Will a Guest Network Slow Down Wi-Fi?

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Whether you are offering a guest Wi-Fi internet network to your patients in a doctor’s office, your customers in a hotel room, or want a separate network with more control with your kids, one predicament you might run into is a slow network. But what’s the deal? Is your guest network slowing down your regular Wi-Fi, and how can you fix it?

Does a guest network slow down Wi-Fi? Yes, a guest network can slow down your Wi-Fi, but it is not common if you are offering enough bandwidth. However, if you notice that you are struggling with slow Wi-Fi due to a guest network, then there are solutions such as increasing bandwidth, setting limits, upgrading your network, or limiting QoS.

Nobody wants to suffer from slow Wi-Fi: your applications will be running poorly, downloads will be near impossible, and even sending a message can take longer than it is supposed to. A slow network can be due to several factors, but one thing you should always consider is your guest network causing a slowed Wi-Fi connection.

Does a Guest Network Slow Down Wi-Fi?

There is no one size fits all answer to the question of whether your guest networking is slowing down your Wi-Fi. It can slow down your Wi-Fi network, although that is not always the case. The first task is to find out whether the guest network is the cause.

To figure out whether your guest network is slowing down your Wi-Fi is to simply disconnect your guest network and see if your Wi-Fi connection speeds up/returns to normal. If so, then it is likely that something is going haywire on your guest network.

That is why it is incredibly important to pay close attention when setting up your guest network. While you might think you can simply click the button to allow for a guest network and call it a day, there is far more that goes into a guest network than simply turning it on. Eventually, your guest network will wreak havoc on your internet speed- but why?

Let us look at some of the top reasons why your guest network might be slowing down your overall Wi-Fi:

You Need to Increase the Bandwidth

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If the internet connection itself is running smoothly, but the guest network connection is slower than molasses, then it may be a problem with the amount of bandwidth you are allowing for your guests. 

If your guest’s connection is running slowly, then you need to look at how much bandwidth you are allotting for your family, friends, patients, or clients. While you should not be giving them the world, in terms of bandwidth, they should still have a good amount. 

Many individuals with guest networks describe their ideal bandwidth as being 2MPBS up and 2MPBS down. That amount offers a reasonably good signal and connection for a guest network, without having a significant effect on your internet connection. Therefore, look at how much bandwidth you are allowing and adjust accordingly. 

There Are No Limits

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On the other hand, if your guest network seems to be running flawlessly but your main Wi-Fi is slow, then it may be because you aren’t setting any limits on your guest network. You are essentially allowing your guests to do anything they want on the internet. 

Why is that a problem? Well, think about the people who might take advantage of your internet connection. They will consume a plethora of your internet to stream music, videos, and download large-sized files and documents. Between downloading and streaming, these few individuals will enjoy quick speeds while the rest of the people on the guest network suffer.

Therefore, you need to limit the bandwidth on your guest network. Doing so is the best way to ensure that you are allowing bandwidth to your guests without having them take over your internet connection.

Limit the QoS, Too

While limiting the bandwidth of your guest network is imperative for success, that is not the final step when it comes to limitations. You should also consider adjusting your router’s QoS, otherwise known as the quality of service. And don’t worry- limiting this is not going to lead to your guests receiving sub-par internet connection, although it may sound that way.

When you adjust the QoS you are essentially prioritizing the traffic of your internet connection based on the type of data that is being transmitted. You can give some things higher priority than others, such as social media applications, online gaming, etc. This priority will ensure that everyone can get a connection for their needs, with wants coming in second.

Make Sure There is a Password

One easy way to lose all your speed is to allow people onto your network without requiring a password. While you might think it makes it easier on your guests (which technically, it does), you will also have people coming onto your network that is not your guests. People nearby will be able to see your guest network, and if there is no password, they will be acting like a leach and use up your bandwidth.

So, when setting up your guest network, always make sure there is a password. You should also make sure to replace the password every day, or every few days so that people cannot leach off the bandwidth for longer than they are supposed to. Just make sure you let newcomers know of the new password so they can log on with ease.

Update Your Wi-Fi Router

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source: NETGEAR

Some people might be using outdated or inferior Wi-Fi routers. You might also want to look at the plan you have with your internet provider. You might have to bite the bullet and upgrade for higher speeds. Contact your internet provider and see what kind of packages they have.

Sometimes it is as simple as updating your router to the new, top-of-the-line gem available from your Wi-Fi carrier. Sometimes, you might need to switch altogether. Unlike cable tv, which typically has one or two providers in an area, your area should have more competition when it comes to providing internet. Most cable companies offer internet, but many cell phone providers now offer home internet as well. 

With more competition comes better service.

Do not trust what the cable or cell phone providers tell you about internet speed. Instead, use one of the many available broadband speed tests available on the internet. Speedtest is one, and Fast.com is another.

If you are using guest networks and you have updated your router, this might be the next step. 

Consider Limiting the Amount of Time and People Allowed

You can also set other limits on your guest network, such as how often and how many people are allowed on the guest network at any given time. For example- you may offer your guest network to only 10 people at a time and provide them with a maximum of 4 hours. If they want more, you can always offer it for a fee. Then use these fees to upgrade your equipment and internet connection. 


Guest networks can sometimes be the issue as to why your Wi-Fi is running slowly. Slow speeds could be because you have not instigated a password to use your internet, and you are not limiting bandwidth or QoS. Make sure you have a password, enough bandwidth for your guests (without limiting yourself too much) and have a good internet provider with the best package for the best results.

John Hammer

Hi i'm John Hammer, Founder and Author of Gizbuyer Guide. Ever since the original Xbox, PlayStation, and iPhone I've purchased and worked on all kinds of consumer tech products, gaming gadgets and operating system softwares. To this day my curiosity has never left, and my aim is to guide and share my knowledge on technology as I continue to experience the latest of the consumer electronics industry.

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