Measuring Speed of Wireless vs. Ethernet cable

Posted on 2010-11-13
Last Modified: 2012-05-10
First of all, THANKS IN ADVANCE for any help !!
My wireless connection seems to be significantly slower than when I plug in the Ethernet Cable.
I measure it using SPEEDTEST.NET and the wireless speed reads about 10% of the Wired Speed. Netgear tells me that SPEEDTEST.NET is ONLY valid for wired Ethernet connection, due to some "syncronous/async" dfference. So I don't even know if the wireless reading on SPEEDTEST.NET is a false reading, or if my wireles is in fact running at10% of the speed of the wired connection
#1 Is there a way to measure Wireless speed
#2 Would you expect your Wireless to run at HALF your wired speed, or 90% of your wired speed, or ?

Cable Service from Cox Communications
I pay for the fastest Internet service from Cox so hopefully they ate not throttling me
New DOCSIS 3 Modem (Motorola Roadrunner)
New Netgear Router Model 3500 (All is N standard including the PC's Netwk Adapter)
Question by:bleggee
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Expert Comment

ID: 34128724
Download & install Free Download Bandwidth Monitor Software on your PC from

And then download a big file from from Internet using wire & wireless & then compare the speed.
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 34130948
The simplest way is to do the following:

1.  Download LAN speed test from:

2.  Map a drive to another computer on your LAN so that you have somewhere to write a test file

3.  Connect your computer with an ethernet cable

4.  Run a test, noting the results

5.  Disconnect the ethernet cable and get your laptop connected via wireless

6.  Repeat the same test and note the difference in speed.

This takes the Internet out of the equation altogether, eliminating many variables.  Don't worry about the actual speeds, it's the difference between test 1 (wired) and test 2 (wireless) that you're interested in.

Author Comment

ID: 34161850
OK so now I have determined that my Wired connection is EXACTLY 5 times faster, all the time, in downloading. I am guessing that is too much, and that I have some issue with the wireless? Or could a 5x difference be normal ... one of those things that "the industry" doesn't really "publicize" much?
LVL 12

Accepted Solution

profgeek earned 500 total points
ID: 34164407
What kind of wired connections are you using?  Fast Ethernet (100mb) or Gigabit Ethernet (1GB)?  Remember that you are comparing apples and oranges when comparing wired vs. wireless.  Wireless is slower (usually much slower than the theoretical maximums), so I don't think your difference is that unusual.  Mine is about the same.
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Author Comment

ID: 34165919
Using 100mB.
If a wired connection being "5 times as fast as the wireless" is not surprising, then maybe my network is working fine. I just always "assumed" that the wireless may run slower, like maybe 80% as fast as Wired, but never imagine that it ran at 20% of the wired rate (Roughly speaking)
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 34167918
Wireless has so many variables, including ambient interference, walls, signals bouncing off metal (file cabinets, etc.), cordless phones, microwaves, etc..  That will also depend somewhat on your router, whether it is doing N on 2.4 ghz or 5 ghz, etc..  Wired has none of those issues, and each of them will degrade a little.  

Another question is whether or not you have any b/g devices on your network.  If you have single radio N router running at 2.4 for compatibility, and include b/g devices, it will simply ratchet down to those standards.  In other words, you won't be getting the benefit of 802.11n.  If you have a dual radio router (running 2.4 ghz for b/g and 5 ghz for n at the same time), you won't find that problem.

What model router do you have and what other wireless devices are on the network?

Author Comment

ID: 34168121
That's interesting on checking the other devices in the area. I'll do that ...Mobile Phones as well I presume.

Here's my config:
New DOCSIS 3 Modem (Motorola Roadrunner)
New Netgear Router Model 3500 (I mentioned earlier that all were N standard including the PC's Netwk Adapter, but I think it safer to say that MANY are N-Std. I'll have to check everything)
I have Cable Service from Cox Communications
I pay for the fastest Internet service from Cox so hopefully they ate not throttling me

Author Closing Comment

ID: 34755364
THANKS !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sorry for the delay on points ;-)

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