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Home Wireless Internet Review

Posted on 2013-11-09
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My home PC and device system consists of an ADSL modem with wireless router, 2 old PCs, 2 older laptops, 2 android tablets, 2 old ipods and 3 android phones.

I'd like to ensure that the PCs (at least) are receiving the maximum internet speed that they can.

I think that the ADSL speed to the house is the best I can get in this location.  The modem is brand new and good quality.

On the other end of the scale - one of the old laptops wouldn't connect to the network without me reducing the security on the modem/router.  When I did this the modem-router said that I was reducing my max wireless speed to 54mbps - out of a potential 300 mbps.

I suspect that all of the PCs were already using 54Mbps - but I was surprised at the mention of 300Mbps.

So I'd like someone to talk me through looking at device connection speeds and what the possibilities are - and maybe I need to buy new network cards (?) and maybe my old laptop can receive it's connection from a PC rather than having to slow down the router.

Any ideas?
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Question by:gawilson2000
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16 Comments
 
LVL 84

Assisted Solution

by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 400 total points
ID: 39636615
The limit will be the line speed of the DSL modem, not the network speed.  The fastest DSL speed I've ever even heard of was 25Mbps but I've never heard of a phone company that offers anything above 10Mbps.  Buying new network cards won't get you faster internet speed.  Your wireless speed at 54Mbps is far above the DSL speed and the wired part of your network is going to be at least 100Mbps.
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LVL 5

Author Comment

by:gawilson2000
ID: 39636628
So you are talking about the speed coming into the house?  How do I check that?
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LVL 84

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by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 400 total points
ID: 39636679
Most ISPs give you a link to an online speed test.  Almost all of them are run by Ookla.  http://www.speedtest.net/
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by:gawilson2000
ID: 39636880
This speed test seems to only give me current speeds for each device.

Isn't the first thing I'm after the speed potential coming into my house?
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LVL 46

Assisted Solution

by:Craig Beck
Craig Beck earned 300 total points
ID: 39637055
To achieve 300Mbps data rates over the wireless you'll need to use AES encryption and the 5GHz frequency band (usually).  If you've had to relax the security to TKIP or WEP for example this will force all devices to connect at a maximum of 54Mbps (unless you're using draft-N devices, then TKIP will probably work).

Even at 54Mbps it'll probably not be an issue if your wireless is solid and interference-free.
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LVL 84

Expert Comment

by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 39637241
You should be getting the same results from all devices and it should be the speed of your DSL connection.  What did you get?
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LVL 46

Expert Comment

by:Craig Beck
ID: 39637316
...unless the devices are 802.11b, for example.  Then it's fair to say your DSL service could be faster than the wireless link, and that not all devices would be the same. :-)
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LVL 44

Assisted Solution

by:Darr247
Darr247 earned 300 total points
ID: 39637339
The 802.11n specification requires WPA2 security... if you lowered it to WPA or WEP, the router's wireless section quite rightly disabled 11n and fell back to 11a and/or 11g, both of which have maximum connection rates of 54Mbps without using wide channels (aka Super-G and Super-A).

You should note that true throughput will be only about half that of the reported wireless connection speed... so if it's reporting a 54Mbps connection, the true maximum throughput you'll see is about 27Mbps.
If you'd like to see the math for yourself, see this Mattew Gast article

> So I'd like someone to talk me through looking at device
connection speeds and what the possibilities are
Not exactly sure what you're asking there... if you want to see the current connection speed, click the wireless icon in the notification area (nee System Tray), then right-click on the current connection and choose Status... that should give you a dialog like this in which the current connection speed is shownWireless Network Connection Status(note that value will update dynamically as long as the Wireless Network Connection Status window is open).

What the possible speeds are depends on the wireless station and client equipment, including what protocols they use and how many antennae each one has. Generally, the fastest reported connection speed possible using 802.11n using wide (40MHz) channels and with both sides having 2 antennae, is 300Mbps.  See MCS index #15 at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/802.11n#Data_rates
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by:Craig Beck
ID: 39637349
Well, the true max throughput is only ever in a lab, and in theory.  It's always less than half. Usually at best it's half, then subtract 10% - so around 24Mbps at 802.11a.  802.11g is around 22Mbps in practice.

The 802.11n specification actually requires AES, but it is largely considered that WPA2 is a prerequisite for AES encryption (it actually isn't though).  If you tell someone you can achieve  802.11n data-rates using WPA2 there is always the possibility of configuring TKIP encryption, and that won't give you 802.11n data-rates.
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LVL 5

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by:gawilson2000
ID: 39638508
I think I've missed most of what you are trying to tell me.  :)

I think my next step is to research what speed my service provider is supposed to be providing me, the specs of my modem-router - and use what you have told me to check the speeds on my PCs.

Then I'll tell you the results.
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Author Comment

by:gawilson2000
ID: 39675867
My apologies in my delay in progressing this.  I was hoping to get back to this next week.
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LVL 21

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by:
viki2000 earned 1000 total points
ID: 40039661
I will give it a try in my simple words.
If the main confusion and concern is that 300Mbs versus 54Mbs, then just neglect it.
These numbers show the possible maximum connection speed inside your house, usually from computer to the router or cable modem. It has nothing to do with your internet speed.
You mentioned ADSL which has usually max. 8Mbs download or in the best situations 12Mbs.
Then there is ADSL2+ or ADSL2++ with higher speeds. Have a look here:
http://go.telstra.com.au/helpandsupport/-/difference-between-adsl-and-adsl2-
or the table at the bottom page here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asymmetric_digital_subscriber_line
I would first check with your internet service provider what speed is allocated to your connection and in parallel I would make internet speed tests as suggested above. I would use only one PC, the best one which provides the highest speed connection, and your DSL modem/router.
Only after you know the maximum input speed in the house you should concern how is that divided in the hose.
Regarding other types of internet speed connections for home usage, you can get for instance since few years vDSL and vhDSL.
http://www.dslreports.com/faq/16553 
Now, in Germany, became cheap vDSL with 50Mbs, but if you have the fiber optic you may go up to 100Mbs with 10 euro per month and up to 200Mbs with 15 euro per month:
 http://www.telekom.de/privatkunden/internet/komplettpakete/call-und-surf-comfort-pakete/-/call-und-surf-comfort-speed?wt_mc=sk_da_807221_44413369718
I have friends in Romania which since more than 8 years ago, in the cities, had 100Mbs with 10 euro per month:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_in_Romania
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LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:Qlemo
ID: 41622244
I've requested that this question be deleted for the following reason:

Not enough information to confirm an answer.
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LVL 21

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by:viki2000
ID: 41622107
Does that mean that none of the above answers are valid?
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