not necessarily need a massive bandwidth for most of your smart devices.
But what you have to understand is that the smart devices stuff is an ecosystem thing. You don’t really stop with one smart device.
And as you keep on increasing the smart gadget count in your smart home ecosystem so will the bandwidth demands.
And if you add a few smart gadgets into the mix that are video capable okay now the bandwidth situation will get serious and you will have to think about it.
So, what I want you to do is keep tabs on the internet subscription you have now.
The current subscription should be able to handle your current bandwidth needs plus a tad bit more coming out of your recent smart devices.
Use this website to figure out what is your current bandwidth requirement.
Note this requirement somewhere because we are going to need it.
Now this is not an exact measure but, in my experience, this tends to work well with most homes.
You will need a dedicated 5 Mbps connection for every 12 non-video capable smart home devices you add to your ecosystem.
However, if you plan to also add video capable smart gadgets to your smart home then you need to add 10 Mbps connection for every 12 devices you add to your smart home.
I think an example will clear things out a bit more.
If you have 1 Amazon Alexa, 1 thermostat, 4 smart switches and 4 smart bulbs then you only need to add 5 Mbps bandwidth to your current subscription.
But if you are also adding a video capable door ring bell into the mix then you need to add 10 Mbps to your current bandwidth subscription for everything to run smoothly.
So, this is how the formula goes,
Bandwidth For Your Smart Home = Current Subscription Calculated Here + 5 Mbps for every 12 non-video capable smart gadgets (or 10 Mbps for every 12 video capable smart gadgets)
Pretty simple estimate don’t you think?
Just don’t forget the formula.
Which Smart Home Device Uses The Most Bandwidth?
The reason why most smart home gadgets are not bandwidth hungry is their intermittent need for connectivity.
Most of these gadgets in their inactive or idle states do not demand any bandwidth or demand very little, mostly to push updates to your smartphone or your central hub.
But the bandwidth demand increases drastically when you decide to deploy video capable smart gadgets to your smart home.
For example, a voice assistant like Amazon Alexa or Google Home only need short bursts of data packets to relay information across the internet.
The bandwidth requirement is thus not big in these cases because they are just communicating with the internet for basic updates and notifications.
When you order your smart assistant via your smartphone to switch on or off the lights then the whole communication happens in short bursts of data packets.
In addition, the communication happens intermittently on as per need basis.
Once the command is executed the assistant and the associated gadgets tend to sit back in there idle state and don’t demand any extra bandwidth as such.
So, in order to answer the question more directly, most of the IOT devices do not require dedicated additional bandwidth. But smart video capable gadgets like smart security cameras, video-based doorbells and smart refrigerators that relay video of the inside to your smartphone are the ones that if you choose to buy will use the most bandwidth.
Most of these devices use a lot of internet bandwidth to relay feeds to and from your smartphone or media screen.
And as such you will need to upgrade your internet plan using the formula we discussed above.
Does Upload Speed Matter For Smart Home Gadgets?
Smart gadgets don’t really have a huge upload speed requirement to perform at their optimal capacity.
So, you don’t need to worry about upload speeds with smart home gadgets.
A decent speed like 3 Mbps which is available with most basic internet plans should be good.
Of course, exceptional cases will be there.
But unless you are planning to watch live feeds from your security cameras or your door cameras all day every day, I don’t want you to worry too much about the upload speeds.
One last tip before I conclude this post is how you can try and conserve your bandwidth if you are experiencing Wi-Fi Speed issues.
Most ISPs nowadays do not put a cap on how much you can download or upload.
But if for some reason you have a plan like that or are experiencing lag due to that newly introduced video capable smart device this is what you can do.
Lower the video feeds from 1080p to 720p for all security cameras and other smart accessories that relay video.
Yes, you will experience a reduction in video quality but not to an extent that you will miss out on anything.
720p feed is still a decent quality feed and will serve your purpose without interfering with the operation of other devices on the network.
Alright with that little tip, I request your permission to conclude the post.
I hope I was able to clear out many of your queries, directly or indirectly, regarding smart homes, smart gadgets and their presence on the network.
If you have any other suggestions, advice, problems or issues that you may be experiencing feel free to comment them down in the comments section below.
Take care of yourselves and I will see you in the next one!
Bye, bye then!