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Wireless speed versus ethernet

plustrev
Grafter
Posts: 49
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Registered: 04-03-2009

Wireless speed versus ethernet

Hi, my question involves the Plusnet supplied Thomson tg385v7.
I have two computers in same room, my main one connected via ethernet and a testbed one via wireless. Line stats show a bandwidth of just over 6meg and I achieve about 5meg on the main machine, quite happy with this. The test bed one however only gives a speed of about 1.6 meg.
Second scenario, my daughter also on plusnet and only connected via wireless, line stats very good, bandwidth just over 8 meg only achieves about 2meg. She has never been connected via ethernet so do not know what that speed would be.
So my question is, does wireless degrade the speed to this extent?
11 REPLIES
Community Veteran
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Registered: 10-04-2007

Re: Wireless speed versus ethernet

One thing that you can check - make sure the MTU on the router is set to 1500 (or at least the same as the higest setting on any of the PC's). I've seen wireless speed halved where the router MTU was smaller than the PCs.
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
Broadband: Andrews & Arnold Home::1 (FTTC 80/20)
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plustrev
Grafter
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Registered: 04-03-2009

Re: Wireless speed versus ethernet

Thanks for reply jelv. I have heard of MTU before but have never been able to find the setting on my router's homepage, anyone point me in right direction.
Are you also saying there is an MTU setting on the computer, if so where do I find that.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Wireless speed versus ethernet

If there are neighboring wireless networks on similar channels they will have a big influence on speed!!
Check what networks are about with something like this http://www.metageek.net/products/inssider
Then if possible change the channel on your router to not clash with the others. Channels 1,6,& 11 are the only totally non-interfering channels, all the others will have some level of interference.
Community Veteran
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Re: Wireless speed versus ethernet

I think your router needs to be configured by telnetting in and using the command line, hopefully someone who knows your router will reply.
To check if MTU may be an issue can you try this:
Open a command box (Start, run, cmd) and enter the following command:
ping -f -l 1472 212.159.6.9

If the result looks like this
C:\Documents and Settings\John>ping -f -l 1472 212.159.6.9
Pinging 212.159.6.9 with 1472 bytes of data:
Reply from 212.159.6.9: bytes=1472 time=33ms TTL=251
Reply from 212.159.6.9: bytes=1472 time=32ms TTL=251
Reply from 212.159.6.9: bytes=1472 time=31ms TTL=251
Reply from 212.159.6.9: bytes=1472 time=32ms TTL=251
Ping statistics for 212.159.6.9:
    Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
    Minimum = 31ms, Maximum = 33ms, Average = 32ms

then both your PC and router already have an MTU of 1500 and that isn't the problem.
If instead of the reply you get
Packet needs to be fragmented but DF set.

then either the router of the PC has a lower MTU. IF you keep lowering the 1472 (it will be a multiple of 2) until you find the value that works, then add 28, that is the MTU.
Which operating system are you using? If it's XP (or earlier) you can check/set the MTU on your PC using http://www.dslreports.com/drtcp
Edit: Quick correction - don't know what happened to the copy/paste!
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
Broadband: Andrews & Arnold Home::1 (FTTC 80/20)
Line rental: Pulse 8 Home Line Rental (£13/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)
VileReynard
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Re: Wireless speed versus ethernet

Quote from: plustrev
So my question is, does wireless degrade the speed to this extent?

Wireless can degrade your speed not at all - or by a huge amount!
Quoted rates can be (depending on signal strength/interference):-
Quote
Bit Rates:1 Mb/s; 2 Mb/s; 5.5 Mb/s; 11 Mb/s; 22 Mb/s
                              6 Mb/s; 9 Mb/s; 12 Mb/s; 18 Mb/s; 24 Mb/s
                              36 Mb/s; 48 Mb/s; 54 Mb/s

Bear in mind that these are "marketing rates" - a 54Mbps connection is so called because it can manage up to about 27Mbps in either direction.
The salesmen add the up/down speeds together (although you can't actually use them concurrently).
Then you have to knock off quite a bit for protocol overhead and encryption.
You won't do better than 24Mbps (?) even if you are sitting next to the router.
There is virtually no lower limit to Wireless speed.

Community Veteran
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Re: Wireless speed versus ethernet

Quote from: Crucibleofevil
There is virtually no lower limit to Wireless speed.

Not true, there is a limit.
But even a really crappy very old network card is going to be 10mbps which will be faster than the internet connection. Most network cards are 100mbps and a lot are now 100/1000mbps.
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
Broadband: Andrews & Arnold Home::1 (FTTC 80/20)
Line rental: Pulse 8 Home Line Rental (£13/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)
jazz
Grafter
Posts: 240
Registered: 06-04-2007

Re: Wireless speed versus ethernet

For info on how to get your router stats etc try Kitz site at http://www.kitz.co.uk/routers/index.htm ; Smiley
VileReynard
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Re: Wireless speed versus ethernet

Quote from: jelv
But even a really crappy very old network card is going to be 10mbps which will be faster than the internet connection. Most network cards are 100mbps and a lot are now 100/1000mbps.

But whilst true for a wired connection, that is false for a wireless link.

plustrev
Grafter
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Registered: 04-03-2009

Re: Wireless speed versus ethernet

Thanks once again.
Jelv, just tried your ping test and it came up with the acceptable result, although the average time was 70ms.
But I think I have cured the problem. Yesterday I downloaded TCP optimiser from speedguide.net and ran it wherby my speed increased on the wireless PC to 4.3 mb which is roughly the same as on the ethernet pc, so I assume it tweaked the MTU amongst other things.
Thanks for all replies.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Wireless speed versus ethernet

Also might be an idea to run the Tweak Test, from dslreports.com.  This makes sure your RWIN is also optimised. My wireless laptop, as a little slow, and it turned out the RWIN was way to low. Follow the instructions on the site, for using Dr TCP, and after the changes, best to reboot.
Hope it helps.
puddy
Grafter
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Registered: 10-06-2007

Re: Wireless speed versus ethernet

I always use channel 13 and choose manual setting  on my speedtouch router and the interface 802.11g only
@Plustrev do you have a lot wireless networks a round you i.e live in a block of flats, terraced housing?
Puddy