Wi-Fi Speeds

  • With everyone working from home at the end of the school year (and looking more and more like doing the same in the Fall), I looked into upgrading the internet package from my ISP from 300Mbps to a Gig. My issue was that my old router would only kick out between 75Mbps to (rarely)120Mbps here in my office, about 24' from my router. On the other end of my house my son had issues as well. I did some research and thought I understood what I was reading. For instance, I came across a PCMag review of a router that said it had Wi-Fi speeds of up to 1Gbps on 2.4GHz and more than 2Gbps on 5GHz. Then when it listed the figures from actual speed tests they were at 75Mbps from 30' on 2.4 and 330Mbps on 5 from that distance.

    The exact router and hardware performing the test are not really the issue as I decided I should build one instead. My question is why there is such a huge drop off in potential performance from 1Gig to 75 MBps over 30'? I know that Wi-Fi is not going to be as fast as a wired connection. I understand that as distance increases the amount of potential interference increases. Just moving the computer and router 30' apart with no wall between means the signal encountered more than an order of magnitude's worth of interference from what it was supposed to be able to transmit at 2.4GHz, then nearly an order of magnitude on 5? But even the close in speed was only 128Mbps at 2.4 which means even from just a few feet away there is nearly an order of magnitude drop from the potential? I have to be missing something because that seems like a lot to me, but did not seem to put a dent in the reviewer's enthusiastic recommendation of the router.

    The data pulls I need to do for work are ridiculously slow and sometimes they time out and I have to start all over. I was convinced I needed to upgrade, but now I do not know where I should set my expectations. I am willing to spend the money to get what I want and the time to build it, but can I expect any better than what my Nighthawk R8000 is giving me? Enough to justify spending the money? I don't want to spend $400 and go from 75-120 to 120-190. Any help in understanding would be greatly appreciated.

  • @Steeltown-Riot

    WiFi 2.4 and 5.8 GHz physical characteristics affect (high frequency wave propagation, etc.) at what point you get what speed....
    and of course the applied modulation and bandwidth.
    (band saturation in your living environment)

    I suggest using dedicated APs to build good WiFi....
    not one piece in the building, but distributed more to achieve uniform performance, even by monitoring the operation of the APs with a centralized AP controller.

    Good quality, affordable products for this purpose:

    UBNT Unifi series:

    a little more serious Cisco devices:

    I use this, because it is already available at a good price, for example on eBay:

    striving even higher:

    Don't forget, manufacturers in this category always say more than they can deliver.
    The descriptions indicate the best case measured in the laboratories.

  • LAYER 8 Global Moderator

    @DaddyGo said in Wi-Fi Speeds:

    The descriptions indicate the best case measured in the laboratories.

    Not sure if I would use that term.. The numbers they use are the PHY or physical connection speed, not taking into account all the overhead that comes with wifi..

    So while they wired call it 10mbps or 100 or gig.. Those numbers are not real world either.. There is overhead.. its just way less than what you have with wifi.

    When looking at wifi.. You have to take into account they report a number by adding up both 2.4 and the 5 bands.. No client can ever do both at the same time.. So you need to figure out what is the PHY why number they are giving for the band your going to use. And then for real world /2 that number ;)

    Or even more.. Because that number is going to be with how many streams the router can do, 2, 3 or even 4 streams. While your clients are normally going to be more 1 or 2 streams.. So yeah those numbers on the box are pretty exaggerated to what you could expect to see with your wifi client. Figure out what your client can do.. if it can do 2 streams AC.. Or 866.7 PHY.. And the router supports more than that for 5.. Then you could expect to see roughly /2 of that or about 400mbps.. If no other interference, distance issues, or other clients using up the bandwidth - because it is shared..

    While sure you want your router to handle lots of bandwidth, more than what your isp connection actually is for sure.. And yeah when doing a speed test with no other clients you want to see the your internet speed or close to it.. But really in the big picture what do you actually do via wireless that actually requires even 200mbps? You sure do not even need that to stream a movie, or check your email or facetime even, etc.

    Wireless clients don't really need a lot.. The problem normally is you have lots of clients.. So your router needs to be able to handle lots of bandwidth because your clients are sharing it.

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