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I have a Linksys E4200 router and a laptop with an Intel Centrino Wireless-N 135 adapter. If I place my laptop right next to the router, the link speed is about 20 Mbps. Is that normal or is there any way I can increase it? (P.S. Sorry if this question sounds stupid...)

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No, it is not normal if the router is operating in 802.11n mode. It might be that the antenna in the router is disconnected, but first you should play around with settings of the router.
Make sure that the router is in only 802.11n mode. 802.11n/g is also good, but not 802.11b, which usually causes routers to lose performance for ALL devices. In the end, it would be smart to reset the router to see whether that helps.

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I just did some research and it turns out that the wireless adapter I have (Intel Centrino Wireless-N 135) is really crappy. Even though it supports Wireless-N, it really only supports SISO (1x1) which limits it to near-Wireless-G speeds. So now my usual link speed is 72 Mbps with an actual throughput of almost 30 Mbps, which seems fine to me. –  heron1000 Dec 26 '12 at 0:15
    
So, you meant an actual throughput? It then is definitely normal that you have 30 Mbps. When I had 802.11b/g/n mode enabled on my D-Link DIR-615C, I was not able to get more than 54 Mbps link speed (an actual throughput was 2 MB/s). Later I changed it to 802.11n and it now gives me 150 Mbps link speed and something like 9 MB/s actual speed. I suggest you try to eliminate as much as possible load from your router - that might help as well. As for the adapter - yes, you're right, it may be it's fault, but I'm just suggesting that you probably can get a bit more out of it. –  Ernestas Dec 26 '12 at 14:11

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