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When copying a file from my laptop to my PC or vice-versa on my wireless G network I only use about 20% of the available bandwidth (according to Windows Performance). Both are connected at 54mbps though and the signal strength is 'full' on both the laptop and the PC.

I know that, in practice, nobody gets the full 54mbps from their network but as I'm working to setup a home streaming-media solution for multiple PCs, getting that 20% up to 40% or 50% will make a world of difference.

How do I tell which device is imposing the 20% or so limit - is it my PC's wireless card that is the 'slow one' or is it my laptop? Is there anyway to test the speed of just one device at a time with some sort of networking tool?

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It could also be I/O limits on either device, where they're having issues reading/writing above 10mbps for whatever reason. Also, just to clarify, you're aware that 54mbps = about 6.75MB/s, right? – Will Eddins Oct 30 '09 at 17:16
don't forget to check for environmental causes. try testing on your current wireless settings, then changing the wireless channel and retesting. your performance trouble may not be driver/device based but RF interference. – quack quixote Oct 30 '09 at 19:24
@Will - Yeah, I've done the conversions; I'm getting around 1.35 MB/s but I'm hoping to get that up to 2.0 MB/s. I've used a portable USB Hard-drive and I've verified that both are capable of reading/writting many times faster than I'm seeing through the network (copying 15gigs with the HD took less than 30 minutes, copying 15gigs via wifi was around 3 hours). – Rob Oct 30 '09 at 20:28
up vote 0 down vote accepted

I found a possible option, although all I did was google search, and haven't tried it.

These should at least give you a starting place.

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You can use an internet speed-test such as this on both computers, to find if there are any differences between the two.

If no appreciable differences are found, then the router is the candidate. If the router has an ethernet connection, connect one computer via an ethernet cable and redo the test. If it's much better, then it's the wireless network that's the problem. If it's not better, then it's either a very slow router or more likely simply the line speed of your ISP.

Please note that the performance percentage as reported by Windows Performance is relative to your network card only, and not to your possible maximum network speed.

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