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Standard User Banksy1
(newbie) Thu 29-Nov-18 11:26:03
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Wifi vs ethernet


[link to this post]
 
I just signed up with Vodafone broadband after painful years with TalkTalk.

The new contract promised a minimum download speed of 35mbps. In fact, using a wifi connection, I'm only getting 17mbps.

Got in touch with Vodafone. They told me to connect the router to my laptop with an ethernet cable and recheck the speed. Sure enough, it jumped up to 36mbps.

I wasn't entirely satisfied. After all, I can't connect all my other devices (smart TV etc) via ethernet cables. But they said their promise was to deliver 35mbps to the router, not to my actual wifi-based home network.

So two questions:

1. Their promise of 35mbps did not specify the use of an ethernet cable rather than wifi. So am I justified in thinking that they have welshed on the promise?

2. Can I do anything to get the wifi system up to the speed that's arriving at the router?

I'd be grateful if anyone can answer these questions. Thanks.
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Thu 29-Nov-18 11:37:44
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Re: Wifi vs ethernet


[re: Banksy1] [link to this post]
 
1. The adverts used to say sync and now say 'to the router' i.e. guarantee is not even with an Ethernet cable but the connection speed between router and street cabinet.

2. Yes, fit an extra wireless access point, closer to where your wifi devices are.

First though recommend running a speed test via https://www.thinkbroadband.com/speedtest for both the Ethernet and Wi-Fi device and post the resulting links, reason being I have a niggly feeling that the 36 Mbps you say might be the report from the router itself rather than a through put figure.

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User baby_frogmella
(knowledge is power) Thu 29-Nov-18 11:47:11
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Re: Wifi vs ethernet


[re: Banksy1] [link to this post]
 
The Vodafone router is pants for wifi (its a budget model), just buy a decent router such as the TP Link VR900v2 and Bob's yer uncle smile

FluidOne FTTPoD 330/30 Mbps
Netgear XR700 running DumaOS

Edited by baby_frogmella (Thu 29-Nov-18 11:47:47)


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Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Thu 29-Nov-18 11:51:33
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Re: Wifi vs ethernet


[re: baby_frogmella] [link to this post]
 
Since adding a bridge modem in front, thus removing modem work from the Vodafone router it has been stable and if you split the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz SSID it is not too bad, i.e. seems fairly normal for an ISP dual band router.

Suspect running VDSL2 modem and Wi-Fi in the same box taxed the CPU/memory making for more issues.

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User Banksy1
(newbie) Thu 29-Nov-18 12:33:45
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Re: Wifi vs ethernet


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
Thanks for replying.

As you suggested, I've just run the speed test again:

36.9 Mbps via ethernet
15.3 Mbps via wifi

The laptop (from which I've run the speed test) is on the same desk as the router i.e. less than 2 feet away.

How can one tell if the speeds are being reported from the router rather than a throughput figure?
Standard User Michael_Chare
(fountain of knowledge) Thu 29-Nov-18 12:41:26
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Re: Wifi vs ethernet


[re: Banksy1] [link to this post]
 
That difference is unreasonably large. You might want to try the 2.4 and the 5 GHz signals separately.

Michael Chare
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Thu 29-Nov-18 12:41:48
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Re: Wifi vs ethernet


[re: Banksy1] [link to this post]
 
Speed test? Which speed test? If ours then it is browser through cable or WiFi to our servers in a data centre.

If you are seeing a speed drop off over Wi-Fi from 36.9 to 15.3 Mbps over a distance of a couple of feet then something is wrong, what speed does the Wi-Fi say it is connecting at and is it using 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz bands?

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User MHC
(sensei) Thu 29-Nov-18 12:43:02
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Re: Wifi vs ethernet


[re: Banksy1] [link to this post]
 
Those are almost certainly the actual throughput figures and not sync/max achievable.

Were there obtained from the TBB speedtest? and if so, post a links to teh results.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

M H C


taurus excreta cerebrum vincit
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Thu 29-Nov-18 12:47:17
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Re: Wifi vs ethernet


[re: Michael_Chare] [link to this post]
 
Found the speed tests

http://tbb.st/1543488748140632255 and then via Wi-Fi http://tbb.st/1543488816811276255

What OS and age/processor? It may the laptop has a single Wi-Fi antenna and is not brilliant in its own right, the single download speeds are not actually that different, suggesting maybe single antenna rather than a modern laptop with good Wi-Fi chipset. That the multiple download is actually worse points towards maybe duff Wi-Fi chipset as in was never that great anyway, or is just in need of driver updates.

To know if its laptop or the Vodafone router, it is go somewhere where the Wi-Fi is known to be fast or bring a known good laptop to your network for testing.

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User MHC
(sensei) Thu 29-Nov-18 12:51:50
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Re: Wifi vs ethernet


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
I would also suggest trying a wireless test from maybe 3-5 metres away. Right up close could, in certain cases, cause the receiver to be swamped/overloaded. A quick check could easily rule that in/out.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

M H C


taurus excreta cerebrum vincit
Standard User RobertoS
(elder) Thu 29-Nov-18 13:11:20
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Re: Wifi vs ethernet


[re: Banksy1] [link to this post]
 
I hope you've remembered that you must make sure that nothing else at all is using the internet in your house when running a speed test. Not even background downloads of updates.

My broadband basic info/help site - www.robertos.me.uk. Domains, site and mail hosting - Tsohost.
Connection - AAISP Home::1 80/20. 200GB. Sync 01/10/18 - 72382/13812Kbps @ 600m. BQMs - IPv4 & IPv6
==================================================
If you never think of anything off the wall, you'll never think of anything original.
Standard User Malwaremike
(committed) Thu 29-Nov-18 16:29:31
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Re: Wifi vs ethernet


[re: Banksy1] [link to this post]
 
I too got 36mb from our new PC beside the router (bog standard Plusnet) but only 17mb on my old PC 3m across the room on wifi. Connecting the old PC by ethernet cable immediately gave 36mb. As if I haven't been advised so many times that speed tests may not work properly via wifi ...
Standard User Banksy1
(newbie) Thu 29-Nov-18 17:23:23
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Re: Wifi vs ethernet


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
MrSaffron,

I think you may have hit on the main reason why my wifi-based speed is so low.

Much as I'd like to blame Vodafone (or indeed anyone other than myself), I have a sneaking suspicion that the laptop may be the main culprit.

It's a mid-range Toshiba that I bought in - er - 2010. I have no idea whether it has a single wifi antenna but it seems likely. As for the wifi chipset you mention, I suspect that mine is steam-driven by comparison with today's kit.
Standard User ian72
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Fri 30-Nov-18 11:17:07
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Re: Wifi vs ethernet


[re: Banksy1] [link to this post]
 
It is likely it is an 802.11g chipset then - if you wanted to carry on with that laptop and want higher speeds then you could get a USB wifi adapter - but the question would be is there anything you want to do on that laptop that would benefit much from greater than 17Mbs anyway?
Standard User Banksy1
(newbie) Fri 30-Nov-18 17:58:54
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Re: Wifi vs ethernet


[re: ian72] [link to this post]
 
ref ian72's point that I might not actually need anything higher than 17 mbps on my laptop...

That's true, but I went for a higher broadband speed because I believe our increased use of TV streaming in the short-term future would warrant a higher rate.

Of course, the TV signal is wifi dependent because an ethernet connection isn't really feasible. Many of you probably know how to analyse the wifi function on a smart TV but I'm afraid that's a technical bridge too far for me.

I once had an old Morris Minor (ask your grandad, kids). Every time something went wrong on it, I'd replace it with a new part. But the new part would then transfer extra pressure onto another part further up or down the mechanical tree. That extra pressure would then prompt the next part to crack up under the strain. After a while I realised that I was locked into a chain reaction that would only be broken when I sold the thing. Which is exactly what I did.

Thank you all for your interest and help.
Standard User ian72
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Mon 03-Dec-18 09:29:17
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Re: Wifi vs ethernet


[re: Banksy1] [link to this post]
 
For the TV check to see if it has a web browser. If it does then you might be able to run a TBB speedtest directly on the TV. However, you would still be limited by whatever wifi standard the TV uses and more difficult to upgrade it than upgrading a laptop.

What make/model is the TV? Does it do 4K streaming? If it doesn't then 17Mbps would be more than enough to support whatever video the TV is likely to be doing... If it is 4K then I would expect it to have a better wifi adapter in it so you might find it is just fine.
Standard User jabuzzard
(member) Mon 03-Dec-18 12:23:55
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Re: Wifi vs ethernet


[re: Banksy1] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by Banksy1:
ref ian72's point that I might not actually need anything higher than 17 mbps on my laptop...

That's true, but I went for a higher broadband speed because I believe our increased use of TV streaming in the short-term future would warrant a higher rate.

Of course, the TV signal is wifi dependent because an ethernet connection isn't really feasible. Many of you probably know how to analyse the wifi function on a smart TV but I'm afraid that's a technical bridge too far for me.


Well your TV might support better WiFi than your by your own admission old laptop. So you might get more in total. On the other hand the screen itself often acts as a shield that attenuates the WiFi signal.

That said the basic rule of thumb is to reserve your WiFi bandwidth for devices that are actually mobile or don't have an ethernet port, and wire anything that is in a fixed position and has an ethernet port up. The result is a thousand times more reliable.

At the end of the day no ISP can guarantee any speed with WiFi because there are too many variables, with things like the size of your property, the materials your property is made from, the presence of competing WiFi signals from your neighbours, and other devices like baby monitors in the 2.4GHz band effecting what can be achieved. It's why the basic rule of thumb is to use ethernet if you possibly can.
Standard User Malwaremike
(committed) Mon 03-Dec-18 12:42:15
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Re: Wifi vs ethernet


[re: Banksy1] [link to this post]
 
Being a simple soul my attempts to connect our new Sony via wifi caused much frustration and bad language. Our router 15m away behind solid stone walls has an ethernet cable to a Devolo plugged into the mains alongside, the second Devolo has a 1m ethernet cable into the TV. Instant success ...
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