Airtime Fairness is an option found in the majority of the routers these days. In this article, you will learn how exactly Airtime Fairness actually works. You will also be able to learn how and when to use it. This article is written in very simple words and no technical terms have been used in it. The main objective of writing this article is to help you make the right decisions and setup for your home network.
How It Works
We often see different router brands trying to tell us how Airtime can improve the network performance. They tell only half the truth and we are told nothing about its impact on our network and how does it actually work. Suppose you have multiple devices on your network. Airtime Fairness will improve the overall performance of your network at the cost of the slowest devices on the network.
Wondering how Airtime Fairness can improve the overall performance of the wireless network. This is how it is done. Let’s say you have 2 devices, A and B. The device named A is functioning at 1 MB/sec and the other device named B is functioning at 5 MB/sec. If there is a 20 MB file which A needs to transmit, it will take ten seconds. It also means that B will have to wait until A is done. Once you have enabled Airtime Fairness, the network time will be evenly divided between the two devices A and B. It means 1MB x 5sec + 5MB x 5 = 30MB/sec. So we can say that the overall performance of the network does improve by having the Airtime Fairness enabled.
What if the device B is assigned the task of transmitting 10MB of data only? Device B with 4MB/sec speed can finish the transmission in three seconds. It means now Device A has seven seconds. So the new equation will look like 1MB x 8 sec + 5 MB x 2 = 18 MB. You can see that Device B used the bandwidth first and finished the downloading but Device A couldn’t finish the downloading in eight seconds.
To conclude we can say that the setting helps improve the overall performance of the network.
When to Use Airtime Fairness
Enabling Airtime Fairness is a good idea if there are multiple devices connected to the network. Those offering public Wi-Fi such as in café or restaurant should have Airtime Fairness enabled. In this way, your customer will get the fair share of Wi-Fi data. One slow device cannot take all the time as a result overall performance of the network is significantly improved. If you are willing to cut the time of the slow devices so that your faster devices may achieve a better quality of service, you can consider enabling Airtime Fairness. There is nothing wrong in it because if we know we have a fast device, we want it to be optimized faster.
You better enable this option, especially when using your device for gaming purposes. When playing the game, you cannot afford to miss even a single click. Your gaming device is fast as compared to other devices like smartphone or tablet.
When to Disable/Off Airtime Fairness
Before you make any decision, you should know that there are some devices that don’t support Airtime Fairness fully. It is because the reduced amount of time often results in a dropped connection. So in such a situation you better disable Airtime Fairness. There is another situation when you should disable Airtime Fairness. Sometimes we want our slow devices to perform better. Now, this scenario is completely different from one we discussed above. In other words, we can also say that it is a matter of your preference. The decision of enabling or disabling Airtime Fairness depends on the fact that how you want a particular device to perform. But there are some advanced routers available these days that help you prioritize the devices connected to the network.