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I have built-in "Intel(R) Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165" network adapter in my Vostro 15 5000 series Laptop and I bought ALFA AWUS1900 USB adapter. It can operate in 2,4 or 5 GHz, has USB 3.0, comes with 4 high-gain dual-band antennas, includes IEEE 802.11ac standard, however, its speed on speedtest.net is 3 times slower than my built-in adapter. I tried to disable one and other, different setups, use different USB ports, but it is much slower, however, I expected it to be at least a bit faster. Can anyone help me to tell how to compare network adapters, please?

--EDIT--

Is it possible to compare two adapters before I buy them? For example, looking at adapter description at some parameters. Like, in this case, I thought this external adapter is better in parameters, has great reviews, I spend almost 100$ on it, I see that it is much slower and now there is no reason to test them with some tools. I do not want to buy and only then check if it is faster or slower then my other adapters. Is there a way to know it before buying?

My AP is Huawei B715.

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    What kind of comparison do you expect? – gronostaj Jun 26 '18 at 15:31
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    There are so many variables here... First is the Internet, testing a network adapter, regardless of type, cannot be done to the cloud for any reasonable comparison unless your internet exceeds the max speeds of your adapter(s). What WiFI router or AP are you using, does it support 5Ghz and 802.11ac? if not, then those features of your network adapter are not relevant, and also the Intel adapter you listed supports both of those things as well. Then there is the issue of drivers, USB ports, WiFi interference, etc. Remember, that more antennas doesn't necessarily equal better performance. – acejavelin Jun 26 '18 at 16:49
  • Here would be a good place to start: tomshardware.com/reviews/… – acejavelin Jun 26 '18 at 16:53
  • @acejavelin: Surely the test could be done locally, without ever using an internet connection? – grawity Jun 27 '18 at 20:04
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    Sorry, but hardware recommendations are off-topic. – gronostaj Jun 29 '18 at 6:57
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More than likely Jperf or Iperf can handle this task.
JPerf requires that Java version 1.5 or newer is installed before it will run.

There is no installer needed, head on over to the Jperf google page and grab jperf-2.0.2.zip. (just unzip it in a folder and you are good to go)

JPerf is meant to be run as a client/server application. To run a test you will need to set up a JPerf server on your network. To test wireless adapters, you want the server running on a computer plugged into the wired side of the router. (make sure this computers NIC is Faster than the 802.11AC card no 10/100Mbps ethernet cards) Then you can run a JPerf client from the laptop to connect to the remote server via wireless.

Jperf Server

jperf server
To start the JPerf server click on the radio button labeled server then click Run IPerf. By default JPerf runs in TCP mode and listens on port 5001.


Connecting the client to the server

client connect

To connect to the JPerf server to run a test you'll need to first select the client radio button. In the address field type in the IP address of the computer running the JPerf server application. To run the test, click on run iPerf in the upper right hand corner of the application.

With default settings JPerf will run a 10 second TCP test using 1 stream. While the test is running the graph will update in real time to reflect the results.


There are several options that can be adjusted to modify the parameters of the test.

Application layer options

  • Transmit Run the test for a specified number of seconds, or until a certain amount of bytes have been transferred.

  • Output Format Test results can be changed to display bits, bytes, kbytes, etc.

  • Report Interval This adjusts how often the graph results are updated.

Transport layer options

There are several TCP options that can be modified such as buffer length, window size, and MSS.

JPerf can also function in UDP mode, although the server must be operating in UDP mode in order for this test to work.

Tips and Tricks

here are a couple tips for getting better JPerf results.

  • Use Parallel streams - The bandwidth of one TCP session is limited by many factors. using parallel streams you can easily saturate a very high bandwidth connection. (and get a better throughput reading)In the JPerf client settings you can specify the number of streams to use. I've found 10-15 to be a good number. (depending on the device)
  • Bi-Directional Test - By default JPerf transmits data from the client to the server, selecting the dual testing mode under application layer options JPerf will send data in both directions at the same time.

References:

https://www.es.net/assets/Uploads/201007-JTIperf.pdf

https://www.techrepublic.com/blog/linux-and-open-source/using-jperf-to-check-network-performance/

https://openmaniak.com/iperf.php

  • Thank you for your answer. This is a good tool to compare two adapters when you have them, but is it possible to compare two adapters before I buy them? For example, looking at adapter description. Like, in this case, I thought this external adapter is better in parameters, has great reviews, I spend almost 100$ on it, I see that it is much slower and now there is no reason to test them with Jperf. I do not want to buy and only then check if it is faster or slower then my other adapters. Is there a way to know it before buying? My AP is Huawei B715. – Kristians Murds Jun 29 '18 at 6:51
  • Well, in general you can read the specs of the card, (you should familiarize yourself with pci-e speeds) but it is almost criminal what manufacturers can get away with as far as advertised speeds go. While shopping recommendations are off-topic here, you may want to ask the hardware recommendations community about which card to purchase. My apologies, I interpreted this question to be about comparing two cards you already owned! – Tim_Stewart Jun 29 '18 at 12:28
  • Make sure you are plugging the adapter in Question into a USB3.0 port, or you will not get the advertised throughput. You may also want to look into disabling power save features on not only the USB ports, but the adapter also through the OS. Updated drivers probably wouldn't hurt either. – Tim_Stewart Jun 29 '18 at 12:33
  • Also note: high-gain antennas do not just boost the signal strength to your router. They will pick up every signal better, including neighboring routers.(adjacent noise) I would suggest using jperf with new drivers, disabling power save features. Then try the different bands, try changing channels in the 2.4ghz & 5.8ghz bands. Write down your results and compare them to band/channel. My guess is that you will find a vacant channel and see the expected throughput. – Tim_Stewart Jun 29 '18 at 13:17

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