Last year, over 3 million people streamed the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots—a game we’re not allowed to mention by name in marketing materials without handing the NFL a large sum of cash.
This year, when the Los Angeles Rams take on the Patriots in the fifty-third installment of the same unmentionable game, it’s expected even more people will do so using their Wi-Fi.
Which is why we made this guide. To help you set up your home and stream the big game we’re seriously not going to mention.
And we’ll start off by telling you to…
Connect What You Can To Ethernet
Look. WiFi’s great. It allows us to do amazing things, like spend an entire weekend in bed. But for the most reliable connection, you should go the wired route.
It’s not that you can’t stream with Wi-Fi. After all, the technology is more than capable of streaming four hours of live content without a hiccup—providing nothing interferes with it.
In crowded apartment buildings or even within your own home, there are a lot of things that can (but not necessarily will) interfere with it, such as your friend microwaving his third bowl of chili.
When you wire your devices to Ethernet, you can avoid that problem altogether. (The Wi-Fi interference, not your friend’s chili problem.)
You don’t even need to have Ethernet cables running across your home or through your walls, either. Simple powerline extenders plug into outlets and turn your home’s electrical wires into a wired connection. From there, you can connect any device to Ethernet, including that 85-inch beast of a TV you have.
If you prefer to go wireless, though…
Place Your Router Out In The Open
Be honest. Where’s your router right now? If you’re like a lot of people, you shoved it in the closet or one of the drawers of a computer desk. Or possibly even behind the couch.
If that’s where you have it, you should move it out into the open so the Wi-Fi’s free to go where it needs.
It’s always best to place your router in a central location—but it’s not always possible. Your router placement is usually limited by things such as the modem and the coaxial cable. So do your best with what you have available.
While you’re at it, make sure to get it up off the floor and arrange the antennas at different angles. It can help with the range of the Wi-Fi signal.
Of course, there are other things you can do to help that Wi-Fi out, such as…
Prioritize Your Traffic With QoS
Almost every router has QoS, which is short for Quality of Service. QoS lets you tell your router which devices you would like it to prioritize so that specified devices like your TV always have the best connection to the internet.
(It’s a simple drag-and-drop with D-Link routers.)
So, if you’re streaming the game on your laptop, set that laptop as your priority device. Streaming it through the TV? Same thing. Ditto for your game consoles, too.
(While you’re at it, you could also prioritize other devices in your home if you want, but that’s up to you.)
When the traffic picks up in your home, QoS will make sure to give your prioritized devices access to the internet first, even when there are 20 other people using their devices at the same time.
However, while you’re looking at your router’s settings, you should also…
Set Up/Configure Your Guest Wi-Fi Network
Look, there will be tons of people at your home. If you’re fine with sharing your regular Wi-Fi password(s) with them, that’s up to you. But it’s not safe.
Instead of doing that, though, you can set up a completely different network with a different password for your guests. (Preferably a password you don’t use for anything else.) You can also restrict the privileges of that network, which we also recommend—especially if you have any personal devices connected to it.
Some routers even let you restrict the amount of bandwidth available for the guests. You know, that way their Wi-Fi use doesn’t interfere with the thing everyone wants to see this Sunday.
Oh, and just in case your router’s old and outdated, we do recommend replacing it with something newer, like this.