At times, you may notice that WiFi speeds are slow while wired speeds are good. When this happens it means there isn't any issue with your internet connection, it's just your wireless network which needs some attention.

Due to the large number of environmental factors involved in WiFi networks, your speed is likely to always be better on a wired connection, but there are still many factors you can consider for how to improve your connection speeds. 

Distance

Try a test from a few metres away from the WiFi router to see if performance improves.

The further you are from your WiFi router, the slower the speed will get. Objects between your device and the WiFi router can also decrease performance more quickly as well; concrete, glass, and metal all cause the WiFi signal strength to drop more quickly.

Number of devices

The max WiFi speed is shared between all connected devices. Devices using old WiFi technologies will slow down everyone on the WiFi network.

For each channel on WiFi, only one device can transmit at a time. The more devices you have using the WiFi, the further that channel gets split between them all, slowing all your devices down. When performing speed tests to check your internet connection, you should always run them from a wired connection. When performing a WiFi speed test, you should disconnect all other WiFi devices.

If any devices are connecting on 802.11b (11Mbps max) or 802.11g (54Mbps max), that will slow the entire network down as the WiFi access point has to accommodate those devices. Devices that try to connect at those speeds are typically only old laptops and early smart phones.

Other WiFi Networks

If there are lots of WiFi networks near you, check that your devices and router all support 5GHz and enable that if possible.

If there are lots of other WiFi networks nearby, they can cause interference on the wireless frequency that you're on.

There are two WiFi frequencies: 2.4GHz and 5GHz. All WiFi devices and routers tend to support 2.4GHz, but not all WiFi devices or routers support 5GHz.

The 2.4GHz frequency only has 3* non-overlapping channels, so it prone to a high level of interference when there is a dense population of wireless networks nearby such as in apartment buildings or shopping malls.

The 5GHz frequency has 28 non-overlapping channels which can be used in New Zealand. This substantially decreases the chances of wireless interference impacting your experience.

* Technically there are 4 non-overlapping channels in New Zealand, however that requires all devices to have the correct regulatory domain set and be configured appropriately - our experience is that it's not often the case so in practical terms there's only 3 available.

Other sources of wireless interference

Many non-WiFi devices can cause wireless interference.

The 2.4GHz frequency is not restricted to use by WiFi devices. Some common devices that can cause interference on the 2.4GHz frequency are some cordless phones, bluetooth devices, and microwaves.

Always try to keep your WiFi router as far from these sources of interference as possible.

Large metal objects

Try to have your WiFi router far from any large metal objects.

If your WiFi router is sitting on top of a filing cabinet, a fridge, inside or on top of a metal network cabinet, mounted to a ceiling girder or on or near any other large metal objects, it can have a serious performance impact. Try to move your router to a location where there is a few metres between it and any large metal objects.

Did this answer your question?