Getting the best speed from an N rated wireless adapter

I have a new router that is dual band (2.4GHz and 5GHz), AC compatible and capably of delivering 1,750 Mbps.

My laptop which has a 'Intel Centrino Wireless-N WiFi' WiFi adapter can connect to the 5GHz SSID but the link speed in the adapater's 'Status' properties in Windows only shows a maximum of 300Mbps.

The adopter's highest compatibility is the 'N' standard.

Is there anything I can do to get more speed out of the adapater ?

I appreciate that as it is not an AC adapter I can't expect full speed, but what can I do to get more speed than 300Mbps ?

I would hope that I can get at least 1 gigabit connection with this new Router

Operating System:  Windows 10 Pro

If I do have to get a USB WiFi adapter does anyone have any recommendations for the best and most reliable one for Windows 10 ?
Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

I believe that the limit for N was 450Mbps, though you'd really not see that much throughput.  I looked up several "Intel Centrino Wireless-N WiFi" adapters (there's a model number that should be on the end) and didn't find any that went over 300Mbps.

Are you trying to connect to local resources (e.g. file server) or to the internet?
RaminTechnical AdvisorCommented:
That's the limitation of your WIFI adapter (802.11bgn) and your laptop.  I'm not sure if you can even get any better speed even with an USB AC WIFI adapter because you will have  USB speed limitation. so I would stick to that speed or buy a new laptop with AC WIFI adapter.
AL_XResearchAuthor Commented:
Thanks Ramin & CompProbSolv for you comments so far.

This is for general internet use but also for video conferencing. VoIP and internet intensive gaming. I have a 100MBps line but also want to connect internal network devices as fast as possible (for copying etc.) - so the gigabit aim.

So why are N adapters limited to 300Mbps when the max is 450Mnps ? Even a small increase would be useful.

A USB 3.0 device has a rated speed for 5gbps so it should be able to transfer a paultry 1750Mbps with relative easy I would think ?
Big Business Goals? Which KPIs Will Help You

The most successful MSPs rely on metrics – known as key performance indicators (KPIs) – for making informed decisions that help their businesses thrive, rather than just survive. This eBook provides an overview of the most important KPIs used by top MSPs.

RaminTechnical AdvisorCommented:
A USB 3.0 device has a rated speed for 5gbps so it should be able to transfer a paultry 1750Mbps with relative easy I would think ?

Not in real world. Can you get more than 60 MBps (480 mbps) speed when you copy something to a USB 3.0 flash drive on your PC ?

What is the model of your laptop?
RaminTechnical AdvisorCommented:
What is the exact model of your WIFI adapter ?
Have a look at this link:
I do believe that there are N adapters that will connect at 450Mbps.  I suspect yours is not one of them, but without a full model number it is difficult to be sure.

I would expect that a respectable AC adapter connected to USB 3.0 should be able to be significantly faster than what you're seeing now.  I don't have experience with them to recommend one.

Do you have the ability to do a wired gigabit connection?  That may be a better option.
AL_XResearchAuthor Commented:
I am at the office at the moment so I can't remember my exact adpater's model and reference I am afraid.

Yes I would hope a USB 3 adapter would provide the speed I am looking for.

I agree that wired is always the most reliable and fastest option but unfortunately not an option in this case and I doubt powerline will work either (at least would be subject to massive degradation) as the house is from the victorian era and the electrics not the newwest
AL_XResearchAuthor Commented:
Here is the card's name from the Dell website for my machine:
Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6230
RaminTechnical AdvisorCommented:
You may find this Intel page informative:

If I read that correctly, the single-user limit on AC is 866.7Mbps.
AL_XResearchAuthor Commented:
Thanks for those links.

Ramin that spec seems to seal the argument. Interesting I was not able to find that spec when I looked.

So to get the most out of the router I need a USB 3.0 adapter. The question is what one ?

This one looks good to me (except that the aerial seems small):
RaminTechnical AdvisorCommented:
So to get the most out of the router I need a USB 3.0 adapter.

I think that's not a true statement as I said before.  In best case scenario  with that USB 3.0 adapter internet will start at 450Mbps and will drop very soon to 240Mbps as I experienced before.
RaminTechnical AdvisorCommented:
But I'm not quite sure in your case.
AL_XResearchAuthor Commented:
Ramin: can you explain ? As I said before the USB spec can transmit far more data than the router can put out so why would I be limited to 450Mbps if I am only using the adapter to connect ?
RaminTechnical AdvisorCommented:
Have a quick test, copy something around 1GB to a USB 3.0 flash drive using USB 3.0 port and tell me what was your average transfer speed.

You cannot get more than that speed from your USB 3.0 adapter.
I suspect that the flash drive is often the limiting factor.  According to this review: there is quite a range of actual speeds you'll get.  One of them makes it to about 1/3 of the 5Gbps limit.  That's in the ballpark of the limit for 802.11AC.
AL_XResearchAuthor Commented:
Yes but a) we are not talking about flash drives here but a USB dongle b) if a USB 3.0 WiFi AC 1750 Mbps can only deliver 450Mbps then the company would be unable to sell the product as it would only be returning a third of the speed the buyers had paid for.

I mean if I purchased something that said it could deliver 1,500 Mbps and could only every deliver 500 Mbps I would demand a refund ! USB dongle's must be able to deliver more. Remember that part of the 'copy bottleneck' is the writing to the flash drive which in this case would not happen of course.
The speeds mentioned for network equipment are always theoretical, so you never will actually achieve the speeds marketed. This is a point already mentioned by Radmin.

Here's my set of questions:
1) How is the router configured?
2) How much interference is around?
3) Have you tested with a different device, preferably one that actually supports AC?
AL_XResearchAuthor Commented:
Hi masnrock - welcome to the party.

To be honest the router is not of much concern at this point since according to the article by Ramin (ID: 42476290) so kindly found the adapter is getting maximum speed at present.

What I am suggesting is getting a USB 3.0 adapter and surprised when the experts are saying that I would not get much speed increase beyond 300Mbps even though the device is capable of delivering 1750 Mbps.

Of course I do understand that all quoted speeds are theoretical and you are probably not ever going to get the maximum speed. However I would expect the realistic maximum to be about 1500 Mbps for a 1750 Mbps device not 300 Mbps. That is the same as saying that the device will only realistically deliver 17% of the quoted speed - in which case I would demand a refund.

I do not have a different device that supports AC - it is my home PC.
Got it. I would think that you should be able to get past 300 with the new adapter.

However, I would also say that the devil is in the details. Makers list the combined bandwidth for BOTH bands. And since you can only use one at a time.... let's get the 1750 number out of your head. It's really only 1300. Here's the spec from the link you provided breaking it down:
Simultaneous 2.4GHz 450Mbps and 5GHz 1300Mbps connections for 1.75Gbps of total available bandwidth
AL_XResearchAuthor Commented:
let's get the 1750 number out of your head. It's really only 1300

Agreed, Obviously you can only use one at one time - I was just using it as an example of not wanting to only get 17% of the quoted throughput (or 23% given the one band - 300 / 1300)
AL_XResearchAuthor Commented:
So do we all agree that my suggestion of the below USB 3.0 adpater should at least get me 1GB on the 5GHz band ? 

My only concern is that the ariel is small.
Personally, I would go ahead and get the adapter. I personally don't think you're going to experience link speeds are as low as you're getting today (note I said link speed, not real transfer speed.. that's always a fun debate in this world of theory v reality).
AL_XResearchAuthor Commented:
masnrock, thanks. So you agree the spec of that dongle looks good ?
In terms of specs, looks fine. Nothing that would give cause for red flags. Not too familiar with the maker, but I have heard their name before.
RaminTechnical AdvisorCommented:
Please keep us posted and share your experiences with that USB 3.0 WIFI adapter.
AL_XResearchAuthor Commented:
I will indeed.

(I hate it when people post questions an say "I fixed it" without putting the resolutions for others to read)

I will keep this question open until I have received & tested.
Craig BeckCommented:
Even if you connect with a PHY rate of 1300Mbps you'll never see that. It's the theoretical maximum before protocol overheads and environmental factors. The rough guide is actually to halve the radio speed then subtract 10%, so EXPECT around 600Mbps throughput. Any more is a bonus.
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
5 ghz full wave antenna length 6cm
2.4 Ghz full wave antenna length 12.5 cm

Larger Antenna doesn't always mean better

Your throughput largely depends upon the signal to noise ratio where noise is anything other than the desired SSID on that frequency.
AL_XResearchAuthor Commented:
OK so the USB adapter has been delivered.

It is about 5 inches in length and the fold out aerial is about 4.5 inches long and 1 cm wide.

The first impressions are good. On the 5GHz SSID I am getting a fairly solid link speed of 778MBs with occasional fluctuations between 520 and 871 !!

However those first impressions were short lived because when I tested the speed using '' (the site I always use to keep the tests's consistent) and the download speed is only 4Mbps (and the upload 6MPbps) !!! So the comparisons would be as follows:

Type                          | Upload | Download
Ethernet                      110             13
Internal 2.4 WiFI         38               6
Edimax 5GHz WiFi      4                 6

I have tried changing the router's 5GHz SSID 'Channel Width' to 80Mhz (which was one suggestion I saw on the net) but this did not help.

I have contacted the company's technical support to complain but if any of you experts have any suggestions I would be willing to try them out.
I'd try downloading a large file (one that takes at least a minute to download) from a shared folder on another computer on your network.  It should be from a computer that has a wired connection to the LAN.  Then I'd do the same test with your computer wired to the router or switch and the wireless turned off.  Compare the two times and calculate the speed.  That will tell us a lot.
RaminTechnical AdvisorCommented:
What is the distance between your PC and the router ?  close it as much as possible.
Did you test with other channels ?
RaminTechnical AdvisorCommented:
What is the results with 2.4 GHz Channel 11 and Band Width to 20 M ?
AL_XResearchAuthor Commented:
Just a small correction to my earlier table

Type                          | Upload | Download | Link Speed
Ethernet                       110            13                 1Gbps
Internal 2.4Ghz           28              6                   117Mbps
Edimax 2.4GHz WiFi   38              6                   216Mbps
Internal 5Ghz WiFI      55              6                   300Mbps
Edimax 5GHz WiFi       4                6                   778Mbps

So based on the progression shown above I would expect the 'Edimax 5GHz WiFi' upload to be around 80 +- 10 !
AL_XResearchAuthor Commented:
[Ramin] All my tests were done from the same location (an upstairs bedroom - router downstairs - this is where I will always use the connection from).

My router's 'Channel' and 'Channel Width' settings, for 2.4GHz and 5Ghz, are set to Auto.

The results you asked for are:

Type                          | Upload | Download | Link Speed
Internal 2.4Ghz           35              6                   117Mbps
Edimax 2.4GHz WiFi   46              6                   216Mbps
RaminTechnical AdvisorCommented:
Thanks for your detailed feedback.
It can be because of SNR  (signal-to-noise ratio),   greater frequency means less signal strength, so please reduce the distance between your PC and the router (if possible) and test with Edimax 5GHz.
AL_XResearchAuthor Commented:
Yes i understand the SNR and the relationship with frequency but my point is the 5GHz band with the speed using Edimax AC shouldn't be less than 15% of the 2.4 GHz Internal N adapter.

I will test as you suggest later.
AL_XResearchAuthor Commented:
OK I have done the tests rthat Ramin requested and additionally done some tests on my Android 6 smartphone.


These tests where done about a meter away - in front of the router.

Type                          | Download| Upload | Link Speed
Internal 2.4Ghz           62                 6               144Mbps
Internal 5Ghz WiFI      77                 6               300Mbps
Edimax 2.4GHz WiFi   75                 6               216Mbps
Edimax 5GHz WiFi       4                  6                1.3Gbps   !!!!!!!!!!!!!


These tests are in normal position in the bedroom and downstairs one meter away.

I am using the Android app that have made (quite reliable in my experience).

The results do suggest that the problem is just a Windows thing.


Type                 | Download| Upload | Link Speed
2.4GHz WiFi        25                 7                216Mbps
5GHz WiFi           109               7                234Mbps  


Type                 | Download | Upload | Link Speed
2.4GHz WiFi        48                 7                144Mbps
5GHz WiFi           109               7                866Mbps
AL_XResearchAuthor Commented:
HI there, well success !!

I had another look on the Edimax website and this time I found the drivers I could download for Windows 10. The device is supposed to be plug and play for Windows 10 but installing the driver did the trick. No idea why I could not find them when I previously looked.

So here are the new (and exteremlty impressive stats) for the Edimax:


Rating     | Download | Upload  | Link speed
2.4 GHz  |    52Mbps |  6Mbps  | 216Mbps
5.GHz     |  113Mbps |  6Mbps  | 1.3 Gbps !!!!!!


Rating     | Download | Upload  | Link speed
2.4 GHz  |    20Mbps |  6Mbps  | 216Mbps
5.GHz     |  108Mbps |  6Mbps  | 780Mbps !!!!!!

I think you will agree that is some impressive performance !

The bottom line; my first idea was correct - manually download and install the driver (don't rely on plug and play).

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
Craig BeckCommented:
I wouldn't say those stats indicate impressive... Just normal to be honest.

As I said previously, you'll not get anywhere near the 1.3Gbps.
If you are paying for a 100M connection (I'm presuming that's the download speed; what's the upload speed spec?) then you're getting what you're paying for now.  The real test of how the WiFi is working is to try the file transfer test I recommended.
AL_XResearchAuthor Commented:
Manually downloading and installing the driver from the manufacture's website (rather than replying on 'plug-n-play' drivers was the actual solution. However everyone contributed something.
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Windows 10

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.