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Wireless speeds - need for a sticky?

PeeGee
Aspiring Pro
Posts: 1,081
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Registered: 05-04-2009

Wireless speeds - need for a sticky?

With all the complaints about wireless speeds, it seems to me that a sticky specific to this problem could be of benefit. It's obvious I'm not an expert, rarely using wireless, but something along the lines of (with more accurate information):
Quote
There are many queries/complaints regarding wireless speeds that result from the inherent limitations of the technology combined with local conditions. It is, therefore, not possible to give definitive figures on the throughput which should be achieved.
Wireless connections are prone to problems resulting from congestion/interference and using mixed standards as a small group of frequencies are used for all "conversations". Unlike modern wired connections, which are duplex (i.e. can transmit and receive simultaneously) and point-to-point, wireless connections are usually half-duplex (i.e. can only transmit or receive at any one time unless they use different frequencies for transmit and receive) and require additional overheads to manage "collisions" between transmitting devices sharing the spectrum or switching between sending and receiving.
Each wireless channel uses 20MHz (it's own 5MHz plus 7.5MHz = 1.5 channel widths either side), hence the general advice to keep at least a 2 channel separation from other strong signals and why routers default to channels 1, 6 or 11.
The typical effect of these limitations for a single connection can be to provide a one-way data throughput as low as 1/3 the nominal bit rate (11g = 18+, 11n = 50+, 11n300 = 100+) or, in extreme conditions, much less and rarely as high as 2/3. Under good conditions, it should be possible to attain around 1/2 rate fairly consistently. However, multiple connections transferring data at the same time will share the bandwidth and increase the overheads and mixing 11g and 11n devices may result in all devices running at 11g speeds - all reducing the maximum individual device throughput.
What can you do?
There is nothing to improve bandwidth sharing, but some simple changes that could otherwise help:
- try different channels: 13, 3, 4, 8, 9, 2, 12, 5, 7, 10, 1, 6, 11  (note that channels 1 and 13 only overlap other channels on one side, but some devices  are "US standard" only and cannot use 12, 13)
- try a different location for the router and/or orientation for the aerials or router (horizontal or vertical and non-aligned external aerials)
- set the mode to match your devices (e.g. 11n only)
- use WPA/WPA2 encryption (if available)
- ensure your wireless card driver is the latest
- change to 5GHz (less range), though the same problems will happen when this becomes the default

Phil
Plusnet Fibre (Sep 2014), Essentials (Feb 2013); ADSL (Apr 2009); Customer since Jan 2004 (on 28kb dial-up)
Using a TP-Link TD-W9980 modem-router.
5 REPLIES
Superuser
Superuser
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Registered: 22-08-2007

Re: Wireless speeds - need for a sticky?

Community Veteran
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Registered: 10-06-2010

Re: Wireless speeds - need for a sticky?

The bit about 11g devices making everything run at 11g speeds is doubtful.
Use "WPA2" only would be better.
The bit about setting some "11n only" mode is also a somewhat questionable. All this can really do is prevent your 11g devices from connecting to your own wireless network. It would likely be counterproductive to actually disable legacy protection mechanisms if 11g devices are using the same channel (on another network). So it might as well say replace old 11g adapters with 11n adapters that are at least as capable as your router, or alternatively move all your 11g devices to a separate network which must be on a different channel.
Community Veteran
Posts: 2,265
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Registered: 18-02-2013

Re: Wireless speeds - need for a sticky?

Neither does the 5ghz range apply, in all honesty I think people just like to have a moan! I would however recommend people buy a cable router and give some extension to their network, a D-link Dir-615 can be aquired for as little as £5 on ebay which can have DD-WRT installed by a complete novice in no time with a little bit of reading.
PeeGee
Aspiring Pro
Posts: 1,081
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Registered: 05-04-2009

Re: Wireless speeds - need for a sticky?

Thanks - I did say I was no expert Roll eyes and assumed anyone with 11g devices would not lock them out (though that may not be valid Shocked ) Interestingly, when I have used wireless, 11n only appears to run more reliably than the alternative - but that could just be the implementations I have (paired TP-Link and Edimax 11n300 devices), which only allows 11bgn or 11n as the options for using 11n.
I don't have 5G capability, so based that statement on comments seen Embarrassed
As I said,
Quote
..... (with more accurate information):

Phil
Plusnet Fibre (Sep 2014), Essentials (Feb 2013); ADSL (Apr 2009); Customer since Jan 2004 (on 28kb dial-up)
Using a TP-Link TD-W9980 modem-router.
PeeGee
Aspiring Pro
Posts: 1,081
Thanks: 45
Fixes: 3
Registered: 05-04-2009

Re: Wireless speeds - need for a sticky?

Just a follow up on 5GHz (see kitz TD-W9980 review.htm):
Quote
Although 5GHz is capable of carrying more bandwidth (speed), its range (how far away you can get a signal) is less than half that of 2.4Ghz.

Phil
Plusnet Fibre (Sep 2014), Essentials (Feb 2013); ADSL (Apr 2009); Customer since Jan 2004 (on 28kb dial-up)
Using a TP-Link TD-W9980 modem-router.