How to Prioritize Devices on Wi-Fi?

If you are working from home, attending online classes, or binging the latest shows on Netflix, you will definitely want high-speed internet. If other members are present in the house hogging all the bandwidth, you may find your internet buffering.

For example, if you are in an important Skype video call and, at the same time, someone connected to the same wireless network starts downloading a large file, then the quality of your call will go down.

There is a simple solution to this problem, by which you can prioritize specific devices over all others on your Wi-Fi network! This article is a guide to how you can configure your router to prioritize only one device and will help you discover some great new features. Let’s start.

Features to Prioritize Your Device on the Router

Have you tried working in a coffee shop with free Wi-Fi access? If more people were sitting there with their laptops and phones, then no one would get enough Wi-Fi speed to get any work done because the bandwidth would decline with the addition of new devices.

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Nowadays, many people depend on smart devices to simplify their daily tasks. Everyone seems to be transitioning towards building a smart house with smart TVs, phones, laptops, A.I. assistants like Alexa, security cameras, lights, etc.

All these devices require a strong internet connection to function properly. But with so many devices connected to a Wi-Fi network simultaneously, it can slow down your Wi-Fi speed. This is where the prioritization of devices can come in handy. Many routers have certain features that can help you prioritize only one device or activity so that they get maximum bandwidth and don’t lag.

These features are Quality of Service and Bandwidth Allocation. We will talk more about these features below.

Quality of Service

The Quality of Service, QoS, ensures that your internet quality does not go down even with multiple other devices connected to the Wi-Fi network.

This is a great feature for professions that rely heavily on the speed of the internet, such as online gaming. You don’t want the ping to drop while you are competing just because someone started to stream a movie, do you? In that case, this guide is just for you!

With the QoS feature, you can direct the flow of the internet to any priority device of your choice. If you work on your laptop a lot, you can prioritize it on your router and enjoy high internet speed at all times.

In QoS settings, there are many other specs that you can set, such as the download and upload speeds, priority LAN ports, services, and much more.

Separating the Bandwidth

2.4 and 5 GHz are the two frequencies on which Wi-Fi routers function. The 2.4 GHz has a wider range, but the 5 GHz has a better internet connection and Wi-Fi speed.

You can assign one frequency to the priority device and set all other devices to the second frequency. This feature is quite useful in public spaces such as offices, college dorms, and hotels, where you have to give guest access to many users daily.

You can assign different SSID codes to each frequency. Then, you will assign different bandwidths to each SSID. You can only give out the password for the 2.4 GHz SSID, which will have lower bandwidth, and use the 5 GHz for critical devices.

By setting bandwidth preferences, you can manage the internet traffic without slowing down your devices.

How to Set Up Quality of Service?

There are so many routers on the market today, and not all include this feature. Although this feature is available in the new ones, you can read the user manual or check online to ensure that your router has this feature.

We analyzed the methods to enable Quality of Service on various routers and came up with a universal guide. Some of these steps may be under a different name for your router’s priority device setting. In that case, simply check the procedure in the router manual or call the router helpline.

The steps to configure your router’s settings to set up the Quality of Service feature are:

Step 1 – Log Into Your Router Firmware

The first step is to open any internet browser and log into your router. For this, you will need a specific IP address and the login credentials for your router.

These details will probably be mentioned on the router box itself. Check the router for a sticker where you will find some barcodes along with the login details. These might also be available in the router manual.

If the username and password are not mentioned, you can try typing in “admin” in both entries, as many routers use this username and password as default. Then, enter the IP address into the search bar and enter the login credentials when prompted.

Step 2 – Go to “Advanced Settings”

You will be directed to the home page of your router. Here, you can access many things, such as the interface settings, maintenance, the current status of the router, and many more.

On the home page, try to find the QoS button. You will find the QoS option in most routers under the “Advanced Settings” on the home page.

Step 3 – Set the QoS Priorities

There are many customizations available in the QoS settings. Some new routers have more advanced QoS features, while others don’t. So, this particular part will be different for each router.

The NetGear router has “Advanced” and “Dynamic” QoS options. In the “Advanced” options, you will have to manually set up the rules of QoS. But with “Dynamic,” the router will automatically detect devices and prioritize the internet traffic for those who need more bandwidth.

But if you don’t have that option, you can easily set up the QoS manually. For this, you will need:

  • The IP or MAC address of the particular device you want to give priority to.
  • Next, you will have to enter the download and upload speeds. For this, you can simply run a speed test on your browser. You don’t have to enter the exact values of the result, but only 80–90% of them to leave some room for your ISP.
  • You can also configure QoS by service. In this, you will be giving priority to activities of your choice, such as Skype, online gaming, video streaming, etc.
  • You will see an option called “Device Priority” on some routers, where you can set priority status to maximum, high, medium, or low.

These are the most common specs available for QoS in even the most basic routers.

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In the new routers, you can even set bandwidth preferences for each device and service, while in the basic settings, you can only set one default Wi-Fi speed. On some basic routers, you won’t see many services, such as Netflix or gaming, in the “set priority” section.

If you want all these features, you should think about investing in new and advanced routers with more customizations. We recommend a DD-WRT router, which offers an excellent QoS setup.

Step 4 – You’re All Set!

That’s it! You are good to go now. Hit “Save” and restart the router for the settings to come into effect.

People Also Ask

We have covered much of the information about how to prioritize certain devices on a Wi-Fi network. Now, we will answer some additional questions related to this feature to help you fully understand it –

1. Can Too Many Devices Crash A Router?

No, you can connect as many devices as you like to your Wi-Fi network. It will not crash the router, but it will drastically lower the Wi-Fi speed! There will be other issues, too, such as a drop in ping, a decline in the quality of videos and photos, and increased loading time. It is recommended to limit the number of connected devices.

2. Which Wi-Fi Bandwidth is Better – 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz?

Old routers and certain devices only functioned at a 2.4 GHz frequency. It had a longer but higher interference and lower Wi-Fi speed. 5 GHz, on the other hand, is supported by all new routers, computers, and phones. It has a shorter range but higher internet speeds.

3. What is Band Steering?

With band steering, your router is configured in such a way that it automatically directs all devices to the internet frequency band that is most suitable for them. All devices that support both 2.4 and 5 GHz frequencies will be directed to a faster bandwidth to ensure improved Wi-Fi performance.

For this feature, both frequencies will need to have an identical SSID and security password.


This article gave detailed information on how to prioritize devices on your home or office Wi-Fi. The simplest way to prioritize your devices on a Wi-Fi network is by utilizing your router’s Quality of Service feature. Many people don’t know about this useful spec, but now you do!

The QoS can be molded to your specific needs with many different options to make it more personalized! And it doesn’t matter whether the priority device is wired directly to the Wi-Fi network with an Ethernet cable or connected wirelessly.

Last update on 2024-04-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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