I'm living in an apartment with a roommate. When they first moved in they didn't have a router and therefore could not connect to the internet. I offered to let them connect to my wifi until they were able to purchase a router. 2 months later they are still on my wifi.

I occasionally play video games at night, and noticed that I was experiencing high latency. This lag makes these online games border line unplayable which is very frustrating. Perhaps my isp is to blame and not my roommate?

Over the weekend they were gone and I had no issues with my connection. Given how consistent it was prior to them leaving, and the return of the lag after they came back, I am pretty certain it is my roommate that is causing this issue. I want them off of my personal wifi.

I am able to disconnect them from my wifi in a way which they will be unable to sign back on. This is something I would like to avoid since we get along well.

How do I communicate to my roommate that I want them off my wifi, without damaging our relationship?

Edit: I apologise for not mentioning this in the original post. I'm in the US but this apartment has free internet. Each room can easily get their own connection by plugging in a router and signing up online for free. After living here for almost a year, I had never experienced this lag before. I had very fast speeds until this roommate moved in.

  • 3
    Have you just asked them how the search for their internet connection is going?
    – WendyG
    Oct 23, 2018 at 10:10
  • Could you please make it clear if you are buying your own entirely seperate data or if you are referring to the apartments communal, free data, but your own router.
    – Jesse
    Oct 24, 2018 at 1:27
  • Why can't you just change your wifi password? Nov 20, 2018 at 5:34

4 Answers 4


I would focus on the actual problem (you are experiencing high pings) rather than criticise the roommate's behaviour.

Hey ROOMMATE, I play online games at night which is super sensitive to ping, I've been noticing I've been getting very high pings at night sometimes. This has been negatively impacting my gaming experience.

Note that it's entirely possible that the internet in your area was just congested at that time and it's not your roommate's fault, it's possible they wasn't using the internet or it's possible it was them.

You seem to understand this which is already very kind and sensitive of you (good job). The important distinction is to not start with blaming them for anything especially since this sounds like it's a problem they might not even be aware of or understand.

Then, I'd contrast it with experience from your relationship as roommates.

I'd like to think of us as friends who help each other out. I value our relationship as room mates and I think it's great we're getting along. I want you to know I'm here for you.

Some people have a hard time giving compliments or being open about their feelings. If this is hard you can practice.

Then I'd ask them about solutions:

Do you have any idea how we can figure out what's causing the high pings? I think it might be the ISP or the fact you're using the computer at the same time or something else.

You can suggest that they try to use the internet at the same time as you play and measure how that impacts the pings. Make sure this isn't about them being wrong or bad or right - it's about addressing your issue as roommates who work together and want each other to have a pleasant home life.

Note it's important to be open about these things - the kind thing to your roommate is to tell them about the problem so you can figure it out together.

Then, you can figure out how to solve the issue:

  • You can use a tool that does traffic shaping on their computer to limit the bandwidth he uses on your internet to a point it doesn't bother you (like, 1MBPs) on the router or their computer - maybe that's fine by you and doesn't bother them.
  • You can purchase a second plan (which is typically discounted) from the ISP together and not share for the plan.

Remember, focus on the problem that's bothering you (high pings) and not the problem of fairness (he's not paying for the internet) unless that problem bothers you. If it does - it's also fine to ask them to pay for the internet but then expect them to have equal footing and have an easier time making demands about the quality of service as well - so I would not recommend it for starters.

Watch out for safety cues (like the roommate getting defensive) and if they do - step back and emphasise the shared goal (living well together and getting along) and your willingness to figure out a solution together.


There is no way to get around talking to them honestly (passive aggressive behavior is the doom of roommate relationships).

The way to bring it up is to address the issue honestly and without any apologies, awkward pauses, or uncomfortable silences. Make them understand that you don't see them as a bad person, you just think the internet is not working well with the current arrangement.

I would basically say something like:

Hey, Sepiyanqwa. I think we need to both pay for the internet. It's been really slow for the past couple of months, and it's because we're basically both using a line meant for one. What do you think if we get a more expensive service and pay for it together?

At which point it's going to be up to Sepi whether too get offended or be like, "yeah, ok, fair enough."

It's normal to behave that way. Many people would fall into that trap, seeing that they aren't paying, and the other person doesn't seem to mind, and all is well as it is. But people generally want to be fair.

The key is not to come off as though this has been bothering you for a while. This can create tension, as you would basically be letting them know that you've been secretly annoyed with them the whole time, even when they thought your relationship was fine. That's unpleasant. You need to let them know that you aren't annoyed with them, you just want them to help you get the internet back to normal speed. You can even openly tell them so.

If they are like most people, they'll recognize that you are asking something perfectly reasonable. And if they think that you shouldn't be bringing up them paying for the internet, well... you'll have an extra story about a crazy roommate you once had.


I used to play a lot of online games with the need of good latency, and the only way for me to able to use the router alone was to just say it. Note that I did use to pay the internet bill alone and I wasn't staying with a roommate, it was in my family house and we were 4-5 members.

You seem to like playing those video games and you'd like to have a stable low latency. I would just be direct about it.

Sit down with your roommate, bring back the subject that you allowed them to use your personal router until they get theirs, and be clear about it. I would go with something like this:

Hey John, I would like to share some of my interests with you. I do like playing video games online. To do so, I need low latency. Since you're still using my personal router, which I have no problem with it, I would like you to disconnect for an hour or two while I feel like playing, or in case you urgently need to stay connected, make sure not to spend too much bandwidth such as watching videos or browsing pictures.

At the end of this, I would continue using Misha R's answer by suggesting to upgrade the service and split the bill since you already stated the reason.

In my opinion being honest here is the best approach since there's nothing really going on.


Before a confrontation, it is always best to get all the facts. Then if you are faced with a counter argument you are in the best position to improvise what you are saying.

Although you sound pretty tech savvy and know how to block him on your router, the only reason you give for suspecting that he is using a lot of bandwidth is that when he's not there, your games don't lag. Before anything else, I think you should look on your router to see who is connected. Is there a possibility that your roommate has given your password out to neighbours and there are more people connected? It just occurs to me that it would take some seriously heavy internet use to make your games lag. If he was a gamer, you'd probably know. If it is just your roommate, your router may hold some details on what he is doing on the internet. If he is using something like P2P then that would explain your lag; but if he's just browsing the web I don't see how that would impact on you.

Another way of viewing it though is that if you had a guest, it would be normal etiquette to let them have your wifi password. If your roommate is just doing the occasional bit of browsing, checking email etc, no more than a guest might, is it really worth arguing over the principle of this?

If you've checked the facts and you are sure he is using your internet service enough to impact on you then speak to them. Be reasonable. Rather than kick them off your router unceremoniously, why not give them a deadline to get their own service? Perhaps say something like:

Have you purchased your own router yet? Just that I'm finding my internet speeds aren't adequate for my own needs when shared. Can we agree you'll be on your own service by the end of the week? (or whatever is reasonable) That should give you enough time, then I'll change my wifi password.

  • lag is not directly the result of bandwidth exhaustion, some ISPs will move your traffic to a slower(read high latency) connection if you are using a certain amount of bandwidth. If somebody is streaming video on your internet connection, your ping will skyrocket ( I do this to myself accidentally when something is updating in the background while im gaming) Oct 23, 2018 at 21:18
  • "It would take some serious internet use to make the games lag" - that would depend on what speeds/bandwidth you have. Like if you're on a 10/1 connection, I can see that going pretty quickly.
    – user75
    Oct 23, 2018 at 23:26

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