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One of my customer uses 3 Linksys WAP200 AP.

Recently, customer reports that they got low wireless speed(about 500kB/s) and low wireless connection reliability. (That means, wireless links keep disconnected very frequently).

Each AP can support 802.11b and 802.11g, and uplink is Fast Ethernet(100Mbps), and associated about 10 users per AP.

So, I think I can reduce network and system load if I change wireless connection from 802.11g(>54Mbps) to 802.11b(>11Mbps).

Therefore, what's better: 10 users with 802.11g per AP, or 10 users with 802.11b per AP?

migrated from serverfault.com Apr 18 '14 at 16:34

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

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    So you think slowing them down will be better? I don't understand this. – Michael Hampton Apr 18 '14 at 6:15
  • I agree with the above. Slowing things down won't make them better, though it might "happen to help" if you wind up replacing the device that's causing the actual problem. I would start by troubleshooting the problem. When devices are disconnected, can they ping their AP? Does changing the channel help? Etcetera. – David Schwartz Apr 18 '14 at 6:21
  • @MichaelHampton I think the theory that Kamome is working on is that one user is taking up all the bandwidth, so by limiting the bandwidth per connection by using B then there will be more for everyone. Whether or not this will work, I don't know. – Mark Henderson Apr 18 '14 at 6:44
  • @MarkHenderson Oh, no, it won't work. Instead of one person complaining, everyone will be complaining. – Michael Hampton Apr 18 '14 at 6:51
  • This is more along the lines of a SuperUser.com question. Consumer grade APs, very little knowledge of wireless networking, etc. I'd write up a detailed answer to expound on where davidgo was heading, but I'm afraid all it will do is cause extended discussion and/or confusion. – TheCleaner Apr 18 '14 at 13:23
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I think that is unlikely gonna help you anything.

Have you tried rebooting the AP? Have you considered buying a device with Gigabit connection and 11n standard?

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Reducing the speed of the connection to 802.11b can not make things better. If anything forcing 802.11g might help, but going to 802.11n would be even better, particularly if you use MIMO to maximize the bandwidth.

Another thing to look at is the amount of noise (An android phone running WIFI Analyser is a cheap and easy way to do this). Another thing is to ensure that the AP's don't share the same frequency - at least if they are in range of each other - and indeed I wonder if this is the underlying cause of the problem. Provided that the SSID is the same across all AP's, it is practical have them on different frequencies and roam between them.

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Reducing the AP to only using B rates is actually the opposite of what you should do.

Here's the math:

An 802.11g AP has a max PHY rate of 54Mbps, but 802.11a/b/g efficiency for TCP/IP is only about 50%, so at max, each AP can serve up about 27Mbps of bandwidth. And you're splitting it 10 ways, so under perfect conditions and perfect fairness, if all the clients were doing a big download at the same time, each client would get about 2.7Mbps.

When you said you measured 500kB/s, if you mean KibiBytes/sec (1,024's of 8-bit bytes per second, a.k.a. KiB/s), that's about 4.1Mbps (1,000,000's of 1-bit bits per second). So obviously that's better than my "if all clients were downloading at the same time" estimate above, since surely while you were doing this test some clients were mostly idle. So it indicates that your performance is within the ballpark of what can be expected from 10 clients on an 802.11g AP.

An 802.11b AP has a max PHY rate of 11Mbps, so with that same 50% efficiency, that's 5.5Mbps, split 10 ways for 550kbps (1,000's of 1-bit bits per second) each.

Why is your client still messing around with 11-year-old networking gear? It's time to upgrade! Your client obviously likes to keep gear around for a really long time, so it's best to fully modernize them right now so they won't be as obsolete as soon.

1300Mbps-capable 802.11ac USB 3.0 adaptors are about $70 right now.
1300Mbps-capable 802.11ac APs are about $180 right now.

So for ($70 * 30 clients) + ($180 * 3 APs) = $2640, you could fully modernize that network.

Even in realistic conditions, you would have 4/5/600 Mbps of bandwidth per AP to share, so each client would have 40/50/60 Mbps of bandwidth, so your test that used to be 500KiBytes/sec could well jump up to 10MiBytes/sec.

Actually, the picture could be even better than that, because my calculation above was based on only using the 5GHz band. But all 802.11ac APs today are dual-band concurrent, so they're each effectively two APs in one box. So you could leave 1/4 to 1/3 of your clients on the 2.4GHz band for even more aggregate throughput.

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