I share the internet with two other people and I know one of them uses utorrents and is constantly downloading. When her computer is off the internet is substantially faster, would this be because of her torrenting or is it just because there are 3 computers using the wireless.

I am really not computer savvy so putting this in very simple terms would be good for me. Is there anything she/I can do to make the internet faster or is it just a case of my telling her to not download at home. It has got so bad that even google takes a million years to load. Would really appreciate any help!

  • Any traffic of any kind will slow down traffic for everybody by the simple virtue of being there :)
    – badp
    May 7, 2012 at 5:23
  • If using utorrent set the scheduler so that it is only downloading/uploading when everyone is asleep.
    – BJ292
    May 7, 2012 at 13:30

4 Answers 4


Downloading anything will result in slowdown of the internet in your local network

The number of clients actually connected to the network are largely irrelevant, its what they do that matters

Tell your roommate to cap the number of simultaneous connections, upload and download speeds in utorrent

  • 8
    +1 for capping the number of connections. Some household routers have poor performance when there are many simultaneous connections, which is often the case with torrents. In such cases, limiting the number of connections may be more important than limiting the bandwidth.
    – hammar
    May 6, 2012 at 22:07
  • 2
    Suggest starting with 3/4 of your maximum bandwidth and adjust from there if you still see issues. Also your roommate may want to consider using a client that will allow you to remotely pause her torrents when you are online. (google torrent + remote control) Just don't forget to resume them. ;-)
    – Chris Nava
    May 7, 2012 at 5:11
  • @hammar comes from personal experience :) Too many connections make my IPTV stream stutter
    – Akash
    May 7, 2012 at 8:50
  • 1
    utorrent.com/help/guides/webui Questioner stated that (s)he's using uTorrent. It has a WebUI that can be enabled.
    – WernerCD
    May 7, 2012 at 13:07
  • 1
    Do notice that torrent clients like Bittorrent do not use the standard TCP, but rather uTP - a protocol that behaves "gently" to TCP. When you are using your internet for something else, Bittorrent will slow down.
    – Konerak
    May 8, 2012 at 8:45

Maybe your wifi router (I suppose there is one) has an option to set different priorities for different traffic classes e. g. bulk for Torrent, normal for Websites, priority for low-latency online-games. This would be the best solution, because it does not unnecessarily slow down torrent traffic but keeps other traffic at a higher priority. So torrents would be just using the leftover data rate.

If there is no such option, stick with Akash's answer.


Yes, any heavy network use will reduce the amount of available bandwidth for other uses. Torrent software, in particular, tends to have a noticeable effect on other network traffic for several reasons:

  1. It is in constant use. Most other forms of traffic (web browsing, email, even online games) are only sporadically sending or receiving traffic. Usage patterns like large file downloads (and, similarly, extended playback of streaming media) tie up a consistant amount of bandwidth for a much longer amount of time.

  2. They tend to be "greedy" with bandwidth. This is for similar reasons as #1: the torrent has a lot of data to transfer, well beyond what it can send at one time. The torrent client will try to download as much data as it can.

  3. They are bi-directional. In my experience this is the biggest drawback to seeding torrents. Most consumer-level providers give their users asynchronous bandwidth: they allow more traffic to come downstream to the customer than they permit to return upstream. This lets them provide a "faster feeling" experience than a synchronous connection, since most end-user traffic really is downloading. But one key goal of torrents is to serve as much traffic as you pull, which screws up this model. If your upstream bandwidth is being saturated by torrents, your initial requests for connections will take a long time, and everything will feel very, very sluggish.

Most torrent clients are programmed to be very cooperative in mediating these problems. They allow you to regulate things like the number and speed of uploads, downloads, and total connections. Most even have built-in traffic profiling that supply "reasonable" values for these settings, or pre-defined profilers for various speed connections.

Try asking your roommate to configure her client for a slower connection than you have. Try limiting the number of uploads, or the upload bandwidth, and if that doesn't work, just cap the total bandwidth used by the client (say, to 1/3 of your total allocation.)

  • In my experience DOWNLOAD caps as high as 2/3 - 3/4 (on a cable modem) still yield acceptable web browsing performance but things like video streaming and online games are more sensitive to latency caused by higher loads. Michael is correct though, be sure to cap the UPLOAD bandwidth shy of your maximum or your web browsing experience will suck.
    – Chris Nava
    May 7, 2012 at 5:06
  • @Chris: That is usually due to Buffer Bloat, one of the most widespread and serious problems causing lag on the internet. Use Netalyzr to determine the upload/download rates that cause buffer-bloat in your network - you may need to cap upload much more than you think. May 7, 2012 at 6:02
  • @ChrisNava My 1/3 number was based purely on the fact that there are 3 people sharing one connection so each gets 1/3 :) Not at all scientific, just easy to sell to your roommates.
    – KutuluMike
    May 7, 2012 at 12:17
  • IOC.. Yes. 1/3 would be the fare thing to do ;-)
    – Chris Nava
    May 7, 2012 at 14:17

As others have stated, and I won't necessarily stomp on their answers, your mate's usage will affect your usage - simply because there is only so much bandwidth. They max out the usage, and you're left with a laggy internet.

uTorrent Settings

  1. Control the bandwidth usage via uTorrent. While there are more detailed settings (options > preferences > bandwidth), the "Setup Guide" (options > setup guide "ctrl + G") is a really good place to change things "simply". When I want to limit downloads so my connection isn't affected, I go here and simply raise/lower "Your Upload Speed:" until I can game (or my fiance can surf) without issue.

  2. Look up your Router Manual and how to adjust Quality of Service (QoS) setting. Assuming you have a set Port Number ("Current Port" in the picture above) that doesn't change, you can set the priority of that port to low, thus allowing everything else priority before torrents.

  3. WebUI for uTorrent - Guide for WebUI. Install and use WebUI to make changes while her computer is on.

  4. uTorrent Scheduler - use it to control the times during which uTorrent runs at Full/Limited/No speed.

  • 1
    +1 for the scheduler, hadn't seen that before and it looks really useful. Clearly I need to spend more time in the uTorrent options.
    – KutuluMike
    May 7, 2012 at 17:04

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