My uncle told me that if a slower device connects to a wireless network, the entire network slows down more than can be attributed to the bandwidth being split even further. So a network with 2 existing connections would have the existing connections slowed down more by an iPhone 4 connecting than an iPhone 6 connecting because the iPhone 4 is slower than the iPhone 6.

Is this true?

marked as duplicate by Scott Chamberlain, DavidPostill, Nifle, Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, davidgo Jan 3 '15 at 9:19

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  • The answer is NO. But the network connection may slow down to considerable rate when more devices connected and all using the network simultaneously. – vembutech Dec 31 '14 at 22:31
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    We have two answers that seem to say the opposite. Can we get some clarification or just flip a coin to know which answer is correct? – fixer1234 Jan 1 '15 at 3:31

Connecting a slow device to the WIFI network will make it slower, but it will not slow down the entire network to the speed of the slowest device.

In simplified terms when the slow device is transmitting or receiving it means other devices can't use the space allocated to the slow device, which takes longer to do anything because its slow. Similarly there is additional overhead on the network to support the older slower protocol.


I do not know if this applies to n networks, however for networks that support b and g I do know that connecting a older device on to a network that does not support g will make the access point run at b speeds only so all your devices that do support g will only communicate with the wireless access point using the slower b protocol.

The iPhone 4 and 6 both support g so this problem would not happen with those two devices if they where the only two devices on the network.

  • "...will only will only communicate with each other ..." -- Huh? 802.11 is not a mesh network. Each device has to communicate with the WAP. They cannot "communicate with each other ". – sawdust Jan 1 '15 at 3:07
  • @sawdust you and I are communicating to each other right now, what we are not doing is communicating directly with each other, and neather do the computers on the wireless network. The WAP drops in to b mode and all communication going through it is at b speeds, so all devices on the network (whether wired or wireless) that are communicating with each other that has their traffic pass through the WAP will have there communication slowed. However you do have a point about it being slightly unclear so i have reworded my answer. – Scott Chamberlain Jan 1 '15 at 3:14
  • You're saying that as long as the older device is connected, that connection, alone, causes all communication to use b (not just communication with the older device and not just during data movement with the older device)? – fixer1234 Jan 1 '15 at 3:38
  • @fixer1234 actually I just found out that it is not as bad as I thought, it still slows down but it is not b speeds it is only about a 30% drop in speed to g devices when a b device is on the network, see the linked duplicate for a detailed explanation with references backing up its claims. – Scott Chamberlain Jan 1 '15 at 3:45

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