Recently I purchased Verizon FiOS' Gigabit (980Mbps DL, 880Mbps UL). Doing a quick speedtest.net check, I am not getting anywhere even remotely close (low 8Mbps, high 27Mbps).

My FiOS modem/router combo is on the main floor, and my system with a USB Wi-Fi adapter is in the basement (signal is poor as my phone will constantly drop Wi-Fi in the same room).

I've read that for a USB adapter to support those speeds, it needs to be USB 3.0, which it is.

What should I do here?

Get a better modem/router and amp the signal?

Get a better USB adapater?

Something else?

I plan to connect my laptop directly to the mode/router today and test again; if speeds are relatively the same, I am not getting what I am paying for!


Wired laptop test returned 258Mbps/413Mbps; much better than the Wi-Fi, but still only 30% of the speed (D/L wise) I am paying for.

  • 3
    Connect directly first to check the wired speed.
    – user565955
    Jun 14 '17 at 16:30
  • The below answers are largely correct, but remember that there are not many websites or services online that can (or will) deliver you content at anywhere near those speeds your paying for. Most speedtest services can't even test speeds at that rate.
    – acejavelin
    Jun 15 '17 at 1:14
  • @acejavelin Speedtest.net can max out my gigabit Ethernet connection in both directions where I am, so it's a good thing OP's using one of the tools that's been known to deliver.
    – Spiff
    Jun 15 '17 at 1:42
  • Remember soeedtest.net uses a variety of servers hosted by various companies and internet connections, not all can support 1Gbps tests.
    – acejavelin
    Jun 15 '17 at 1:44
  • 1
    You need a pretty high-end WiFi setup to get over 50Mbps over a large area. You might to look into one of the home mesh routing systems or Ubiquity uniFi. Jun 15 '17 at 4:53

Wifi is not going to get anywhere near that high speed your best option is to either:

  • Direct cat5e or cat6 from the main floor to your laptop in the basement (might not be the best option but it would be the fastest speeds)

  • Semi-Direct using a Power Line Adaptor to send ethernet wire thru ur outlet on the main floor and plug the other near ur laptop in the basement to get the signal (Maybe the best & simplest option almost as fast as direct and much better then wireless) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01H74VKZU/ (TP-Link is better too bad it wasnt out when I got all my units)

  • Repeater/Amp you could use to strengthen the signal in the basement as the really fast wifi types if thats what you have dont go thru walls well, but slower speeds types go thru walls better.

(Also if you really want great wireless speed you might want to get one of the new 802.11ad wireless routers and usb3.0 adapters once you can anyways keep in mind that AD propable wont be able to get thru even 1 thin wall so its just for one room)

  • I think you've either never used power line networking or you got extremely lucky. Power line networking has a very steep performance dropoff curve. In many ways it's much worse than Wi-Fi repeating because it's unpredictable if you don't know exactly how your electrical cabling in your house is laid out. You don't get the top rate unless you're plugged into the very next outlet just a few feet away on the same Romex cable. If your two adapters are farther away, or on different branches of the Romex, or different circuits, or different phases, then your throughput is drastically reduced.
    – Spiff
    Jun 15 '17 at 1:08
  • Your first bullet point is right though. If you want gigabit speeds, throughout your house, there's no substitute for wired gigabit Ethernet. Wire up all your stationary devices to your Ethernet, and then plug in a few high-quality, high-power-PA, 3-spatial-stream 802.11ac routers in places where you need Wi-Fi coverage for mobile devices, and put high-quality, high-power, 3-spatial-stream 802.11ac client cards on your laptops.
    – Spiff
    Jun 15 '17 at 1:12
  • Sorry but your wrong you must gotta either a bad unit or a cheaper unit. You make sure you dont get just a gig rated unit you get one rated for well "More then a gig" since you loose a good bit thru all the connections in the walls. The unit I linked is rated for 2000 theoretically, I have used and works great not gig speed but much better then even $300 wifi router going thru thick walls and a floor. Please dont down rate just because you had one bad experience.
    – repairmant
    Jun 15 '17 at 1:18
  • Also if your wanting to go with 802.11ad keep in mind that routers, and desktop cards are out but I havent seen any usb adaptors yet
    – repairmant
    Jun 15 '17 at 1:30
  • I've worked for a home network equipment manufacturer, and I've seen the empirically-gathered-from-real-homes, performance-at-each-outlet graphs for the top two HomePlug AV2 MIMO (that's the supposedly-2-gigabit flavor) chipset vendors, and it's ugly. Heck, even the HomePlug Alliance's own website says tells you not to expect much better than 90-240Mbps with HPAV2 MIMO. They have a lot of nerve marketing it as 2Gbps when they know that's an order of magnitude higher than what you should expect.
    – Spiff
    Jun 15 '17 at 1:40

First of all, don't be fooled by the marketing hype in wireless. When they say 866Mbps, it means that the theoretical max is an 802.11 rate of 866 and that the TCP throughput (inclusive of overhead) is ~410Mbps. That said, here's a table to better describe your wireless TCP throughput.

2.4GHz (3 Channels 1, 6, 11)
802.11b = 802.11 Rate of 11 (TCP throughput ~5Mbps)
802.11g = 802.11 Rate of 54 (TCP throughput ~20Mbps)

5GHz (23 Channels)
802.11a = 802.11 Rate of 54 (TCP throughput ~23Mbps)
802.11n = 1x1 Rate 150 (TCP throughput ~70Mbps)
802.11n = 2x2 Rate 300 (TCP throughput ~127Mbps)
802.11n = 3x3 Rate 450 (TCP throughput ~220Mbps)
802.11ac = 1x1 433.3 (TCP throughput ~200Mbps)
802.11ac = 2x2 866.7 (TCP throughput ~410Mbps)
802.11ac = 3x3 1300 (TCP throughput ~610Mbps)

Anyway - You get the point. There are so many factors in wireless to get those TCP throughputs. First, you'll need a good signal and there has to be no obstructions between your device and the AP. As the signal gets weaker and your signal travels through obstructions, you'll get less and less optimal performance.

Yes - You'll need a USB 3.0 supported laptop. Even with that, the Windows stack has been known to perform poorly with USB wireless drivers. For best wireless performance, you'll need a Macbook Pro. I know that the Macbook is expensive, but it will return close to those TCP throughput results I listed above.

I hope all this helps - If you really need (980Mbps DL, 880Mbps UL) at all times, then your best bet would be to either go wired or make use of Power Line adapters as @J. Doe suggests in his comments above.


What should you do?

Run Wires.

If you run wires to 802.11ac access points that are Line of Sight (not through walls) to your wireless endpoints, and your wireless endpoints are 802.11ac capable, you might get a reasonable fraction of your rated speed.

But you can get all your rated speed (if Verizon isn't scamming you about that) by running a wire right to your computer (assuming you manage to run it correctly so you actually get a gigabit connection on it. It's not difficult, but you can screw it up by bending too tight or pulling too hard.)

That wire can be Cat5e without any loss of gigabit ability. Cat6 is almost pointless, use Cat6A if you expect to go to 10Gig inside your house at some point.

  • Thats a lot of wiring no? I mean down a whole floor level.
    – pstatix
    Jun 16 '17 at 19:09
  • No, it's not much wiring at all.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jun 16 '17 at 23:59
  • The modem/router is on 1 side of the house, the basement room is down a floor and to the other side of the house. Seems like a lot but I agree that a hard wire will be the best bet!
    – pstatix
    Jun 17 '17 at 14:40
  • It's NOT at all my preferred method, but some folks do make like the crude cable TV installers and drill holes to the outside of the house to run outdoor Cat5e to another part of the house, and another hole to get it back inside. I'd rather do a bit of drywall repair and keep the wires inside.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jun 17 '17 at 17:17
  • Would using a Cat5e coupler degrade performance? I've got a 100ft and 50ft cable pair laying around; I could keep inside with the use of a coupler to make the distance. Will a female-female coupler slow anything down?
    – pstatix
    Jun 17 '17 at 18:27

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