Recently I wanted to transfer some movie files (ranging from 1gb to 4.5gb) from one computer on the ground floor to another on the first floor.

The wifi router Im using is this one most likely:

my wifi router

The speed at which I am able to transfer averages around 1Mb/s.

How can I make it faster.

Both the laptops that I am using for transfer are relatively new so the wifi adapters in them cant be too slow. None of the hard drives in the laptops are SSD but I still would like to know how I can increase the transfer speed.

Also the wifi signals on the laptop arent too bad.


  • 3
    With Wi-fi there are so many variables, many of which are hard to account for. Most likely you are seeing an issue either with the distance between one of the laptops and the access point or some material between them that is causing issues. Put both laptops within a few feet of the router and note any difference in speed. NB: mind your units (b=bits, B=bytes - there is a big difference). – MaQleod Mar 3 '14 at 6:25
  • 2
    I second minding your units. Are those file sizes in GibiBytes (1,073,741,824's of 8-bit Bytes)? Is that transfer speed in MebiBytes (1,048,576's of 8-bit Bytes) or megabits (1,000,000's of 1-bit bits)? Also, exactly what kind of Wi-Fi adapters do you have in your client machines? "Relatively new" tells us nothing about their capabilities. Also, how did you measure your transfer speed (what software were you using; what transfer protocol was being used)? – Spiff Mar 3 '14 at 21:55
  • I had a similar question a few months back. This might help. superuser.com/questions/950886/… – AMR Dec 13 '15 at 3:32

Assuming you mean 1 MB/s, this seems about right. A realistic system like this probably has a hardware maximum of about 54Mbps and a usable link bandwidth of about 20Mbps given typical parameters of distance, interference, and so on.. There are 8 bits in a byte, all data has to be sent twice (once to the AP and once from the AP), data has to be acknowledged, and it takes time for devices to switch from receiving to transmitting.

So, start with 20Mbps usable link bandwidth. All data has to be sent twice, so that leaves 10Mbps. Time for handoffs and acknowledgements is about 20%, so that leaves 8Mbps. There are 8 bits in a byte, so 1MB/s is about what we'd expect.

For a transfer between WiFi devices using an AP over 802.11g under realistic conditions, 1MB/s is about right.

  • Then why file transfer (between PC and My android device) with android Hotspot is more than 6MB/S ? – Mahdi Rafatjah Oct 5 '17 at 15:09
  • @MahdiRafatjah It's probably a combination of two things: 1) In your case, the data didn't have to be sent twice because the access point was one endpoint of the transfer. 2) Your PC and android device probably have higher-end WiFi than the low-end router involved in this question. – David Schwartz Oct 5 '17 at 17:24
  • I'm agree with the part 1 but as far as I know i'm on 2.4 network at both cases. – Mahdi Rafatjah Oct 5 '17 at 17:27

There are a few things that are working against you here:

  • The router is old and doesn't support 802.11n (assuming your laptops are capable of "n" that could make a big difference)

  • Distance between router and laptop

  • Degradation of signal due to physical obstacles (i.e. the floor)

  • Degradation of signal due to intereference from other wireless devices (cordless phones, mobile phones, neighbours' wifi, etc.)

  • Concurrent connections to your router

Remember that advertised Wifi speeds are based on utopia-like conditions. The average user has at least some conditions not working in their favour that significantly decreases performance.

On my Wireless N setup at home, I get 10 MB/s in the living room and 3 MB/s from the bedroom. That's how sensitive the whole Wifi thing is.

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