Why is my WiFi Speed Slower than Wired: Ethernet Vs WiFi

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Imagine, you just learned about the Uber-Fast internet connection in your area, and happened to quickly sign up for that, in the meantime, abandoning the older Internet Service Provider (ISP).

After all, you are excited to see the skyrocketing surge in speed while you surf the internet, do online gaming, or maybe stream HD quality videos.

With this in mind, you rush towards buying not just fancy, but rather a desirable Wireless-Router, which almost every crazy streamer wishes for.

Anyways, you put the user id and password, etc., and Ah, what happened to speed? I’m not even getting half of what the wired connection yielded.

Or did I purchase the wrong Router or what? All of these thoughts started staggering your mind altogether. So, finally, you are kind of confused, and Google it down to see if it happens the same to everyone. 

Well, unfortunately, the wild guess is yes! It does happen if not to everyone who thinks like that. 

Undoubtedly, Wi-Fi will always be slower than wired Ethernet cable, that’s a universal truth. And, even though you spend all of your money to buy the best wireless gear, you wouldn’t experience any significant difference to the wired one.

So the question, “The waves travel faster than electric singles do, then why is it so?”

Well, waves are susceptible to interference due to external factors like other signals, objects like walls, or even other network traffic. Consequently, the signal deteriorates substantially, which results in slower network speeds with increasingly higher lag time.

While, wired Ethernet, conversely, does not have these issues. In Ethernet cables, the signal drops when the length of the wire exceeds the 100 meters threshold.

And, usually, that doesn’t happen because 100 meters is just the size of a football ground. Moreover, in Ethernet cables, the device holds only one dedicated path to send and receive data packets.

Therefore, one communicated channel without much interference and cross-talk in particulars to Ethernet cables provides faster and better internet speed. 

It is without a doubt that Wi-Fi connections have become so popular that almost everyone has at least one Router in their home.

Obviously, it doesn’t even bother much of the lot who are regular users of the internet (people who use the internet for normal video streaming or office work) whether the speed is enough or isn’t.

Oftentimes, the speed issue is a major concern for online game players or people who really are crazy at watching HD videos only. But, still, the fact that your internet is slower doesn’t mean that you need not think of a possible solution.

Okay, let’s dig deep into and explore more on what are the other factors, which also affect internet speed. And of course, what we can do to improve my internet connection speed. 

Unlike Ethernet connections, which are physically connected to the internet device ports, the Wi-Fi faces a hard time communicating the signals, independent of the distance involved.

Wi-Fi connections will predominantly be slower than Ethernet connections because wireless technology is more susceptible to interference, signal loss, and degradation which increases with distance. These factors can reduce the speed you can get from internet services when using Wi-Fi

Usually, The wireless connection has few problems as opposed to wired ones. 

  • Wired Ethernet connections are dedicated, while WiFi isn’t — obviously, when there are fewer chances of interference in wire connection types, then there are relatively lower chances that the signal may be degraded. While, in WiFi, the medium is open and more prone to interference. In this case, due to external noise and interference, it becomes quite impossible for WiFi to manage the theoretical speed specified by the network specifications. Also, particularly in Wi-Fi, the devices may start communication altogether, and possibly turn into a packet collision. Since the sender doesn’t know of the collision, the recovery signal merely depends upon lost message delay, re-initiating the signal in response, which can take time. Thus, resulting in a slower speed and higher lagging time.
  • Signal loss — according to inverse square law ” signal intensity from its soursce is inversely proporttional to the distance”. It is clear that signal loss will happpen as it will travel away from the origin. Wireless signals fade away as they cover distance and face hurdles in thier way.However, in wired connections they pass through it with no current loss.
Wifi signals break at the square of the distance from the Router. Image credit to Wikipedia
  • Wired Connections are aligned with the receptor — since the wired connections are connected physically to the end receptor receiving the data. Thus, the data received is delivered speedily and reliably. Conversely, with Wifi, it is very impractical to align the signal path end-to-end. Substantially, the power of the signal is reduced resulting in a slower network. 
  • Wifi connections are shared — as everyone knows, whenever someone introduces the Wifi in a home network, everyone just asks for the Wifi password. With that in mind, more than one person using the internet devices at the same time concludes to a slower network as well. 

  • The wired connection uses full-duplex mode, whereas WiFi uses a half-duplex — you might have heard about these terms in the networking class if I’m not wrong. Anyways, a full-duplex means that a device can communicate (send or receive packets/ download or upload) in both directions simultaneously between the sender and receiver. While, a half-duplex device, conversely like Wifi can only send or receive data packets in only one direction. Therefore, it’s also an obvious reason why Wi-fi is rather slow as compared to Wired networks.
Courtesy: Quora.com


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