I recently purchased and installed a Linksys WRT54GX wireless router. I'm using this with a WMP54GS receiver set up elsewhere in the house. The security I have set up is WPA (the receiver is about two years old and doesn't support WPA2, even with updated firmware). The two computers are able to form a connection, but the speed on the receiving PC is slow, no better than dialup. The sending computer has a download speed of 282kbps, upload of 277 kbps. The person using the receiver says he has used it in other WiFi situations, such as in hotels, and has achieved fast speeds. Questions: 1) If I purchase a faster connection, say 4MB, is that likely to improve the receiving computer's speed? 2) Does security (WPA) cause a slowdown? 3) Any other ideas/suggestions?
How are you measuring the speed? What actual numbers do you get?
Are you using an internet speed test for benchmarking? If so, your wireless connection is many times faster than the typical home broadband connection.
How are you measuring your speeds?
What numbers are you getting for upload and download speeds? Watch out for mixing up kbits/sec and KBytes/sec.
Have you tried benchmarking your wireless without the internet? That requires a wired PC, running Iperf or another benchmarking program:
What is your existing broadband internet connections rated speeds?
and the mystery "receiver" maker and model is...?
Possibly. If your download speed is limited by your existing internet connection, then a faster internet connection will improve the speed.
Yes, but only sometimes. It really depends on how hard the processor in the access point or wireless router is working. If you have a large number of filters and rules, then you might see a 10-15% slowdown over no-encryption. If the router has hardware encryption support, you won't see any measureable slowdown.
1) I'm measuring the speeds by going to the Vonage site, which measures download & upload.
I'm just giving exactly what it says: 282kbps/277 kbps. This is the least expensive broadband from my ISP, so I don't think it can be lightning fast.
3) no I haven't
4) see #2 above. As I stated, the receiver is a Linksys WMP54GS.
The security I'm running is WPA (not WPA2, just WPA). I'm not doing anything complicated...wouldn't know how. When I bought the router I was told it had an internal firewall, so I'm running that, plus the one that is standard with XP. I was also told that the router had excellent range and speed. I'm just sending inside my house from one room to another.
I get 1300kbits/sec download and 325Kbits/sec upload using the above URL.
Ok, I guess I have to decode your ISP. Looking at the header, your IP address is 126.96.36.199. Using RDNS, I find that this is: HSE-Toronto-ppp132197.sympatico.ca The various offerings by Sympatico Canada do NOT correspond with your measured performance. |
service level do you pay for?
You really should be using Sympatico's speed test for benchmarking but that looks like its dead. |
one of these that are near Toronto: |
You should. It's impossible to tell if the speed problem is between the wireless router and your wireless client, or between the router and the ISP.
Ok. Those PCI cards work well enough. I can't check the various hard mutations and firmware versions right now because the Linksys web pile is being undergoing maintenance.
WPA or WPA2 will not slow you down more than perhaps 10-15% at most. Since I have no idea what service level you're paying for from Sympatico, I can't tell how much slowdown you're experiencing.
The WRT54GX has an internal firewall.
Well, you haven't mentioned anything about range. How far are you trying to go? Going through any floors or walls? How many floors or walls? Wireless will slow down when the signal strength gets low. It will also slow down if there is inteference.
Try moving the computer with the WMP54GS into the same room with the WRT54GX. Run two test:
See if the speed improves at this close range. What speeds do you get?
Run a CAT5 cable from the computah to the WRT54GX router. Right click on the wireless icon in the system tray and select "disable". Run the benchmark test again. What speeds do you get?
It would also be nice if you would setup a 2nd computer running IPerf for benchmarking just the wireless, but I think comparing the speeds with a wired ethernet connection (as in #2 above) should offer the necessary clues.
Jeff, you're correct, I did write the last message from a Sympatico account, but that's not the account I'm having the problem with. My ISP here in the States is WOW (which I'm using right now) and I'm paying for the least expensive broadband: 112k connection. I can bump that up to 500k for $5 more per month, 4MB for $10, 6MB for $20. Because we're talking about full-size PCs (not laptops) is sort of difficult to move them around the house. I'm sending from one end of the house to the other, maybe 75 feet. The signal has to go thru 3 walls, no floors. I informed the 20 y.o. techie-type salesman at Best Buy what I needed, and he said that this SRX 200 model has great range, even extending to neighbor's houses. I guess what I'll try later (I have to do this when the person with the receiving computer is in the mood) is call WOW and see if they'll bump me up to a higher speed temporarily to see if that improves the speed. I have no previous experience with wireless, but the other person (one with the receiving computer) says he has used wireless at hotels and he gets T-1 type speeds. Here, he's just getting speeds no better than 56k dialup.
Bingo. There's the speed bottleneck. However, you're getting TWICE what they claim to offer.
theory, your benchmarking program should show about 100Kbits/sec in both directions. Yet, you're getting about twice that. I'm not sure why. Maybe the connection is "burstable" which offers higher speeds but only for short bursts of traffic.
Also, the prices are a bit high. On the left coast, PBI/SBC/AT&T DSL for 1500/384 Kbits/sec is about $13/month for the first year, and anywhere from $25 to $40/month after that.
Do it. The reason your speed is so slow is the ISP's rate limit (also know as "rate cap"). There is literally nothing you can do on your end with the wireless to improve the speed. You only go as fast as the ISP will deliver.
Ugh. That's a stretch. If you had asked before you tried it, I would have said that 3 walls and 75ft is not a workable situation. What I guess will happen is that you'll get a connection, but keeping it stable and not having it disconnect erratically will be a problem. It really depends on what the walls are made from. I've done far more than 3 walls, but they were thin wood walls with nothing inside. No drywall, or foil insulation. Try this simple test from the desktop: Start -> Run -> cmd ping -t 192.168.1.1 (IP address of the SRX200 router) It will run forever until you hit C to kill it. Look for erratic increases in latency or lost packets. Try moving the the computer, router, or antennas. Also, walk around the room and watch it change.
This is what a flakey connection (to one of my neighbors) looks like: Pinging 192.168.1.50 with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from 192.168.1.20: bytes=32 time=2ms TTL=127 Reply from 192.168.1.20: bytes=32 time=32ms TTL=127 Reply from 192.168.1.20: bytes=32 time=18ms TTL=127 Reply from 192.168.1.20: bytes=32 time=116ms TTL=127 Reply from 192.168.1.20: bytes=32 time=2ms TTL=127 Reply from 192.168.1.20: bytes=32 time=2ms TTL=127 Reply from 192.168.1.20: bytes=32 time=220ms TTL=127 Reply from 192.168.1.20: bytes=32 time=86ms TTL=127 Reply from 192.168.1.20: bytes=32 time=2ms TTL=127 Reply from 192.168.1.20: bytes=32 time=2ms TTL=127
1-2msec is the normal ping time. Anything longer is caused by packet loss forcing retransmissions which adds delays. This one is a mixture of interference and a very bad path through the trees. Usually, I'll also see some timeouts mixed in, but not today. They just happen to be moving their cars around when I was running the test, causing path and reflection problems. If you get something like this from a fixed location, the wireless link will not work reliably.
This time, he's right. I like the SRX200 (WRT54GX2) with the Airgo MIMO chipset. As long as both ends of the link use Airgo MIMO hardware, there's a definite increase in both range and reliability. What little experimentation I've done showed a noticeable range increase and connection reliability improvement with Airgo chipset based product. I'd be interested in how well it works for you.
I'm not sure it's that easy. This is apparently (not sure) a DSL connection or possibly an ISDN or IDSL line that is administered and controlled by your local phone company. Unlike most ISP's, the telcos are not known to be very cooperative toward experimentation.
Yes. He'll get those speeds if the hotel's ISP can deliver them.
Thanks, but the problem has been solved. I checked his receiving speed for myself and discovered that it wasn't really all that much slower than mine! (Before this, I had been relying on him telling me how slow it was.) However, it still wasn't fast enough for him, so I increased my service to 4 MB, which did indeed take me up to 4. I checked his speed and it's now between 3 & 4. I was thinking that it was a wireless problem, because I had never used wireless before, but I guess it does operate as advertised! As regards price, I have bundled service (phone, TV, Internet) and the price was lower than my other cable option, Comcast.
A new question. After getting the first person squared away, another person in the house wanted to hook up to my router. He has a laptop and purchased a ZyXel wireless adapter. (I suggested that he buy a Linksys, but he went with ZyXel.) Anyway, I hooked it up and got it going. The problem is that he has to get closer to the sending unit to get a decent signal than the other guy had to (first one has a full-size PC). The connection possibilities are poor, good, very good, excellent. He gets "good" in his room, but that's not good enough for IE to bring up anything. If he moves the laptop closer to the sending unit in my room, he gets very good or excellent, both of which work fine. I thought of maybe alligator-clipping some wire to the antennas on my router to extend the range (if that's even possible), but they're plastic. Now...the other guy (first one I wrote about) has an extra linksys router he's not using. Any way of hooking that up somehow to boost the signal in that part of the house? Any other ideas?