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How much of a drop in speed is normal wired vs. wireless?


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#1 SquarePeggy

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 07:49 PM

When plugged into the router, my download speeds are consistently 30-40 mbps.  Wireless signal strength is excellent (laptop is within  5 feet of router).  Wireless dowload speeds max out at 15 and are sometimes as low as 2 mbps.  Today I tried to dowload Lightroom 4 and the expected dowload time was 3 hours!  After 30 minutes I canceled the dowload and hunted down my ethernet cable.  The download took less than 5 minutes.  What is going on?  I have installed updated drivers, updated bios and have set all the power management settings to maximize performance.

 

Edit to add that wireless speed on my previous laptop was never an issue.  Also pc with wireless adaptor which is 3 rooms away from router has a 20-25 mbps.   


Edited by SquarePeggy, 30 March 2013 - 07:52 PM.


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#2 smax013

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 09:42 AM

When plugged into the router, my download speeds are consistently 30-40 mbps.  Wireless signal strength is excellent (laptop is within  5 feet of router).  Wireless dowload speeds max out at 15 and are sometimes as low as 2 mbps.  Today I tried to dowload Lightroom 4 and the expected dowload time was 3 hours!  After 30 minutes I canceled the dowload and hunted down my ethernet cable.  The download took less than 5 minutes.  What is going on?  I have installed updated drivers, updated bios and have set all the power management settings to maximize performance.

 

Edit to add that wireless speed on my previous laptop was never an issue.  Also pc with wireless adaptor which is 3 rooms away from router has a 20-25 mbps.   

 

From your description, the leading suspect would be the wireless adapter/card in the laptop.  It could be an actual hardware problem with the wireless card/adapter or maybe a poorly designed antenna setup for the built-in wireless card/adapter.  I am not sure if there is really a good way to test this or not other than buying an external WiFi adapter (such as a USB WiFi adapter) and seeing if it works better.

 

The other major suspect would be some sort of interference with the WiFi signal.  Since the other computer with a wireless adapter seems to work fine, this is less likely...but maybe there is something really local that is causing a problem.  Do you have a wireless phone or wireless phone basestation close by?

 

I will note that it might be useful if the moderators moved this topic over to the networking forum.  There might be some folks who pay attention to that forum but not this one...and they might be able to help.



#3 SquarePeggy

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 09:16 AM

Posting a follow up as this is still unresolved and I have tried everything.  Had the Dell tech out here and he replaced the wireless card and the motherboard.  Still can't get good download speeds using the wireless signal.  They suggested it might be my router so I took the laptop to a friends and using their wifi had the same poor result.  I went to my local Verizon office and got an updated router because mine is old but really not looking forward to having to re setup all of our pcs and tablets with the new router info.  Also ordered a wifi usb adapter (which I needed a new one for our pc) and will be trying that in the laptop to see if that improves connectivity and speed.  

 

Are my expectations too high?  What is the typical drop off in speed when using wireless vs. ethernet cable?



#4 chrisd87

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 10:11 AM

An 802.11g laptop connected to an 802.11n router, for example, will network at the lower speeds of 'g' which maxes out at 20mb

 

 

Also, typical 802.11g Wireless has a theoretical maximum of 54Mbps. Typical wired 10/100 Ethernet has a theoretical maximum of 100 Mbps. So in theory wired is faster.

However, these speeds are only on your local network. Most high-speed internet connections range from 1Mbps to 25 Mbps. Even on faster internet connections you're only approaching 1/2 of the full throughput of your wireless system.

 

In practice, its not likely you will see much of a difference unless you are transferring very large amounts of data across your local network.

I typically make the wired/wireless decision based on the usage of the machine. If it is a desktop that will never move, wired is the way to go. If its a laptop that will be mobile, the convenience of wireless by far out weighs any difference in transmission speed.

 

If you’d like to know if Ethernet would be faster for you, try this simple test. Go to Speedtest.com and run the benchmark on your Wi-Fi-connected PC. Then, connect the computer via Ethernet (be sure to turn off Wi-Fi) and try the test again. If the second test is quicker, you are losing performance to the ether by using Wi-Fi.

 

Connections between home computers are a bit different. They rely only on your home network infrastructure, so the improved transfer speeds of Ethernet are always relevant. The question is, do you transfer large files between computers on your home network? If you do, Ethernet is still important; if not, Wi-Fi is just dandy.

 


Edited by chrisd87, 17 May 2013 - 10:18 AM.

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