WiFi vs Wired Download Speeds

Discussion in 'computers, web and general tech' started by tommers, Jul 27, 2018.

  1. tommers

    tommers Your disco needs you

    So... we've got Virgin Fibre. I just tested my download speed with my laptop in its usual position, connected wirelessly and got about 5 Mbps.

    I wired it into the router and got 230 Mbps. :hmm: The laptop is about 7 foot away from the router, in the same room.

    I never realised the difference would be that big. Why is it such a big difference? We've got the usual things going, the telly is on, tablets etc.

    The router is the standard Virgin one. Is it worth getting a better one? Will it make a difference? Or do I just need to get a 10 foot ethernet cable and run it round the fireplace. :confused:
  2. neonwilderness

    neonwilderness What would Badgers do?

    Is your WiFi set up as 5Ghz? Try that if not, or try changing the WiFi channel.

    Wired will generally be faster though.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2018
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  3. cybershot

    cybershot Well-Known Member

    Wired always faster. Should always get close to the speeds your paying for. Or in virgins case. Usually faster.

    There could be umpteen reasons why the WiFi is slow.

    Is every single wireless device slow? Or just that one device?
  4. joustmaster

    joustmaster offcumdun

    Is your laptop very old
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  5. UnderAnOpenSky

    UnderAnOpenSky baseline neural therapy

    When I got Virgin WiFi I had to upgrade the wireless dongle on my desktop. Was nowhere near as fast as a wired connection or my phone. Now on AC it reports a similar speed to the media server/download box that's wired straight into the router.
  6. pogofish

    pogofish Testicle Hairstyle

    This. My speeds are markedly better on 5GHz compared to conventional - For download, it is about three times faster.
  7. alex_

    alex_ Well-Known Member

    Even if your laptop was brand new, I’d expect wired to be faster.

    Wired will be 100 or 1000mbps.

    WiFi has interferance - You share the bandwidth with every other device within 20/30/40 meters.

    NoXion likes this.
  8. keybored

    keybored #NeverUseTheInternetAgain

    5mbps is exceptionally slow in this case though, could be a combination of the 2 (old (eg. 802.11b) WiFi interface and lots of channel interference). But worth using a WiFi utility to see which channels are less swamped before shelling out for new hardware.
  9. UnderAnOpenSky

    UnderAnOpenSky baseline neural therapy

    But for most people, the difference is negligible when using modern AC wireless kit. Not worth having to have your laptop attached with a wire at any rate.
  10. alex_

    alex_ Well-Known Member

    Completely - but it is worth wiring anything static in, especially things which require predictable bandwidth - eg TVs, pvrs or whatever runs Netflix.

    Eg my tv won’t do 4K over WiFi, but will via Ethernet even though the tv and WiFi are 3m apart and have line of sight.

    This is probably because I can see more than 20 wireless access points from my laptop.

    Last edited: Jul 28, 2018
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  11. alex_

    alex_ Well-Known Member

    It’ll be a big day when someone like bt or talktalk turn off 802.11b and g on access points by default.

  12. tommers

    tommers Your disco needs you

    Laptop is about three or four years old I think. Not ancient.

    I guess it might just be the number of devices. Two kids with a tablet each, my tablet, my phone, wife's phone, TV, switch, wired in NAS, PS4.

    Good idea to run tests on different devices though. I'll do that later on
  13. alex_

    alex_ Well-Known Member

    What kind of router is it ?

  14. tommers

    tommers Your disco needs you

    Standard virgin thing. Probably about two years old.
  15. alex_

    alex_ Well-Known Member

    What kind of router is it ?

  16. mauvais

    mauvais change has become unavoidable

    What kind of phone have you got? iPhone or Android? I ask because you can get apps to describe the WiFi environment and it'd be useful to see the results.
  17. tommers

    tommers Your disco needs you

  18. salem

    salem Well-Known Member

    I knew that wired was always faster the wifi, but I thought the bottle neck would be in the connection from the router to the wider internet and so in real terms you wouldn't notice a difference as the lower capacity wifi would still be more than enough to carry the internet speeds.

    Only realised that wasn't the case when I got a desktop with a crappy usb wifi dongle caused me to investigate further (it was getting ~1mbps and was utterly useless).

    I got a proper wifi card with aerials and used this program (Windows only I think but alternatives for phones etc) to work out which channel would be best (it wasn't the one the router thought) and to move my computer and the aerials about a bit.

    The end result was an increase from around 15mbps to 50mbps with peak speeds around 60mbps. My laptop was getting around 20mbps so it was quite an improvement and I'm only in the next room from the router.
  19. RoyReed

    RoyReed Must fly!

    There's an (Android only) app called WiFi Analyser which could show you which channels were most free of interference from other hubs.
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  20. AnnO'Neemus

    AnnO'Neemus Is so vanilla

    I have a similar problem trying to download stuff, around 1k ethernet/cable speed (maybe even faster if I tried) less than 100 whatsits with WiFi. It's pants. I'm baffled and don't know the answer either, sorry. :(
  21. alex_

    alex_ Well-Known Member

    Surely if the routers channel selection is auto it negates this ?

    ( and most routers have had this set by default for the last 5 years )

  22. mauvais

    mauvais change has become unavoidable

  23. alex_

    alex_ Well-Known Member

    Do a speed test when wired in vs on WiFi when near the device.

  24. RoyReed

    RoyReed Must fly!

    I've only ever used it with two routers. Both had a default preset, but both allowed you to override it.
  25. cybershot

    cybershot Well-Known Member

    Newer devices and routers solve this many devices sharing WiFi bandwidth problem. However all devices need to support it as well as the router. So it’s going to take a few years of steadily upgrading all your kit to get the benefits.

    I don’t even think the latest iPhone supports it for example.Think the Samsung possibly does.
  26. alex_

    alex_ Well-Known Member

    Yes, but 98% of the population won’t change it - so most of the routers you can see will be auto.

  27. alex_

    alex_ Well-Known Member

    What specific tech are you talking about ?

    The above statement is so vague that it’s been true every year for about the last 15 years.

    802.11ax hasn’t even been certified yet.

    Last edited: Jul 29, 2018
  28. cybershot

    cybershot Well-Known Member

    Was this that I was thinking of, took a bit of googling for me to remember, but may not be directly what I was thinking of! Hence the vagueness. I remember looking all this up when I was in the market for a new gaming router but splashing out on a MU-MIMO capable router at the time, seemed pointless as hardly any (if any) of my devices supported it.

    What is MU-MIMO?
  29. xenon

    xenon Sweep and cut

    Any speed testing appps for the iPhone? I only recently got an AC 5Ghz router and it does seem quicker but would be nice to know. Actually I think you can get Iperf on iOS, will check.

    On about 12mbps ADSL, which suits me fine.
  30. alex_

    alex_ Well-Known Member

    Is it worth a general pinned post saying something along the lines of...

    To see if it is a general broadband or just a WiFi issue try Speedtests on WiFi and whilst wired to the router. Do the WiFi test whilst stood near the router with nothing in the way.

    Try the WiFi test using your most modern device.

    For broadband or WiFi issues...

    For both

    Make sure your router is plugged into the master socket.
    Make sure your routers software is upto date, if it is one supplied by bt talktalk etc if will be
    If you are on by bt or talktalk etc they will send you the latest model router if you sign a new contract. Getting the latest router may just mean you have better WiFi on the router than your devices support

    For WiFi

    Can you reposition the device so there are less walls or less cm of wall in a straight line from where you want to use WiFi ? Ideally it would be a distance from thick walls.

    Make sure all of your WiFi clients are up to date, latest version of Windows , iOS, Android etc.

    If you are using a device which doesn’t move and has a network port - can it be wired to the router ? If it is something which requires predictable bandwidth - eg a tv and streaming content - this is even more important.


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