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Wireless Connection Speed Reduced by Half

Last response: in Wireless Networking
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August 3, 2012 1:12:43 AM

Hi thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this.

My problem is my wireless connection. Well I shouldn't really say it's a problem yet because I don't know if my situation is normal or not but let me start explaining.

I noticed my wireless connection was decently fast for my needs which was 13-15 up /5 down. I am in the next room from my study and around <10 ft away from the modem in the study. However today the internet was extremely slow for everyone in the house so I went to reset the modem. After resetting the modem I noticed that the internet speed went a bit up and so I used speedtest.net to see how fast the connection was in the study. The computer in the study is connected with a ethernet cable to the modem. I was amazed that the speed in the study was nearly double the amount. I understand that wireless connections are undoubtedly slower than a wired connection, but is it normal for the speed to drop by half when I am <10 ft away from the modem?

I apologize for my terrible punctuation it's been a while since I had to study for my SAT's.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.
a b F Wireless
August 3, 2012 1:51:16 AM

The problem w/ wireless is not that it's just slower by nature, but that it's a shared resource.

When using wire, everyone has their own dedicated connection to the router. But when using wireless, you're competing w/ everyone else for the one and only radio freq/channel. Like all radio communications, at any given time, only two stations can be communicating on the same freq/channel (it’s like a walkie-talkie, or a party line).

So let's say you’re the only wireless user at the moment, and you’re downloading a large file @ 10Mbps. A few moments later, another student accesses the router over wireless and begins downloading a large file too. Again, since the router can only communicate w/ each of you one at a time, whenever it’s servicing your request, it’s making the other student WAIT. And vice versa, whenever it’s servicing the other student’s request, you must WAIT. The net effect is that each of you has your effective throughput cut roughly in HALF, or 5Mbps using our example. Add more wireless users and throughput drops even further (1/3, 1/4, etc.).

Of course, other factors come into play as well, including interference, obstacles, weather and other environmental conditions. Yeah, even just a few feet can sometimes make a big difference if the conditions are right (wrong?).

That’s why wireless sucks. It’s convenient, but it doesn’t scale very well. So use a wired connection whenever possible.
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