Airtime Fairness: Should You Enable it on Your WiFi Network?
Your Wi-Fi network might have to handle multiple connected devices daily. This can slow down your network depending on the devices’ data requirements, as you know. The Airtime Fairness feature was introduced on routers to deal effectively with this problem. However, you do not need to enable it in all cases, and it is sometimes better to disable it.
Many router users might be confused regarding whether they should use the Airtime Fairness feature. Checking the reasons to enable or disable this feature should make this decision easier for you.
Before that, we must look at how Airtime Fairness works and how it helps you.
What is Airtime Fairness & How does it Work?
The Airtime Fairness feature is designed to improve your Wi-Fi’s overall performance. It lets you enjoy a better network at the cost of a reasonable amount of network time.
To make this feature effective, you need to fix all other issues causing the network problems. Provided that the connection of multiple devices is the only cause of the Wi-Fi performance issues, Airtime Fairness can provide an effective solution.
Disconnecting some connected devices would be an alternative solution to enabling Airtime Fairness in many situations. So, you might want to use this feature to avoid that in such situations.
How does it Work?
The Airtime Fairness feature evenly distributes the network speed among the connected devices. This helps you experience better performance than the router provided earlier. However, you would experience a low performance on the devices that are slower.
The faster ones would not have to wait for the slower devices to finish their tasks with Airtime Fairness enabled. The slower device has a monopoly over the network time with this feature disabled. Now, that can make it even slower than it would be with Airtime Fairness disabled. This is one of the reasons to enable this feature if it is available on your router.
When is it Good to Enable Airtime Fairness on Your Network?
As mentioned earlier, you do not necessarily need the Airtime Fairness feature in every situation. Whether you should enable it depends mainly on how you use your Wi-Fi network.
Here are some situations where you can benefit from Airtime Fairness:
- When Multiple Devices are Using Your Wi-Fi
Your router might be able to handle the requirements of one or two connected devices. However, you might notice a noticeable performance deterioration if there are more devices. The more devices there are in the network, the slower the Wi-Fi performance might get.
Enabling Airtime Fairness would help you maintain overall network performance in such situations. So, you might want to turn this feature on if you have not done that already. You can do that anytime through your router’s web interface or using the app if it has any.
- When You Have Set Up a Public Wi-Fi
The previous instance refers only to private Wi-Fi networks at your home or workplace. Is Wi-Fi applicable for public use? You can benefit from the Airtime Fairness feature in that case as well. After all, you would want everyone connected to your network to receive their fair share of speed.
So, you must check whether your router has this feature in case you are setting up public Wi-Fi. Enable Airtime Fairness if available to ensure a good experience for all connected devices. As we have seen, doing this will prevent one device from monopolising the network traffic.
- To Unleash the Full Potential of the Faster Devices
You would want the faster devices connected to the network to get the performance they promise. However, they might fail to do that when several other devices are in the network. Airtime Fairness can help you maintain the performance of the faster devices.
Does the device with the higher requirements receive a lower share of the network than it needs? Enabling Airtime Fairness would be a great idea in such situations. So, you must consider taking this step if you are yet to do so. It is quite simple, and you must log into your router’s admin interface.
When Should You Disable Airtime Fairness or Let it Remain Disabled?
As you might know, Airtime Fairness is disabled on all routers. It would be best to let it remain that way in some situations.
You might want to disable the Airtime Fairness if running in the following cases:
- The Devices Are Incompatible with Airtime Fairness
You must note that not all devices work well with the Airtime Fairness feature. So, you might experience many network fluctuations with this feature enabled. Airtime Fairness can get confused due to a lot of devices. You have no alternatives to disabling this feature if such a device is connected to your network.
Are you not sure whether your device is compatible with Airtime Fairness? The only way to find out is by connecting it to your Wi-Fi network. Disable Airtime Fairness on your router if your device does not support it as soon as possible.
- When You want the Slower Device to Perform Better
From what we have seen, Airtime Fairness enables the faster device to perform based on its potential. Now, that can benefit you unless you want the slower device to perform better than the others. You can think of many situations where you would have no problem with the slower device monopolising the network.
So, this is yet another common reason for people to disable Airtime Fairness. Now, doing that is as easy as enabling this feature and works the same way. You can disable the Airtime Fairness anytime through your router’s admin interface.
How to Enable or Disable Airtime Fairness on Your Router?
You can enable or disable Airtime Fairness from your router’s interface. So, you need to log into your router first to proceed. The navigation steps to the Airtime Fairness feature depend on your router’s model.
Open Your Router’s Admin Interface
Regardless of your router’s model and brand, you can access its interface in a few simple steps. Connect your computer to the router with an ethernet cable and open a browser on your device. Enter the default IP address to open your router’s admin login page.
Enter your router’s admin username and password to open the admin interface. You can then find the Airtime Fairness feature and enable or disable it as per your requirements.
Disable/Enable the Airtime Fairness
The Airtime Fairness feature is usually located in the Wireless section of your router. So, you must look for it if you are unsure where to find it. Log out of the admin interface and continue using your network once you are done.
What if Enabling/Disabling Airtime Fairness does not Fix Your Wi-Fi Performance?
Turning the Airtime Fairness on or off is not always enough to fix your Wi-Fi issues. So, you might need to take alternative steps.
Here are the effective ways to enhance your router’s Wi-Fi performance:
- Place Your Router at a Central Location
Your Wi-Fi issues might have something to do with the router’s position in many cases. So, you must ensure it is placed at an optimal location first. You must choose a central location inside your home or workplace for your router. This would provide equal signal strength to all connected devices in the building.
- Update the Router’s Firmware
An outdated firmware can cause various issues with your Wi-Fi network’s performance. So, you must install any firmware updates for your router whenever available. You can do that anytime through the firmware section on the admin interface. This simple step can fix your Wi-Fi issues effectively over the long term.
- Replace Your Router’s Antenna
Does your router have a detachable antenna? If yes, you must consider replacing the existing antenna as it might be damaged. After all, this is a common cause of Wi-Fi performance issues on your router. You can buy a new antenna for your router and attach it to the device yourself.
- Select an Optimal Wireless Channel
Are there many other Wi-Fi networks around you? In that case, they might use the same wireless channel as your router. So, you must try selecting a different channel on your router to fix the Wi-Fi issues. Go to the admin interface with the previously mentioned method to change your router’s wireless channel.
You would not always benefit from enabling Airtime Fairness on your router. So, you must ensure that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks in your case. You might want to enable it with the aforementioned steps if it does. Otherwise, you must disable it if it is running on your router.