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If I use multiple wifi base stations on the same network will that improve the transfer speeds over just having the one.

EXAMPLE: I often use netflix on my laptop over wifi, but if I try transferring a large file while watching a movie, netflix will time out because my connection has slowed.

Will adding an additional wifi base station to my network improve LAN speed during high traffic?

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migrated from Jan 20 '12 at 17:51

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what os? win7 I think has this natively with its virtual wifi adapters. – user33788 Dec 6 '10 at 23:14
up vote 6 down vote accepted

If I use multiple wifi base stations on the same network will that improve the transfer speeds over just having the one.

You mean you're just seeing slowdown and what you're doing isn't typical network use? No. Your laptop will still only be talking to one base station at once.

Now if you actually mean "I have 60 machines connected to one station and we're all downloading files while watching netflix because that's just how we roll where I work" then yes, you're overloading the base station and should probably look at your network infrastructure some more (and probably move to wired connections, if that's really what you're doing, real world wireless simply isn't as good as those intel adverts with someone sitting in a field looking like downloading files from the web is the most exciting thing they ever did in their whole life).

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I tried to give you a -1 for bursting my bubble about those wireless commercials, but ended up giving you a +1 instead. :p – Andrew Barber Dec 6 '10 at 23:53
Heh... I am a little too direct, but seriously, I have tried to do this countless times at a college where the educators really do believe those adverts... (c'mon, you know what I'm talking about) and insist that it will be different this time because the dancing bunnies or apple or whoever promised it would. Having said that, we have an Aruba solution that works well for us... not cheap and still buckles under a room full of massive file transfers... but getting there. – RobM Dec 6 '10 at 23:58
Note, MIMO technology is the exact idea you had, using multiple radios to increase aggregate throughput (alternately it can be used for redundancy to help QoS, though this is more common in carrier equipment). – Chris S Dec 7 '10 at 1:48
@Chris S - I thought MIMO meant multiple transmitters/receivers but only on one base station? It's been my experience that it doesn't help much with 'overloading;. – RobM Dec 7 '10 at 6:44
@Robert, sorry I didn't make that clear. There are multiple radio transceivers in a single base/client station. Their usefulness will depend on the implementation (which in 802.11 isn't very good usually). – Chris S Dec 7 '10 at 13:29

As Robert Moir has pointed out it the issues with WLAN throughput are constrained by the efficiency of the channel between the WLAN client and the base station it is associated with, adding more WLAN infrastructure isn't going to help single user performance. It might be possible to construct a client with multiple WLAN adapters that connect to separate base stations but the usefulness of such a set up will be pretty minimal - you wont get better throughput unless you are using an application that can push data out multiple interfaces in parallel -standard downloads\file copies and the like aren't going to see any benefit.

The best solution to this is to invest in WLAN kit that can support multiple channels (well wider channels really), ideally MIMO 802.11n operating at 5Ghz. While some of these claim 450Mbps speeds the best I've seen in testing was a sustained 76Mbps with typical 802.11g WLAN throughput generally struggling to break through 20Mbps.

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