Solved Wireless internet speed slower than wired

March 29, 2010 at 12:49:15
Specs: Windows XP
Issue: Wireless internet connection speeds are 5Mbps, when wired connection speeds are 15Mbps.

Current configuration.Cable modem plugged into Cisco Linksys DSL Router Model BEFSR41. Then I have a DLink 625 Range Booster N Router that is connected to Cisco Router. A direct wired connection to either router provides great internet connection speeds of 15Mbps. When I connect with wireless, I loose 10Mbps and will connect from 3.5Mbps to no higher than 5Mbps.

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March 29, 2010 at 13:18:58
What about this do you find surprising?

Wireless has a huge amount of overhead and issues with walls/electronic barriers.

Any reason why the wireless router isn't the only router?

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March 29, 2010 at 13:38:33
Thanks for replying. I would say I'm up to seeing whats possible rather than looking at what may be surprising. To be clear, is there is a fix, or some configuration settings that can be changed to increase the speed via wireless. When you say that wireless has huge amount of overhead, that is based on what? Where could I find that documented and referenced? Also, wouldn't signal strength be an indicator if there were any wall issues/barriers? Currently I have excellent signal strength at the pc., so will you clarify how that would be an issue? There aren't any electronic issues without our house/neighbors that I'm aware of. Finally, as far as the 2nd router, the four ports on the cisco are utilized, so we obtained a second router with the wireless option.

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March 29, 2010 at 15:12:23
✔ Best Answer
When you say that wireless has huge amount of overhead, that is based on what?

A knowledge of how wireless data communications works.

Signal strength only tells half the story. There is a thing called Signal to Noise ratio. You could have the strongest signal possible, but if the SNR is high then the speed will be reduced appropriately. SNR can be affected by any other electrical equipment in the vicinity, even the computer it is plugged into as well as other W-Fi installations in the local area.

Copper cable is less susceptible to SNR degradation but not immune. Fibre cable is almost impervious to SNR degradation, hence the high data speeds available with fibre optic cable.


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March 29, 2010 at 15:36:22
most would have just added a $25 gigabit switch to increase lan ports.

you can start your wireless education with a google of wireless overhead.

what are you connecting to the dlink wireless with? Ideally you would have a dlink wireless n card/interface.

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March 29, 2010 at 15:50:45 far with the replies, I have yet to read if there is or isn't a solution.

So I'll be more clear in restating the question......Is there any fix or configuration change that can/will increase the speed I'm receiving over the wireless router based on the current configuration.

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March 29, 2010 at 16:08:59
From the information you have been given I would have thought that it was obvious that there isn't a way to increase the speed.

The short answer is no there isn't. Wireless always has and always will be a less efficient way of transmitting data than cable.


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March 29, 2010 at 16:28:29
Can you make your 4 banger act like 8 cylinders?
same question different context same answer

though wireless card to wireless router compatibility is an issue I was inquiring about but with no information its a moot point.

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April 1, 2010 at 19:06:49
I think these replies are missing the point of the question. Let me rephrase the question: Since WiFi (54Mbs) and Ethernet (100Mbs) are both faster than the Internet DSL (15Mbs), why does switching from Ethernet to WiFi decrease the DSL speed to below 5Mbs?

I experience the same performance decrease with Cable Internet, although my numbers drop from 27Mbs to 12Mbs when switching from Ethernet to WiFi. I'm planning on upgrading my WiFi to 802.11N so it'll be interesting so see if my Internet speed goes up.

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April 1, 2010 at 20:20:41
For a start, although 801.11g is rated at 54 Mbs it is very rare that you actually get that speed. It is often half that due to the afore mentioned Signal to Noise Ratio. It is not unusual to see wireless drop to 2-3 Mbs in a noisy environment. You could get military grade routers with circuits that filter out the noise to reduce the signal to noise ratio but your wouldn't like the price you would have to pay.

Then there are the overheads which has also been mentioned. The biggest overhead with wireless is that everything is encrypted and decrypted, or at least it should be. This doesn't happen with Ethernet. There are other factors as well to do with the modulating and demodulating of a wireless signal which is a bit more complicated than Ethernet.

There is one other thing to consider. Although your DSL speed is rated as 15Mbs, are you actually getting that? There is nothing in your LAN that will tell you what your actually Internet speed is and it is almost certainly going to be less than 15 Mbs.


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April 1, 2010 at 21:36:03
"why does switching from Ethernet to WiFi decrease the DSL speed"

You need to understand the principles of bandwidth.

simple anology:

You have a country two lan highway
You have a freeway.

Cars can go at 55mph on each.

You can only get two lanes of traffic on the highway.
You get multiple lans of traffic both ways on a freeway.
the sum is what gives you the throughput.

Wireless is the highway
Wired is the freeway.

In your case you have a super freeway: Dsl connection
Fact is the lan can get the date to and from faster than the wireless.

Its a 'how you get there' than 'once you are there how fast can you go'.

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April 21, 2010 at 22:22:19
I think Wanderer's" explanation is possibly the easiest to follow; a simple clear analogy?

Also - a little off your topic possibly just now... but if you're aim is to provide more access and in assorted positions around the office/home etc.. - rather than go with wifi as your service/facility extender as it were... consider using LAN over mains approach?

Plug an appropriate adapter into a nearby wall (AC) outlet; connect an output (via cat-5/6) from your router into that adapter. After-which "any" user can plug a similar adapter into a nearby wall (AC) outlet; and a cat-5/6 cable from that to their workstation/laptop etc.

They will have a secure connection and much faster etc. than anythng with standard wifi...

Albeit there may be a little drop in max performance if several users were to access the router that way; as the single router po/p will of course be "shared" by them all... Much as dsl contention ratio is an issue for just about all domestic and many SoHo environments? But I suggest it will still be faster (and more stable) than wifi?

I and many of my chums/colleagues have given up on wifi - unless there is no other easy option; LAN over mains being more than adequate for many environs.

Devolo were one of the first in this field; Netgear have a version too...

It is widely avaialble UK/Europe etc. ; and I think there are versions of it in Canada/USA too, but possibly not so well known/promoted?

The current Devolo (and also Cisco/Linksys) speed is as high as 200Mbits... as posted here:

Devolo may not yet be available in USA/Canada; although they would appear to be heading that way.

Cisocs/Linksys do have similar items - as do Belkin; and more on these here:

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June 1, 2010 at 06:23:36
There has to be another solution. My wired download speed is
2.3 MB/s. I get that full speed on my wireless laptop but on my
other wireless desktop I only get from 900 - 1000 KB/s. That's
less than half my full speed. All 3 are in the same room with the
signal strength 100%
I'm on a wireless g router with 54Mbps and a 20Mbps internet connection.

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June 1, 2010 at 09:00:35
Another thing to keep in mind is that wireless is inherently susceptible to lag, latency and interference.

Because of this, it's always going to suck compared to wired

I and a bunch of friends like to game and own our own server. One of the guys I game with complained constantly about his game freezing and being jerky (ie: locking up for a second here and there). I asked him if he was connecting wirelessly. He was

It turns out he had his SOHO Router sitting on his desk within 2 feet of his computer.

I had him disable his wireless NIC and connect with his wired NIC. He was VERY happy at the IMMEDIATE improvement in bandwidth and game play.

Different wireless NIC's will perform differently. So if you have 3 wireless capable clients, each with a different make/model wireless NIC, all connected to the same wireless network, they will get different download rates.

To sum up:

Wireless sucks and there's nothing anybody can do about it. That's why guys like me (I'm a networking professional with 15+ years working in IT) and wanderer and StuartS have all told you the same thing

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June 2, 2010 at 00:08:32
nice information...Thanks for sharing!!!!

edited by moderator: Deleted unrelated link.

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