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Is There An Easy Way to See What The Data Xfer Rate is Between a Device and a Wireless Router?

Posted on 2013-01-28
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Last Modified: 2013-02-19
Is there a way to test the data xfer speed between a device (Windows) and a wireless router?  I have an E900 router and when I'm using multiple devices (2) to view youtube the videos will studder.  I've done tested it using CAT-5 cables from 2 systems to the router and everything seems fine.

Thanks!
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Question by:CraigSNYC
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Rich Rumble earned 1000 total points
ID: 38829727
You can keep track of counters, but with wifi there are typically some misunderstandings about how much BW there is to begin with. A wifi router that runs B/G, you have 11 and 54 Mbps respectively. 11 Mega bits per second is 1.37Mega Bytes per second, so a single floppy disk per second, and THAT has to be cut up between how ever many hosts are trying to get data, and in that struggle you also loose bandwidth because of singaling (TCP), and encryption. So there isn't much BW available for A/B routers, but G and N routers can typically serve video well for 2-4 clients at the same time. 802.11G (54Mbps) allows for a theoretical 6.75MegaByte per second rate, but again that is split up/shared between the hosts.
Then you have signal loss, interference that cut things down again. Some access points don't work as fast if they are serving both B and G bands, if you pick one or the other it will be faster for that one band than it would be for those bands (respectively) if they are running at the same time. 802.11N can interfere with the the older 802.11B/G networks, so if you have a neighbor has an N router, it might affect your b/g router speed.

Windows 7 (and maybe vista, but non one uses that), can show you a good approximate bandwidth using Taskmgr, you might start there if you really want to watch that. You can even install FireBug for firefox or pagespeed for firefox, and click on the "net" portion to see the speeds the browser is seeing... It might not show you a graph but should indicate what is taking the longest to load or needs the most queuing.
-rich
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by:Fred Marshall
Fred Marshall earned 1000 total points
ID: 38833191
Create some files that are some nice even number of Megabytes.
2MB
5MB
10MB
are pretty good numbers to use.
You can make large Excel files and trim the rows until you get the size you want.
Similarly with Word files.  It doesn't matter.
You might compress them with 7z or zip so there's not much concern about further compression on the fly.  But I don't bother with that.

Then set up file transfers using perhaps a variety of transfer types:
Windows normal file copy.
Maybe FTP or TFTP.
Then TIME the transfers with a stopwatch.

10MB in 5 seconds would be:

10MB*8bits/byte/5 seconds = 16Mbps or 16,000kbps

I must say that some transfers using FTP have been rather slow over internet connections and I'm not sure why.  

Anyway, if you're looking for numbers in the 10's of Mbps like 50Mbps then you may want to use a larger file.
I just ran a 64MB file here on a gigabit ethernet set of connections and got 102Mbps.

The point of doing this is that it's an overall real measure that's not corrupted by interior details like (as above) "Gigabit Ethernet".  There are all sorts of overhead things that go on.
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by:CraigSNYC
ID: 38835862
Thanks for the great information and ideas.  

A bit more about why I'm doing this:  I had an 8 year old D-Link router that finally died.  I never had problem with 2 or 3 devices streaming music/video or using Apple TV simultaniously.  Now, with the new router I do.  

To rule out wireless interferance, etc. with the router router I'm running two systems hardwired into the router and watching, wait for it, Battlestar Galatica and watching for studdering and stopping.  

I'll try the ideas and get back to you in the next couple of days.  Thanks!
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:Rich Rumble
ID: 38837104
If it's stuttering while hardwired, then I'd say it's the router or the BW available to the router, cable is a shared line for instance, so you share BW with your neighbors. It could be AV affecting you're performance, it could be old versions of flash. Firebug usually can point out the slowest loading parts of a page, but it doesn't help when the machine is slow, or the connection. Perhaps that router and or that version of firmware need to be updated, nothing as fun as troubleshooting wifi :)
-rich
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