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Isn\'t the overall Internet connection speeds limited to WAN speed of the router

Last response: in Wireless Networking
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October 1, 2011 11:52:46 PM

When purchasing an "N" router that advertises 300 mbs wireless speed, isn't your actual internet connection speed determined by the WAN connection of the router? If the WAN/LAN connection of the same router is 10/100, wouldn't your max internet connection speed be 100 mbs? If this is the case, wouldn't it be better to purchase a router that has a 10/100/1000 WAN/LAN connection so you can take advantage of the 300 mbs wireless?
October 2, 2011 1:50:14 AM

The Internet bottleneck is always going to be the ISP connection (cable/dsl etc) for your local area network (which includes WiFi segments) then you are going to go as fast as you can. If all the hard wired LAN traffic is switched at 100/1000 Ethernet speeds your WiFi nodes are always going be be slower, besides real world numbers on 802.11n are much lower than what they say.
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October 2, 2011 2:18:12 AM

Trying to understand if I purchase a new router and it is a new "N", advertised at 10/100 WAN/LAN with a 300 mbs wireless, if the connection between a desktop wired to the LAN and a laptop with a wireless "N" adaptor would be connecting to the internet at the max speed set by the WAN connection to the cable modem. If that is the case, I would be farther ahead to make sure the "N" router I purchase is a 10/100/1000 WAN/LAN with a 300 mbs wireless correct?
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October 2, 2011 1:39:19 PM

Let me try this again, not sure if I am grasping what you are asking.

802.11n is only the wireless protocol (others are b and g and range from 5.5Mb/s to the mostly theoretical 600Mb/s for N adapters)

10/100/1000 are the wired Ethernet protocols (802.3) and are rated in Mb/sec the last generally referred to as Gigabit Ethernet.

The port on your router that connect to your ISP's modem (WAN port) is generally going to be the same switching speed as the rest of your ports (LAN ports) so lets say 1000Base-T (Gigabit Ethernet).

However, the Ethernet port on your ISP's modem is probably only 10Base-t or 10Mb/s, so right there we have a bottle neck. Your internet service is probably even slower (1.5Mb/s up to 8Mb/s seems typical these days). Actual throughput will vary depending on a plethora of variables.

Any device (laptop etc) connected to the router (by any protocal, wireless or wired) is going to be limited by the slowest connection on the Wide Area Network (WAN port) AND/OR the available service speed provided by the internet service provider.

The only time that faster WiFi speeds (above and beyond the slowest WAN choke point) is when you are transferring data between nodes on the LAN side of the network. SO, examples of this might be playing games between computers on your LAN, copying large files, streaming media from one PC to a Laptop or other wireless enabled device (e.g. television or media center PC).

Choosing 802.11N over its slower counterparts really doesn't have anything to do with accessing the Internet. It's all about maximizing speeds within your LAN.
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October 3, 2011 3:13:55 AM

So, your true speed is based on the delivery of data coming from the cable modem box, thru the WAN to be delivered either via the LAN or Wireless. I think my cable speed for download is suppose to be around 4 Mb/s. The fastest router I could get would be a 1000Base-T WAN/LAN and 300 Mb/s Wireless adaptor for data delivery from the cable modem at this time. I understand under that configuration, the cable modem would be my bottleneck then. Thanks I think I have a lot better understanding of possible internal network and internet network performance bottlenecks now.
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October 9, 2011 8:00:05 AM

Best answer selected by dcurns.
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October 9, 2011 1:45:41 PM

This topic has been closed by Area51reopened
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