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Why is my internet connection (with a wireless router) faster than my wireless LAN connection?

The former is normally ~2 MB/s (I get ~3 MB/s sometimes too), but the latter just doesn't go above a few hundred KB/s (around 200-ish). It's pretty much useless.

When I turn off encryption, I can get the WLAN speed to go higher to 1 MB/s or so, but of course that doesn't affect my internet speed, which also uses encryption. And obviously it's not something I want to do.

How can this be? How do people get multiple-MB/s wireless networks?

(Router: Netgear WNR1000v2-VC)

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What encryption(s) are you using? – Tom Wijsman Oct 13 '11 at 18:22
@TomWijsman: WPA2/AES, but I've also tried other combinations. WEP is generally faster than WPA2, and no encryption is much faster than both -- but for the internet connection, it makes no difference. – Mehrdad Oct 13 '11 at 18:28
What type of wireless network are you using? 802.11a/b/g/n? What current rate does the adapter report? – Tom Wijsman Oct 13 '11 at 18:37
@bwall: Why would the internet get 3 MB/s with no problem, then? (I've tried changing the channel, btw, with no effect.) – Mehrdad Oct 13 '11 at 19:07
@bwall: Both machines are Windows 7, but I think (though I'm not sure) I've tried with XP on both as well, with the same results. I'm measuring WLAN speed by copying a 4-GB file around, and it averages around 300 KB/s or so, according to the file copy dialog. On the other hand, Free Download Manager can download Chromium in literally ~10 seconds (and it's > 30 MB)... and yet it takes me much longer to copy the same file across WLAN. (I don't believe my measurements are incorrect. :P) – Mehrdad Oct 13 '11 at 19:12

If the WLAN speed problem is file copying between Windows 7 machines, there are several known issues that could be causing the problems. Windows 7 introduces all kinds of overhead to network file sharing. Here are some tips which might improve the speed:

For what it's worth, there are still some lingering problems with Windows 7 file sharing speed covered in this very lengthy thread over at Microsoft Technet Forums:

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It's worth noting that unencrypted, ad-hoc (i.e. router-less) connections can reach the same speed.

The cause seems to be encryption, though I can't make sense of why it would cause such a drastic slowdown.

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