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I'm trying to understand the reason for a difference in speed on my Wifi network vs using an ethernet cable. Hooking a laptop directly into the cable modem shows speeds 28 Mbps down and 5 Mbps up (Speedtest.net results). If I hook it up via ethernet to the router it maintains that speed. So the router itself doesn't cause a slowdown. But if I switch to wifi my download speed drops 8-10Mbps.

This is when the laptop is right next to the wireless router so it's not due to distance. I have also tried switching to the different channels and have received similar results. I realize the 54Mbps advertised by the wireless router is somewhat of the theoretical speed and it might be below that. But it should be able to handle the 28Mbps I would think without a problem. The link speed showing on my computer is 54Mbps so the computer thinks it has a good connection. What else am I missing?

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migrated from serverfault.com Jun 26 '14 at 20:06

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marked as duplicate by Spiff Jun 26 '14 at 20:22

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You can get 10Mbps through the wireless interface of a WRT54G? Are flames coming out of it? These things never go that fast! –  Evan Anderson Jun 26 '14 at 19:09
    
Being right next to the router isn't actually a good thing. Due to the way broadcast wavelengths work sometimes being too close to the source can cause issues as well. As others have mentioned there's a myriad of potential causes. Packet latency, the 54G's processing power, signal interference, the wireless chipset on your laptop. You're comparing apples and bananas here. They're two different standards that weren't designed to have the same performance levels. To see if it's the 54G try plugging in to it instead of directly to the modem. Any time you add a 'hop' it adds some latency –  Mike Naylor Jun 26 '14 at 19:54

1 Answer 1

I'll throw out a couple possibilities:

  • you're using a horribly-underpowered, ancient WAP with crappy wireless hardware. (This is not actually a "possibility". It's a fact.)
  • the 2.4 GHz spectrum in your area is very noisy

Upgrade to some modern WiFi hardware and you'll likely see a marked performance increase.

That said, wifi has never been about performance - it's about convenience. If you want guaranteed performance, a hard cable can't be beat.

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Plus it's pretty hard to spoof an Ethernet cable. Spoofing a WAP's SSID is a real concern. –  Magellan Jun 26 '14 at 19:13

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