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How Fast is Wireless N? What Is Real World Speed?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I have been on a Wireless G router for many years (Linksys WRT54GL) and I pretty much gave up on trying to stream media from my HTPC to the various laptops and desktops in the home.

I just replaced by wireless G devices with wireless N router and wireless N adapter on the HTPC, both are rated at 300mbps (megabits).

To test my new connection, I ripped a blu-ray (Black Hawk Down) on my desktop (wired) and try to transfer the file to my HTPC. I got a constant transfer rate of 5.3MBps (megabyte), which is about 42.4 mbps (megabits).

So, I am getting nowhere close to the transfer rate of 300mps, heck not even 1/4 of the rated speed.

What gives? Is my setup not right? Or is this the actual real world performance of Wireless N devices?

By the way, I am on the 2.4ghz band, although my router is dual band but my N adapter is only 2.4ghz and my wireless connection indicate that I am connected at 300mbps.

Thanks
post #2 of 26
Thread Starter 
Update:

So, I downloaded a network bandwidth monitor app (DU Meter) and try to transfer the file again.

I let the transfer runs for about 10min. I get a max transfer rate of 84mbps, and an average rate of 64.9mbps. It improved a bit, I guess half of the neighborhood went to bed and got off their wifi conections.

But this is still a far cry from the 300mbps.

net1.JPG 34k .JPG file
post #3 of 26
I don't think you will ever attain the 300mbps rate. I am running a Netgear "N" wireless router and it works for me but I am not happy about the spotty range. I have a 2 story house and at no time am I more than 40' from the router and my signal is at best good. Our MB is directly over the room with the router and I can't watch movies via my XBox360 via wireless when the distance is less than 8'.
post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
I don't expect to get the full 300mbps, but I think I should expect at least 150mbps or half of the rated bandwidth?
post #5 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by smokarz View Post

I don't expect to get the full 300mbps, but I think I should expect at least 150mbps or half of the rated bandwidth?
I agree... I will stay tuned in to see if there is a solution to get it up where it should be.
post #6 of 26
Those are decent real world numbers.

The only time I have heard of anywhere near advertised speed was in a benchmark test
post #7 of 26
If you using 1 MIMO stream and 20 MHz bandwidth channel then theoretical N maximum is 72.2 Mbit/s.
If using 4 MIMO streams and 40 MHz bandwidth channels then theoretical N maximum is 4x150 Mbit/s
Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_802.11n-2009
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIMO
N300 advertised dual band device has usually 2 MIMO streams, one in 2.4 other in 5 GHz band but bandwidth can be adjustable.
Edited by Sileem - 4/3/13 at 2:26am
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
I have an N750 router.
post #9 of 26
300 Mbps on 2.4 GHz and 450 Mbps on 5 GHz?
But adapter on HTPC?
post #10 of 26
How fast? FAST!
post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sileem View Post

300 Mbps on 2.4 GHz and 450 Mbps on 5 GHz?
But adapter on HTPC?


Adapter on HTPC is 300mbps 2.4ghz.
post #12 of 26
if you hit anything over 60Mbit you are doing good. Throw in a wall or two and you are lucky to get 20Mbit.
post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 
The HTPC is down in the basement and the desktop is on the first floor.

So the signal has to travel through 1 floor.
post #14 of 26
Wireless bandwidths are sensitive to distance and obstacles. The further the distance the lower the bandwidth and it is not a linear decline. Higher frequency can yield higher bandwidth but is more sensitive to distance and obstacles. That is why wireless home phones have gone to lower frequencies (Dect 6.0 = 1.9GHz) to increase handset range.

Most people who have tried to stream BluRay over wireless have repeatedly hit their heads against a wall and eventually agree that wireless is not suitable for BluRay. BluRay has a max transmission bitrate of 54Mbps. So as has been noted, anything over 60Mbps is good -- I would go further and say exceptional.
post #15 of 26
I guess if you want wireless... The way to go would to have wireless routers or repeaters all over your house if you want to stream HD.
post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by ellisr63 View Post

I guess if you want wireless... The way to go would to have wireless routers or repeaters all over your house if you want to stream HD.

still most likely wont work. Its not the speed issue that gets you. its the integrity of the connection. Because wireless never takes the same path twice in a row. You never get a constant stream there is ups and downs which video streaming does not take to kindly.
post #17 of 26
Well I guess when we do the HT conversion in the garage I will be running more cat 6 cable.
post #18 of 26
Hard wire is always the best.
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

Hard wire is always the best.

Yup, I will use the wireless for my home automation control and cell phone and use the gigabit switch for everything else.
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by smokarz View Post

Adapter on HTPC is 300mbps 2.4ghz.
Can you adjust router to 40 MHz bandwidth?
post #21 of 26
I use a couple of Asus RT-N56U routers. Running the custom Padavan firmware. I have them set for 40Mhz and I can get 150Mb/s throughput to/from my laptop. Now I did have to go through all the 5Ghz channels to get one(channel 40) that would give me those speeds. But all the 2.4Ghz and the other 5Ghz channels gave me 100Mb/s+ throughput with transfers. But only channel 40 allowed me to hit 150Mb/s. Of course I not too far away from the router when I'm getting those speeds either.
post #22 of 26
Using an Aruba 135 AP and a MacBookPro I sustained 105mbps in real world transfer while the wireless speed was 450. This seems to be the best possible. Note that you need Gig backends on the AP as well as to any wired source. I also own the Netgear WNDR4300 (apparently identical to TP). I believe I achieved the same rate there. However this is on the 5Ghz a spectrum. I've lent it out to a office so I can't do a quick test.

If you want wireless performance, you have to leave the b/g spectrum behind. b/g based wireless and performance aren't very practical in a lot of real world situations. There are only 3 clear channels on b/g, more than a dozen on a. When you use channel 6 on b/g you're transmitting on 4 through 8. 40hz banding require two channels per AP, and b/g is exhausted already. b/g is disturbed by bluetooth, wireless phones, hotspots, your microwave, even motion detectors are using 2.4ghz. I had an office in Denver where half the APs on two floors detected high interference when people used the microwave. 802.11a is cleaner, less populated and focused. B/G travels further distances, lowering speed and consuming more airtime as distance increases. Did you really want your router trying to associate with a device 300 feet from your router? In commercial APs you get to eliminate the slowest speeds 1mhz, 2mhz, 5mhz that service devices far away or ancient 802.11 b only. This focuses performance and coverage. With consumer products you can't be that specific.

In Manhattan offices, it is common to see 30-80 SSIDs sitting at a desk. Most of those are historically B/G signals because people didn't pay extra to buy into A and B/G travels further. B/G is a crowded world. And more devices are joining in all the time. Standing outside a dormitory building I saw well over 100 routers. And wireless constantly changes throughout the day, so spot check may not show your the whole picture.

I used a netgear 802.11a/n ethernet bridge on my Boxee to play HD videos. I believe it even played the massive 11GB bluray encodes.
post #23 of 26
See http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/lanwan/router-charts/

You can see some actual measured numbers with option to select the measurement you are interested in

Edit: You may also find this interesting 'It Takes A Neighborhood To Fix Bad Wireless'

http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wireless/wireless-howto/31656-it-takes-a-neighborhood-to-fix-bad-wireless
Edited by undecided - 8/21/13 at 10:45pm
post #24 of 26
I could totally be in left field but I think your connection speed will not achieve it's fastest possible speed if slower connections are present I have an N downstairs and a G access point in my garage. Slow stuff connects to the G fast to the N. I can do Vudu with my wifi tv upstairs in 1080p on the N network.

Hope this helps, just a shot that worked for me.

Avdad
post #25 of 26
i tried to stream a bluray via N last night and it was choppy - the alarm motion sensors and B/G interference makes perfect sense.


however - i fear i am still left with running cat5 - i will have to wait till the wife is out of town so she doesnt see me cutting holes in the drywall.
post #26 of 26
One way to test your speeds is using iperf which you can test each way direction between two devices very accurately. You just need iperf on the two devices you want to test throughput with and let it run to see what your real throughput is.

I run a pfsense firewall/DHCP/etc. and just upgraded to a UniFi UAP-AC and the UniFi controller software version 2.4.5 that I am running shows link rate speeds and connection percentage, which is cool. I run N only in the 2.4 Ghz spectrum and put devices that I want less interference with on the 5 Ghz N/AC side. All 2.4 Ghz spectrum is crowded these days and the best way to keep speeds is to limit your access point (AP) to N only and upgrade any of your old devices to the N standard so you do not lose speed. That is from when a B/G device joins your AP your N device speed drops as well , and I believe "A" does the same on the 5 Ghz side.

The smallnetbuilder links are great resources and setting up a good wireless network can be difficult.
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