Just like any other smart device you may be using, it would depend on what you are doing with your Alexa. When it is idle, it does not use any measurable bandwidth. The devices usually run an X number of a second local audio buffer that only transmits to the internet when they detect a hot word in the buffer.
If you are using your Alexa device for streaming video, play music, video chatting, and other similar uses, then it is going to use some amount of bandwidth that could be seen as slowing down your internet connection.
During the period when you request a query and its transmitted, and a response is being received, there may be a small impact on bandwidth.
Your ability to notice any slowdown in your internet connection depends on the bandwidth that is available to you through the internet service provider you have and with other activities that may be taking place on your network.
This is certainly measurable using network monitoring software if you want to observe an Alexa device on network speeds.
Alexa Awake Word Impact
This also depends on how long you are using your Alexa. Alexa works on a simple principle of audio streaming, and if you are familiar with mp3 streaming apps like Amazon Music, iTunes, etc., then it uses similar or even less bandwidth.
Alexa awakes at the word “Alexa” or when you mention an equivalent word that you had configured in your Alexa companion app. The device uses a technology called “Wake Word Recognition” that processes the rest of what you say after you mention the wake word.
The device then streams the content to the amazon server, which then translates to English text using speech to text recognition, natural language processing, and artificial intelligence. Since most of this happening is in their server, the internet usage during this period is negligible.
The content is then analyzed, and your response is then sent to the Alexa device, which takes it again or consumes your internet. This is why I said it uses bandwidth, similar to music streaming devices or apps.
It is certainly possible for you to use your Alexa, so it uses as much of your network as possible, but it will still play fair with other resources. If you use your Alexa to listen to watch prime videos or listen to prime music, you are going to use some bandwidth. The same is also possible if you spend time watching your video doorbell or your kids sleeping. So this depends on every device or skill with its impact.
Does Alexa Use a lot of Wi-Fi?
Alexa, just like other smart home assistants, hubs, and speakers, the usage of the internet depends on the function that you are requesting them. For example, if you ask your smart speaker to turn on your lights, set timer, or answer a question, that doe not use a lot of data.
But if you use your Alexa to stream music or a radio station, you will use the same amount of data if you were streaming on a regular device. That can lock it at approximately 100 MB per hour. When you use an advanced model like the Echo Show, which is capable of displaying video, it could eat up even more data.
Do Smart Home Devices Slow Down Wi-Fi?
To be fair, the short answer is yes. Smart home devices can slow down your Wi-Fi and overall network. In general, items like smart plugs, smart light switches, and most smart appliances don’t stress your Wi-Fi speed unless you are running many of them at the same time.
But this question is of specifics and depends on the devices that you want to connect to your home Wi-Fi network.
Most basic smart home devices like light switches and smart plugs and hubs like Amazon Echo Dot do not use much Wi-Fi bandwidth. When you start using a bunch of your smart devices, all of them at the same time, you will then start to notice slower Wi-Fi speeds.
When you send a video over our Wi-Fi bandwidth uses a large amount of bandwidth. If you have many smart home devices that are sending video, then your Wi-Fi will strain.
If you have many video doorbells, cameras, and one of those crazy refrigerators that you can see the inside from your phone, you will start to notice impacts on your Wi-Fi speed.
When you combine these with other devices in your homes like tablets, TVs, computers, and smartphones that are also capable of streaming video, then your potential of having slower Wi-Fi increases.
While smart devices don’t use much data, there are other devices that slow down Wi-Fi. If your internet plan has limited data, you may find yourself using more data than your plan is allowing and thus paying overage charges.
This is true if you use apps that tie your smartphone into your home devices. Many of them use a lot of data to communicate between your cell phone and smart devices.
Ensure that you have a good data plan available for you on your cell phone, especially if you enjoy watching your pets romp at home when you are away.
When it is to the basics of Wi-Fi, most home networks and routers can handle a bunch of devices. Depending on what you connect to the network at your home.
Which Device Uses the Most Bandwidth?
In general, most smart home devices, useless Wi-Fi bandwidth. Things like your smart plugs and smart lights might use 50 MB per month, while smart hubs may use around 300 MB per month, even if you stream music or a favorite radio station.
Even smart irrigation timers and nest thermostats will not use a ton of bandwidth despite the advanced technologies they have.
The devices that are going to impact are going to have an impact on the bandwidth, as we mentioned above, but those that stream videos across the network are going to have a bigger impact.
Basic internet plans may not be able to serve the video doorbells; you have your home cameras and televisions and gaming systems without having an impact.
Video devices are going to use the most bandwidth, but in general, they are not using this bandwidth all the time. This is even hard to notice any impact on the speed of downloading.
But if you would like to make an improvement on your speeds and reduce the demands on the bandwidth, then you have to reduce the resolution on your cameras and video doorbells. This will help to reduce the amount of bandwidth the devices need.
Do Wi-Fi Extenders Really Work?
If you are having trouble in getting a solid, reliable Wi-Fi signal in parts of your home, then a Wi-Fi repeater is the solution you need.
The work of a Wi-Fi repeater or extender is to extend the coverage area of the Wi-Fi network. This works by receiving the Wi-Fi signal, amplifying it, and then transmitting the boosted signal.
If you have a Wi-Fi repeater, you can easily double the coverage area of your Wi-Fi network by reaching far corners of your home and even extend the coverage to the yard.
Difference Between a Wi-Fi Booster, Repeater, or Extender
Wi-Fi repeaters, boosters, and extenders are mostly the same thing, devices that help you to improve Wi-Fi coverage. There is no clearly defined difference between the devices which manufacturers define as repeaters and extenders.
There are some solutions that you try before you opt for a Wi-Fi extender. The simplest you should start with is to try moving the Wi-Fi router to the most central location in your home. If this does not work, then you should check if the router needs an upgrade to a more powerful one.
One of the best options for a new router is the Archer C9 AC 1900 Router from TP-LINK that offers 802.11ac, the next generation of Wi-Fi connection. This is a dual-band router with ultrafast dual-core processors and four-gigabit ports that you can use with a smart TV or game consoles.
Things That Might Be Slowing Down Your Home Wi-Fi Network
Too Many Devices
Smart bulbs, IP cameras, smart plugs, Google Home Minis, and many more, our homes are increasingly being filled with the internet of things. Each of these devices sits on the Wi-Fi network with its own IP address.
While the average smart lights are not going to send or receive large amounts of data, the older routers were not simply designed to handle as many registered Wi-Fi devices at a go.
Wireless Network Range and Signal Penetration
The single most important thing that affects the speed of your home Wi-Fi is where you place your Wi-Fi router.
Wi-Fi routers transmit the 5GHz and 2.4 GHz signals. The former is faster. The 2.4 GHz signals can go through walls and other solid walls easily. When it gets to thick concrete floor or walls, the 5Ghz is stopped entirely.
Too Many Users
Your internet speed is usually shared with all the users that using it in the home with all the devices. All the activities that the devices they are using do consume a little of the bandwidth that is available. This may not only be when you are actively using them; there may even be updated happening in the background.
Old Network Cables
It is worth that you check your cables regularly, especially if your computer is plugged in directly into your router or if you have Ethernet cabling.
Network cabling has undergone some important upgrades that affect the speed of carrying data as much as electrical cabling can go for more than 50 years.
Your Wi-Fi Channel Is Heavily Congested
If you are in urban places or in particular apartment blocks, you may be surrounded by many Wi-Fi networks. All these take a little of the available frequency bandwidth.
Your ISP’s DNS Server Is Slow
Regardless of the internet package you may be using; there is a domain name system they are using. This is used to type a web address in your browser.
This is like a phonebook that translates between the human-readable web domain and your physical IP of the server where it is located. You use the default DNS server that is provided by your ISP though it is always slow and unreadable.
Your ISP May Be Throttling You
This is an unlikely scenario unless you are a heavy user, but many ISPs deliberately slow down your internet if they detect the usage of filesharing applications or when you reach a particular threshold.
This is very common when on mobile data connections than on the home broadband, but it still happens.
You should make sure you have a good idea of what your typical internet speed is and check it more often. If you get that it has reduced significantly with no faults reported by your IPS, then you may be being throttled of being subject to brandwidth shaping.
Problematic Devices or Wireless Clients
If you get this kind of error on your router, it may be because you have plugged in a device that is acting up by broadcasting too many times or causing a race condition to happen in the router.
This can often bring the entire network down, but it usually looks like a normal case of an internet outage.
The solution is to unplug the devices and turn off wireless clients until the culprit is found, then you contact your manufacturer for assistance.