Your ISP (internet service provider) controls your internet bandwidth. You have little control over the bandwidth your ISP gives you, bar changing which package you’re on. However, you can also use a built-in Windows setting that influences your internet speed.
In this guide, we explain what limit reservable bandwidth is, how it influences your internet connection speed, how to change it, and if changing it is a good idea.
What Is “Limit Reservable Bandwidth”?
Windows uses a Quality of Service (QoS) Packet Scheduler to regulate the network’s bandwidth. It reserves bandwidth for high-priority tasks such as Windows Update over other tasks that compete for internet bandwidth, like streaming a movie. By default, QoS reserves 20% of the total bandwidth for high-priority tasks, while the other 80% is always available.
It’s important to note that the 20% reserved bandwidth isn’t permanently unavailable for non-priority tasks. When no high-priority tasks are ongoing, this 20% chunk of your bandwidth remains available for all apps on your PC.
Contrary to how many on the internet claim that reducing this limit to 0% improves internet speed, your PC can always use 100% of the bandwidth, unless a high-priority task needs some of that bandwidth. If a high-priority task does need bandwidth, it’s in your best interest to allow those tasks to use the bandwidth and ensure your computer’s security and overall health.
However, should you still choose the change the reserved bandwidth, you’ll need to change a setting called Limit Reservable Bandwidth.
How to Change the Limit Reservable Bandwidth
You can change the bandwidth limit using the Local Group Policy Editor, Registry Editor, and Settings app.
You can use the Settings app when you want to only control the bandwidth reserved for Windows Update (and not other high-priority actions).
If you want to control the bandwidth for all high-priority actions, use either the Local Group Policy Editor or the Registry Editor.
How to Change the Limit Reservable Bandwidth With the Group Policy Editor
If you’re on Windows Home, you might want to choose the Registry Editor or first get access to the Local Group Policy Editor.
Start by launching the Group Policy Editor. Search for edit group policy in the Start Menu and select the Best Match.
Use the left sidebar in the Group Policy Editor to navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Network > QoS Packet Scheduler.
Switch to the right-pane and search for a setting called Limit reservable bandwidth. Double-click on the setting. You’ll see the option to switch the setting to Enabled by selecting the radio button next to it. Once you’ve enabled it, set the bandwidth limit to 100% (or a different number based on your preference).
Click OK to save and exit.
If you change your mind later, just change the status of the setting to Not Configured.
How to Change the Limit Reservable Bandwidth With the Registry Editor
You can also use the Registry Editor instead of the Group Policy Editor. Search for registry editor in the Start Menu to launch the Registry Editor.
Once you’re in the Registry Editor, paste the following into the navigation bar and press Enter:
Look for a value named Psched. If you don’t see Psched, just create it by right-clicking in the white space and selecting New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.
Once you see the new value, double-click on the value and rename it to Psched.
The Value date field is set to 0 by default, which indicates that none of the bandwidth (0%) will be reserved for high-priority tasks. You can leave the Value data field as 0 if you always want the full bandwidth to be available for all apps.
Alternatively, you can change it to a different number that represents a percentage value. For example, if you set the value to 10, 10% of your total bandwidth will be reserved for high-priority tasks like Windows Update.
If you change your mind later and want to revert to the default, you can delete the value you just created. Alternatively, you can change the Value data to 20, which is the default setting.
How to Change the Limit Reservable Bandwidth With the Settings App
You can control the bandwidth reserved for Windows Update using the Settings app. Note that this change only applies to Windows Update and not other high-priority tasks initiated by the operating system such as OS license checks.
Start by pressing Win + I to launch the Settings app. Select Windows Update from the left sidebar and navigate to Advanced options > Delivery Optimization > Advanced options.
You have the following options to regulate the bandwidth for Windows Update in this section:
- Select the limit you want to place on Windows Update in absolute terms (in Mbps) or as a percentage of your total bandwidth.
- Under both absolute and percentage options, you can restrict the bandwidth available for download when the updates are downloading in the background (first option) and foreground (second option).
- Select the bandwidth limit for uploading updates to other PCs by allowing a certain percentage of your total bandwidth.
- You can also place a total limit on uploading updates to other PCs (in GB). When this limit is reached, your computer will stop uploading updates to other PCs on the internet altogether. The maximum limit here is 500GB.
Should You Change the Limit Reservable Bandwidth?
If you want to change the reserved bandwidth to improve your internet speed, it’s best to rely on other methods of improving the internet speed.
Also, remember that the reserved bandwidth isn’t permanently unavailable. When Windows isn’t performing any high-priority actions, you’ll be able to use all of your internet bandwidth.
If you have a different reason to change the reserved bandwidth, and you know what you’re doing, feel free to use one of the methods discussed above.
Manage Your Internet Bandwidth Better
You’re now ready to take control of your internet bandwidth. But remember, poor internet speeds typically aren’t caused by the default bandwidth limit. There are several other reasons that can result in reduced Wi-Fi speeds.