Using a wireless network! will this decrease the speed of my broadband conncetion?

Posted on 2004-09-06
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-03-17
Hi there, i know this isnt really a question but im offering points anyways!
i am thinking of setting up a wireless home network for my broadband connection! with it being wireless will my connection slow down?

Any Comments will be appreciated!

Question by:Webby001

Accepted Solution

rellis2004 earned 150 total points
ID: 11993063
No - your current broadband bandwidth will continue to be the bottleneck.  Depending on your service (DSL, Cable Modem, etc) your broadband speed can be anywhere between 144kbps to 1.5mbps.  An 802.11b wireless network runs at a base of 11mbps.  Of course, if you use a router and wireless card that has "speed-boost" technology, that can be up to 22mbps.  And if you run an 802.11g wireless network, that's up to 54mbps.  

Of course, these speeds are only realized when exchanging data across your network (pc to pc).  If any of your pc's access the internet, they will be subject to the slower broadband speed.

Hope that helps.

Author Comment

ID: 11998624
Cheers for the comment Rellis2004! http://www.shop.bt.com/invt/022760022762021763 this is the product im thinking of buyin! if you could tell me what u think please!


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Expert Comment

ID: 12000141
personally, I would suggest you look at the Lindsys products instead.  If you already have a DSL modem, you will not want the above product, but will only need the Access Point and the Adapters for you client computers.  Also, you will find different flavors of wireless available, including G (54 MB/s) and b (11 MB/s)...  
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Expert Comment

ID: 12003489
I would also recommend the linksys product line.  I have used it and netgear and I think linksys offers the best product for the money.  Get at least 801.11G router.  
Concerning the speed of wireless.  Rellis was correct about the broudband being your bottleneck not your wireless.  You will see a significant difference when you transfer files between two hosts within your network.  For example when I copy a 10MB file to my wife's laptop it would take more than a 2 minutes on wireless, but it is much faster when we are both connected through cables.  The conveniance of wireless overweighes any of the delays though.  For desktops always try to connect through wires if possible.

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ID: 12013216
Just a comment.....

I gather that none of you lives in the Northeast US.  My cable modem speed clocks out at 9.9Mb/sec. (after several tweaks, of course)  Optimum Online is the fastest in the country.  :)  Lucky me.

Oh, also, all those speeds are usually in Mega "bits" per second (Mb/sec), not "bytes" (MB/sec).  Divide by 8 to get bytes.  (another marketing ploy)

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ID: 12016272
:)  got that right..  I should have adjusted my cap's key, eh?

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ID: 12018696
All good comments - just to add my two cents - MOST broadband connections to homes are far under the 11Mb/s supported by 802.11b, and even so, an all 802.11g wireless network will reach speeds up to 54Mb/s.  Typical ethernet connections are 100Mb/s but I wanted to point out one aspect of bandwidth nobody has pointed out.  A 100Mb/s wired ethernet network will rarely if ever approach actual throughput anywhere near 100Mb/s due to resistance in the wires, crosstalk and collision.  A wireless network, as long as you are within sufficient radio range to connect at the maximum speed, will run very near or at its advertised maximum speed.  In other words, your actual throughput on a 54Mb/s 802.11g network will typically be similar to real-world throughput on 100Mb/s wired ethernet as long as you are in a relatively free from outside interference.  Rememebr also though, that the 2.4-2.5 GHz band, at least in the US and most of the world, is an unlicensed public use frequency range.  Most modern cordless telephones, microwave ovens, and some other radio-enabled devices run in the same band and will cause quite a bit of interference when in use.  In short, there are pros and cons to wired and wireless alternatives.  From a practical standpoint though, I have vast professional experience with wireless network design, support etc.  I have worked on hundreds of them in many diverse environments, and off the top of my head I'd say about 1 in 100 that I've worked on have had any kind of serious interference problem, and of those, most problems result in small dead spots or otherwise workable drawbacks.  You will get the most problems with wireless networks when you live in a large multi-family dwelling, especially a highrise apartment building, when you have several neighbors within close range of your own living space, whose microwave ovens, cordless phones and other wireless networks may cause you serious problems.  

To answer your question, unless you have an atypically fast broadband connection, wireless will not slow it down at all (and even with most atypically fast connections, they will still be under the 11Mb/s you can reach with 802.11b, and far below the 54Mb/s you can get with 802.11g or 802.11a), and another point nobody touched on I want to clarify in case this was part of your question; NO wireless network, regardless of conditions, will slow down the broadband connection in to your house.  In other words, if you have one of these home user router/switch/WAP combo units (like almost all DLink, Netgear, Linksys etc are these days), the wireless network will not affect the speed of any computers still connected by wired ethernet cables.  

Expert Comment

ID: 12023345
Isn't the bottom line always, "is wireless slower than wired?"  I've been setting up networks in the same exact area for over a year.  I've tested the connection speed several hundred times on every different kind of computer and OS.  In this area wired computers have a range that caps out around 3000kbps.  I have never had a wireless computer reach this speed.  The max I have ever seen is 2600kbps, and usually 100-2100kbps when further away.  That's a minimum 10% reduction.  This leads me to believe there is significant wireless overhead and/or significant packet loss at distance.  Meaning that the information you request has wireless information attached to it making all your requests bigger for the same amount of information, or forcing multiple requests for the same info with packet loss.  But still of course, as this thread has clearly pointed out, the broadband connection itself is unaffected and the theoretical bottleneck is always the modem.  But isn't the end result the real question here?
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Expert Comment

ID: 12023392
Well, that is the cost of going wireless...  In every wifi network I have setup, the speed does slow down on the wifi connected system.  And I would assume that your analysis is correct, in that other things come into play here, such as the packet overhead, obstructions, encryption, and the flavor of wifi that you are using..  Wifi has its advantages, but also its disadvantages too.  Personally, I always go wired if the opportunity exists..

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Expert Comment

ID: 12051231
I have to agree with the two above comments and say that Focusyn is wrong. Wireless is definitely NOT faster than wired. There is a lot more overhead in the protocols used by wireless networks. Add to this the fact that a wireless network is a shared medium, which means that the avilable bandwidth (eg. 54Mbps) is divided up between all of the wireless hosts (ie. similar to an old ethernet HUB). The further you get away from a wireless AP, the less your bandwidth is, as you start to suffer from transmission delays.

Expert Comment

ID: 12214496
I think the comments are very good and I agree with others that the wireless should not be a bottleneck on a typical broadband connection,  but I must add the following.
Even though bandwidth is not limited by the wireless network - I think anyone who has seen enough of them would agree that there tends to be more latency or a lag on a wireless connection than a wired one if the signal is less than excellent.  The probelm is especially noticable if the connection drops to 2Mbs.  Regardless of the speed of the broadband a poor connection adds latency even if theoretically there is plenty of bandwidth.  

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ID: 12452255
I'm interested in the points.  The question was a straightforward answer and I gave a straightforward answer.

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