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Is broadband speed faster with wireless?

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Is broadband speed faster with wireless?

This may seem an obvious question to some of you but not to me. Last night I attached my friend's Voyager 210 to my own laptop (using ethernet). 
I know that the speed is regulated by the line, exchange etc and that the actual router won't make a difference to that but it seemed strange that when I was surfing the computer seemed to be slower on the Voyager.  Am back to my Linksys wireless router now and it seems faster. Does this make a difference?
4 REPLIES
gswindale
Grafter
Posts: 942
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Is broadband speed faster with wireless?

I'd have thought the only differences would be in the speed between your PC and the router, but unless you're on ADSL 2+ and quite close to the exchange, even a 10mbps (apologies if wrong case) ethernet connection would be quicker than your ADSL conncection, so wouldn't expect to see any speeed difference.
paulby
Grafter
Posts: 1,619
Registered: 26-07-2007

Re: Is broadband speed faster with wireless?

It's usually the other way round!
You would normally expect to see better speeds, if anything, with a wired connection.  (Interference neighbouring wireless networks etc. can slow the connection down.)
It's likely that the Voyager and the Linksys have different MTU values set (IIRC the Voyager defaults to 1400) which could account for the difference you're seeing.  Also, if the MTU value set on the router is lower than that on your PC then the connection will slow down as the packets have to be resized.  Many routers (not sure about the Linksys) default to the maximum of 1500 for MTU.  Whatever value is set on your PC (which you can check by using Dr.TCP*), it should not be greater than that set on the router (this is generally why it's a good idea to tweak MTUs on individual PCs and leave the router set to 1500).
Of course, you may also need to tweak the MTU settings to optimise throughput on the ISP's network - see here.
*not on Vista - see here.
N/A

Re: Is broadband speed faster with wireless?

Thank you for the advice. The MTU on my Linksys is set to auto. I thought that a wired connection should be better than a wireless one but in my case the router is next to and plugged into the main socket and the computer is only about a couple of feet away, although it works the same if I take it into another room. Also, there are no other networks in my area as I don't live in a densely populated area.
As I said, it is purely subjective though.
MickKi
Grafter
Posts: 543
Registered: 30-09-2007

Re: Is broadband speed faster with wireless?

Not all routers are born the same . . .
Depending on the firewall rule set, log settings, QoS, etc. the same router can become much slower under the same connection I/O demand.  As well as these software settings related issues, some chipsets are faster and have more memory available to them.  Finally, some firmware updates are buggier than others.
If you want to measure the difference in performance between different settings on the same router, or between different routers, you will need to do some ping tests, tcpping tests and so on, to a given destination address.  Bear in mind though that the Internet is live so gateways' loads change continuously and so does performance.  Doing such tests off peak should provide more reliable results especially as the sample of tests increases.