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Blaine B

join:2004-07-11
Indiana

Wireless Connection Speed ~60% Compared To Wired

Hello. As a new Comcast internet user for less than three weeks, I had to add a PCI MSI wireless-G card to my desktop computer. I was previously a AT&T/SBC DSL customer for about 10 years @ a connection speed of 1.25 mb/down.

Recently, I ditched the DSL and converted to Comcast's performance package, which has a 25 mb/down speed.

I noticed that I was only getting 16-17 mb/down when connected wirelessly. It did not matter if I was using my desktop or my laptop, or how close or far away the computers were from my Netgear router (even tried with the laptop sitting directly beside the router.)

Then I got the genius idea to plug in my laptop directly to the router. When connected via a ethernet cable, my speed on the laptop went up to 28 mb/down!

At first I thought it was my router. I did a similar test at my Father's home.

My Father has AT&T Uverse and his wired connection speed is about 24 mb/down. I tested the wireless speed on his laptop and it was about 14 mb/down. He has a Linksys wireless-G router which is newer than my Netgear router, but still seems to have experienced the same speed loss when using a wireless connection versus a wired connection.

I looked through my router's settings. I was using WPA-TKIP for security and changed this to WPA2-PSA, but that had no effect on speed.

I also do not use any of the internet traffic priority settings for wireless. I only have one wireless connection used in my home as well, and I use channel 11 as most of my neighbors seem to be using channels 1 or 6.

I have read some other articles where some people were able to achieve faster speeds over wifi, but I am not sure what they did. Some used a third-party firmware with their routers. But it seems pretty common to have about a 50% loss in speed when connected wireless from what I have read.

Thank you.

HELLFIRE
Premium
join:2009-11-25
kudos:19

3 edits
said by Blaine B:

But it seems pretty common to have about a 50% loss in speed when connected wireless from what I have read.

The SHORT, short version is wireless is HALF-DUPLEX -- only one endhost, be it the AP or the computer or the laptop itself, can
talk at once. You mentioned wireless-G which ideally has 54Mbps ON PAPER, so at half duplex takes that down to 27Mbps. Halve
that again for each additional wireless host you have present.

Newer 802.11 technologies N and AC promise faster speeds than G / 54Mbps, but is still subject to the halfduplex operation,
and is also reliant on you understanding the caveats / gotchas! / etc. read: simply buying a N / AC device does not automatically
give you N / AC speeds.

Where to go next from here : you want speed / reliability, stick to wired. You want convenience, go with wireless.

My 00000010bits

Regards


Selenia
Gentoo Convert
Premium
join:2006-09-22
Fort Smith, AR
kudos:2
Oh c'mon now, while that political statement may have some truth on an absolute scale, lime if you wanna push near gbit speeds, it is less relevent to him at 30 mbps. What should have been pointed out is the wireless gear the OP talks about is absolutely ancient. Wireless G spikes in the 30's under ideal conditions but 27 mbps is about right for sustained throughput in ideal conditions. For OP's benefit, brings up the fact wireless tends to transmit in bursts, especially in a crowded area. Which means your equipment should be rated 3x the speed you need, just to be safe. You should also use the less crowded and noisy 5GHz band for max throughput, something 802.11g gear just can't do. I use it for my gear tbat is capable and stays within range(like not used outside) as 5GHz does have lower range. Leaves less to contend with on 2.4 and practical to use 40MHz channel widths. My net is 802.11n and has pushed over 200 mbps(5 GHz). Averages way over 100. Not all N gear can do that though. There is also AC to futureproof yourself with fazter speeds you either don't need or your current gear does not support, but tbat will change with time. Nothing wrong with a bit of future proofing.

Blaine B

join:2004-07-11
Indiana
The thing is, I am not getting 27 mb under wireless. I get 28 wired and about 16-17 when wireless.

Similar numbers for my Father's Uverse service which is slightly slower.

I also noticed....when I installed Comcast, they initially set me up with the Blast package (their mistake) which has a 50 mb/down speed. My wireless speed (16-17 mb/down) was identicle to that when I am currently on the Performance package (rated @ 25 mb/down, realistically 28 mb/down)


Selenia
Gentoo Convert
Premium
join:2006-09-22
Fort Smith, AR
kudos:2
16-17 is realistic for non-optimised wireless G under real world conditions. HELLFIRE and I were talking under ideal conditions, which encompasses many ideals, some difficult or impossible to fully control. You really need at least 802.11n to deliver that speed on a consistent basis. You might squeeze out a few more mbps if some settings are adjustable, but not much more. Definitely not 30 consistently. Time to upgrade.

Blaine B

join:2004-07-11
Indiana

1 edit
I would really like to be hardwired, but unless I run ethernet all over the house, or do the ghetto "run cable line on the outside of the siding" I will be stuck on wireless.

The advantage of DSL is that any phone line is your connection to the internet. But with UVERSE they need to re-wire at least that one phone outlet, especially in an older home.

When my Dad upgraded to UVERSE, his home is only 15 years old, and even then they had to rewire the outlet. He has a ranch home and his office is on an exterior wall with a basement located directly beneath, so that upgrade in wiring was easy-peesy.

In my home I would have the same issue if I wanted to connect to Uverse, as they would only be able to (easily) rewire one of the phone lines that are located on the first floor, through the basement.

HELLFIRE
Premium
join:2009-11-25
kudos:19
reply to Blaine B
said by Blaine B:

I would really like to be hardwired, but unless I run ethernet all over the house, or do the ghetto "run cable line on the outside of the siding" I will be stuck on wireless.

Call a professional wiring or network installer and get a quote to wire the house with Cat5e / Cat6.

Unfortunately, there is no Au / Ag bullet for this.

Regards


John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8
reply to Blaine B
There is also the issue of wireless overhead that needs to be considered. This overhead does not contribute to the data payload throughput.

There is a whole lot going on behind the scenes when you're using wireless.

Blaine B

join:2004-07-11
Indiana
I understand. But I read things about folks who achieved 30+ mb/down when on a wireless network. They may have been using G or N. It was definitely not AC from what I can remember.


Selenia
Gentoo Convert
Premium
join:2006-09-22
Fort Smith, AR
kudos:2
reply to Blaine B
Upgrade your router. Most likely, if your gear was made in the last several years, it can handle 802.11n. Just stay away from those cheapo single stream routers as they are only marginally better than 802.11g and only better at close range(identifiable by their up to 150mbps ratings). 802.11n(real deal 802.11n) and 802.11ac offer a vast speed increase over 802.11g. Your line speed warrants the upgrade as 802.11g has issues handling high speed broadband. It was fine when speeds were under 20 mbps or so, so long as you did not need high speed wireless transfers, but the world has moved on and your 802.11g equipment is now a relic. Not much can be done about it.

Blaine B

join:2004-07-11
Indiana
Good point. Is AC backwards-compatible with N?

I would assume N would be the next "relic" for the future, so AC would be a better choice?


Selenia
Gentoo Convert
Premium
join:2006-09-22
Fort Smith, AR
kudos:2
Depends on what your budget is for futureproofing and if you do a lot of wireless LAN transfers. It is backward compatible with N, but a few do not support the 2.4GHz band. Most N routers support 2.4 GHz and many 5 GHz(any worth their salt) and all AC routers support 5 GHz(many AC routers will do channel bonding between 2.4 and 5 GHz(major new feature for AC)).

As to becoming a relic, yes if you are in a hotspot for gbit connectivity. Then again, AC equipment implementation is not yet complete, as there is still beam forming and 160 MHz channel bonding(currently 80 MHz on the high end) to be implemented, so even current AC routers may become relics by cutting edge standards. For most, I believe both have some time before they become relics in terms of what people need, which 802.11g has now become.

I believe the speed of N and AC is more highly influenced by the quality of the router. After all, it needs some RAM and CPU power to route those packets fast. You want to make sure it supports MIMO, which the single stream devices do not. MIMO uses multiple carriers to do spatial multiplexing, which is a major feature the 802.11n spec introduced and 802.11ac makes use of, as well.

It is desirable to use 5 GHz, as I said but I am not sure how much of your equipment supports that(as a side note, Android tends to be buggy on 5 GHz so I keep my Nexus on 2.4 but it works great for my other 5 GHz gear). It allows more multiplexing as well as clean use of 40 MHz channel widths via channel bonding.

The best N gear can achieve over 200 mbps and much of the better stuff over 100 mbps, especially on 5 GHz. AC is rated well over a gbit on the high end but real world results were around 600-700 mbps. I will leave it up to you-cheaper and currently better supported vs future proofing and very high speed LAN transfers(provided you have AC client gear).

Blaine B

join:2004-07-11
Indiana
I know my MSI PCI wireless card supports only B or G. I am not sure what my Toshiba laptop can support. I doubt it can do N.


Selenia
Gentoo Convert
Premium
join:2006-09-22
Fort Smith, AR
kudos:2
I am typing from a Toshiba laptop that is just short of 4 years old(runs Linux well) I believe and it supports 802.11n on 2.4 GHz. My friends Sony Vaio around the same age does, as well. Newer devices support 5 GHz, as well. I have seen, however, transfer rates of over 40 mbit(sometimes over 50) on this laptop. 5 GHz equipment tends to be faster, especially with channel bonding, but not too shabby for 2.4GHz on a laptop that age.

Blaine B

join:2004-07-11
Indiana
My Toshiba is about the same age. 2009ish I believe. It is a Sattelite A305.

I am not really concerned about the laptop not getting the fast speeds, as I really never use it. It is just a "in case" or travel necessity, but I don't use it at home. I love my desktop workstation as I always have, and that is what I grew up with.

Laptops and tablets are not really my thing.


mozerd
Light Will Pierce The Darkness
Premium,MVM
join:2004-04-23
Nepean, ON

1 edit
reply to Blaine B
said by Blaine B:

I would assume N would be the next "relic" for the future, so AC would be a better choice?

Yes, AC is the better choice. AC is an extension of N while N has absolutely no relationship to G/B/A.

If you want superior wireless performance Your wireless client must be CAPABLE. 99.9% of people do not understand the difference between CAPABLE wireless and compatible wireless. Capable wireless can and will match [or exceed] wired 10/100 throughput while compatible wireless will be very challenged and in most cases have mediocre performance metrics.

So if your N router is capable of 3 stream MIMO your wireless Client must be as capable -- the very best wireless 3 stream wireless adapter I've had experience with is the ASUS N-USB66

If on the other hand your N router is 2 stream MIMO it will be less capable BUT if the ASUS N-USB66 is used as the wireless client the performance will be outstanding.
--
David Mozer
IT-Expert on Call
Information Technology for Home and Business

Blaine B

join:2004-07-11
Indiana
That is one space age looking router!

Thank you for the information regarding wireless.

Eventually I will get around to looking where I could snake an Ethernet cable. I'm not really sure how to make it look nice.


mozerd
Light Will Pierce The Darkness
Premium,MVM
join:2004-04-23
Nepean, ON
said by Blaine B:

That is one space age looking router!

Its NOT a router .... its a 3x3 wireless client that plugs into your Desktop or Laptop USB port so that you can get fantastic wireless speeds from a CAPABLE wireless router. It does have some additional features that enable other stuff but my MAIN point was that it is a very capable wireless N CLIENT.
--
David Mozer
IT-Expert on Call
Information Technology for Home and Business

Blaine B

join:2004-07-11
Indiana
OH, so it is essentially a network card/antenna!

My mistake.

HELLFIRE
Premium
join:2009-11-25
kudos:19
reply to Blaine B
A good resource to use about wireless router performance is www.smallnetbuilder.com, specifically their wireless tests.
If you are looking to max out your internet pipe over wireless, you will want to use their charts as reference.

In terms of backwards compatibility goes : AC -> N -> G -> B, but the best things is to make sure all your wireless
gear is of the same tech generation.

Bottom line, if you want top performance, be prepared to do alot of research and pay top dollar.

My 00000010bits

Regards

Blaine B

join:2004-07-11
Indiana
Thanks. Or hardwire! I know that wireless is not ideal. It is merely a convenience.


mozerd
Light Will Pierce The Darkness
Premium,MVM
join:2004-04-23
Nepean, ON
reply to HELLFIRE
Their chamber wireless tests have ZERO applicability to the real world so I for one would discourage anyone from using their tests results as a viable measure of a wireless routers capability.


mozerd
Light Will Pierce The Darkness
Premium,MVM
join:2004-04-23
Nepean, ON
reply to Blaine B
I have a very large number of my Clients who use wireless exclusively and love it. Wireless N/AC works well ... However wireless g/b have lots of issues.


Jan Janowski
Premium
join:2000-06-18
Skokie, IL
Reviews:
·Comcast

4 edits
reply to Blaine B
I can definitely say: Been There, Done That!

Happened to me, too. Many things to ask..
Are you running a router? Does it have a SPA process? Turn it off and try again. Mine limited me to 18-20Mb down. Off I went to to 26Mb. (At that time I had 25Mb service).
You might turn off other features as I've heard some routers throughput falls with some of the filters an features... (I have a Linksys small business Router)

What Wireless Channel are you on? Are you on 5Ghz? High end?
I was on Ch 157 and couldn't get past 36Mb down... I found the lower channel on 5Ghz I was on, the faster specs I achieved! I'm on CH 36 now and get 56Mb down! (I now have 50Mb service). (I use a Linksys E2000 Router) P.S. to this: I was the only 5Ghz Wireless signal I could see, so it must have been portable phones or such.
I now get same speeds on Wireless or Wired! 56Mb down 12Mb up on 50/10Mb service..

Other things I did... I had switched to Gb Wan & Lan Routers and Switch(s)... and when I did that, I switched to Cat 6 cable everywhere.... Note that the Comcast Arris box I have noticed this infrastructure upgrade by automatically switching from 100Mb to 1000(Gigabit) speed from Comcast box as seen in the Arris box Event Log, up from 100Mb
--
Looking for 1939 Indian Motocycle


Selenia
Gentoo Convert
Premium
join:2006-09-22
Fort Smith, AR
kudos:2
He can't be on 5GHz. He already stated he has 802.11g equipment, hence my urging him to upgrade.

HELLFIRE
Premium
join:2009-11-25
kudos:19
reply to mozerd
said by mozerd:

Their chamber wireless tests have ZERO applicability to the real world so I for one would discourage anyone from using their tests results as a viable measure of a wireless routers capability.

As opposed to using... what exactly? I agree, they can't possibly test for every possible combination, scenario
and setup, but I look at it as a resource (and alot more information to have) to help one make an informed decision
as opposed to walking into the store blind, deaf and dumb.

YMMV. My 00000010bits

Regards

Blaine B

join:2004-07-11
Indiana
reply to Selenia
That is correct, I am on G. I am using Channel 11 as well.

To be honest, although my internet speed has not changed.....web browsing seems to "feel" faster after replacing my Comcast provided Technicolor gateway with a Zoom 5341J modem.

I use a Netgear router as well.


Selenia
Gentoo Convert
Premium
join:2006-09-22
Fort Smith, AR
kudos:2
Well, the megabits is bandwidth, which is how much data can be transferred per second. There is also latency, or the round trip delay in getting replies from a server. Web pages are small most the time but with many small parts from different sources. Meaning, unlike the ads tout, a higher speed(bandwidth) generally does not speed up browsing that much. However, better latency(lower pimg) can make a world of difference as it directly affects the response time for each request made for page elements. Not to say there is not great uses for bandwidth, but not for the casual web surfer. Get into downloading large files, watching HD video, etc then you need more bandwidth.

Blaine B

join:2004-07-11
Indiana
Would it hurt to tell you that I am also using a system that I built over 7 1/2 years ago?

Blaine B

join:2004-07-11
Indiana
reply to Selenia
Get this....I was at my Father's home today, tinkering with his network.

I previously stated that his wireless was slower than his direct wired. He has a Linksys WRT54G (the "newer" style black box with no external antennas)

I was flipping through the settings. I updated his wireless security to WPA2 and I also set the transmit to 54G instead of auto.

What do you know? Now his wireless laptop is picking up the exact same speed (24 mb/down) as his direct wired desktop!

What gives? I have a Netgear WGR614V7 and even with my laptop directly beside the router, I am still about 60% less than direct wired.

Both routers are wireless-G routers!