My girlfriend and I have just finished building identical PCs. Today, we're downloading various software and games to them. We're connected to the wireless network, everything is working fine.

My girlfriend started downloading a game on steam, and was downloading at an average of roughly 5 MB/s initially. I then started downloading the same game.

I would expect the bandwidth to be shared equally between us, but it isn't. Instead, my speed heads up to roughly 5MB/s, while hers drops to around 1MB/s.

As I said, our PCs are identical. Both were built yesterday and had Windows installed fresh this morning. I haven't touched the router configuration for weeks, so definitely haven't done anything to favour one of the two machines over the other. What is causing this skewed bandwidth allocation, and how can I fix it?

  • Wifi or hard wired Ethernet? Also it's not just how the bandwidth is allocated on your side of your router. There could be slowdowns anywhere on the Internet, including from the server serving. Run speedtest.net individually and compare the results. – Tyson Jun 12 '16 at 11:18
  • This sounds like a Quality of Service thing. Can you include the make and model of your router? – Burgi Jun 15 '16 at 10:49
  • It's a Virgin Media Superhub 3 - so far as I'm aware it has no user-configurable QoS settings. – Hecksa Jun 16 '16 at 9:10
  • @Tyson - Wifi. Both machines get perfectly good (near enough identical) speeds when the other is not in use, it's just when they're both downloading, one seems to be favoured over the other in some circumstances. – Hecksa Jun 16 '16 at 10:42

PCs and other devices have no knowledge of the network activity on any other devices and will consume as much bandwidth as they can. Your PC has no way of querying your girlfriends PC to find out if it's downloading something and should therefore throttle back its own connection.

In order to evenly distribute the load, you would need to implement Quality of Service or some kind of bandwidth control on your router so that the total available bandwidth is evenly split between connected devices. Typically, consumer grade routers provided by ISPs do not have many advanced features so would probably need to invest in a more feature rich router.

  • I understand that my PC has no reason to throttle its own connection, but why would my girlfriend's PC throttle it's connection? When I started downloading, hers slowed. Surely at that point, with both PCs sending packets and receiving them, they'd just cancel each other out on average and get about half the bandwidth each? – Hecksa Jun 12 '16 at 15:19

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