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I bought a new access point TL-WA801N / TL-WA801ND and I'm having some problems with the network transfer speed. I'm out of ideas about what could be wrong, so I hope you guys can help me out.

All Wi-Fi devices seem to have the same transfer speed but lets just stick to one device. My laptop is a 1558 studio from Dell and has an N Wi-Fi card (Up to 300 megabits/sec). All the wired devices are connected to one switch on the same switch the access point is connected to. When I transfer a file from a wired device to my laptop via the access point, I only get 2 MebiBytes/sec. If I attach the laptop also to the switch with a cable I can copy at 80 MebiBytes/sec. I also seem to lose some packets in ping tests; in 1 hour of checking ping, 91% got accepted.

I'm sure the Ethernet cable to the access point is good. The access point has these settings: 11bgn mixed, 20/40MHz, max rate is 300 megabits/sec. This is the only Wi-Fi connection in the area. I did the speed test from 2m away in line-of-sight. The only setting I changed of the default settings of the access point: turned the DHCP server off.

TL-WA801N: Firmware Version:
3.12.6 Build 110214 Rel.52648n Hardware Version:
WA801N v1 00000000

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What the heck is a "MebiBytes", that unit does not exist, at least nothing defined by IEEE. You don't mention the kind of port these other devices have, my guess your limited to 10/100 ports, as most non-personal computer devices have that speed. I only started to see 10/100/1000 devices in routers in the last 4 years and my motherboard which has a 10/100/1000 port is 5 years ol.d –  Ramhound Apr 24 '12 at 16:02
@Ramhound MebiBytes was my edit. The Kibi- Mebi- and Gibi- prefixes were defined by the IEC over a decade ago, and then by the IEEE in IEEE 1541 to settle the 1000 vs 1024 problem once and for all. If you mean 1,000,000 of something, say "mega" like you always would. If you mean 1,048,576 of something, say "Mebi". en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mebibyte –  Spiff Apr 24 '12 at 19:49
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3 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Okay, 9% packet loss is crappy. Even if yours is the only Wi-Fi link you know about in the area, it doesn't mean there's not other sources of interference in your band. Try another channel.

Don't bother doing speed tests until you've gotten your packet loss under 1%. Also, on a single-hop Wi-Fi network with no significant interference, your average ping round trip time should be below 3ms.

On a properly-working Wi-Fi link where both ends support (and are successfully using) the 300 megabit/sec data rate, your TCP throughput with a tool like IPerf should be at least 150 megabits/sec (about 18 MebiBytes/sec). The rule of thumb with Wi-Fi throughput is that a well-written app should be able to get TCP throughput of about 50-60% of the Wi-Fi signaling rate that you're getting. Note that plenty of apps aren't efficient users of TCP; filesystem protocols like SMB (Samba, Windows file sharing) don't always use TCP efficiently. So for best results, after you've fixed your packet loss problem and you're ready to do performance testing again, use IPerf first to see what your link is really capable of, before introducing the complicating factor of other software that might not be as efficient.

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Generally the "300 Mbps max rate" is just that, the MAX rate. Generally, the transfer rates over WiFi are well below that. 2MBps is ~20Mbps... So, that isn't too bad. (Capital "B" is not the same as lower case "b" FWIW)

Since you don't say whether you have a 1Gb or 100Mbps switch, it is hard to know. I can't find any info on the router you mention, so I am not sure if its LAN side connection is 1Gb or 100Mbps, but you might have a bottle neck there as well. I will assume based on your comment of "I can copy at 80MBps" that the switch is 1Gb... So your wired transfers are generally going to be much faster than the same transfers over WiFi. (assuming they are at 1Gb and not 100Mb)

DHCP has no impact on this once the client has obtained an IP lease from the router.

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Run inSSIDer and double check that there are no other wireless networks in range. I would also disable the mixed 20/40Mhz and just choose 20 and see how the speeds are then. 80MB/s is towards the upper limit of 1Gbit link speeds on most consumer hardware, so don't expect anything close to that on wireless. You also may want to consider a 5Ghz router which will place you out of range from most house-hold interference-- they make dual-band to support both frequencies when needed and a few support 300+300 for fast speeds. You didn't mention what the adapter states its current connection at, but check to see what it says. Also the AP looks to only support 100Mb rj45 connection speeds, double check that but that seems like the culprit.. that and the peculiar 300Mbit (dynamic) specification.

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