How to Test If a Router Is Overloaded

By Kay Ireland

Slower Internet could mean an overloaded router.
i Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

Your router works in conjunction with your modem to disperse your Internet signal wirelessly. Whether you're at home or at a business, when you use several devices that require an Internet connection at the same time, your router can become overloaded. By knowing the symptoms of an overloaded router through various tests, you will know whether it's a one-time event or you need to replace your router for a better model that can handle more bandwidth.

Using Devices

Switch on all of the devices that you use on a daily basis, which require a wireless connection to be functional. This can include desktops, laptops, your smartphone, video game consoles and even e-readers. Using all of the devices will give you a better idea as to whether using them all overloads your router. While it's true that some days you might only use three or four devices as opposed to six or seven, it's important to test your router's overall capacity.

Attempting to Surf

Once all of the wireless devices are switched on or activated, try using your laptop to bring up a general Web search. Surf around for five minutes to see if the number of devices affects the speed of your search results. An overloaded router causes much slower Web interaction because it's feeding a connection to so many other devices. If your searching isn't affected, your router is likely powerful enough. If it's slow and sluggish, you have an overloaded router.

Try Streaming

The next test you can try to see if your router is overloaded is to attempt to stream something live from the Internet. Whether it's Netflix, Pandora, or some other streaming service, streaming requires a constant connection to the Internet. An overloaded router will likely drop the connection from time to time. If you can stream without interruptions, you're probably good to go. Streaming with an overloaded router yields choppy picture and long buffering times.

Logging Outages

If turning on all over your wireless devices and attempting to use the Internet didn't yield conclusive results, try logging your Internet outages for a week. Any time your connection is slow, choppy or even nonexistent, record the date and time, along with the devices you're running in a small notepad. As you continue to record, you will often recognize patterns in your router's signal. When you're streaming videos, using your iPhone and surfing the Web concurrently during the evening, you might notice that your connection slows considerably, a sign that your router has become overloaded.