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Wifi speeds?


Calm Chris
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What will all the talk about Cat 5 + 6, and how poo wifi is as a data transfer product in a DOMESTIC environment is, I hope some will enter in to a chat about real use bandwidth.

Here's a wifi performance screen print via my iPad 2 via Speedtest.

The top two figures are via the Virgin Super hub, same room, the rest are down stairs through two shut doors and a stair case followed by a corridor, about 10m away from the Super Hub via a netgear wifi repeater.

post-5943-137914490729_thumb.jpg

The main service is the enhanced 50 Mb, and runs about 95 Mb/s down and 4-7 Mb/s up all day every day.

We all muck about, do FaceTime, wifi to TV, laptops running, wif printing, spotify, you tube clips etc often simultaneously with 4 different users, all with different demands.

Never ever had any discernible choking or slow running, so other than essential* wired connections why rip a house up running in cable everywhere?

By essential* Main desktops, servers, media storage NAS boxes, maybe Xbox / game consoles.

I genuinely like to know who thinks what is essential as wired and what is just wiring overkill.

I think the wifi speeds I get are plenty for all Mr Average needs, I also think that when faster becomes essential for wifi then wifi kit will adapt and become faster.

Is 20 Gb/s upload on a mobile device or media requirement really so poo it has to be wired?

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Really depends on your usage Chris doesn't it? My usage is a bit unusual as I work from home - I have Gb Ethernet everywhere, and could not rely on WiFi. The wait times would be painful.

On the other hand all my general browsing, facetime, voice/video, AppleTVs etc. are all done over WiFi and are just fine.

You don't get 20Gb/s upload on a mobile device - I'm assuming that's a typo?

If I was in a new build I'd want wired to the rooms simply because I can and because it opens your options up. Bandwidth is king after all. Once we all start streaming Blue-Ray quality media about it'll get interesting.

WiFi can also be somewhat jittery when under load. That's fine if your load types are designed for jittery networks, not so good if it isn't.

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The Wifi in our flat is a bit hit and miss. We (she) runs a BT Homehub 2 and at times the streaming is fine - Sky On Demand no trouble at all and at other times it is slow as feck with constant buffering. Each time it is rubbish there is nothing else accessing the wifi and it isn't to do with it being a popular programme since a repeat about the Sky Cycling team suffered more than the Darts final on New Year's Day.

The chat here therefore makes me think such problems might go away if we were hard wired. Only about 4m sepratation from laptop to Homehub and no solid walls (i.e. they are stud partitions).

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I doubt that's your WiFi Andrew, probably more likely your broadband.

Incidentally, if you're interested in people's Internet usage - just look at the scale of file storage systems now. 25Gb SkyDrive, large DropBox, 5Gb GoogleDrive. People are pushing a LOT of data around now.

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I'm pretty much like Mac, anything that doesn't move is hardwired to a GB switch(es), NAS filers, TV's, PC's, mac's. I can't rely on wifi for large amounts of data, even 300Mb WIFI is really not upto the job. All laptops and phones connect over WIFI to the superhub for browsing etc, it's painfully slow when dowloading a 700mb to the phone from the filer over WIFI.

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Sitting here now I get 16Mb/s download and about 0.7Mb/s upload over Wifi from Sky - a bit better if I plug it in. Its used for normal web, email, working from home, downloading from Sky On Demand etc - seems enough for the time being. Having said that I'm told BT Infinity will be available from the end of March, so might switch back to BT as Sky movies can be couple of gig and take a while - unless Sky start offering something similar?

Edited by bazza_g
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Incidentally, if you're interested in people's Internet usage - just look at the scale of file storage systems now. 25Gb SkyDrive, large DropBox, 5Gb GoogleDrive. People are pushing a LOT of data around now.

Funny you say that because I'm, just deploying for work a new filestore and mft (because our parent co dont want us using anything public cloud or american) and one of the criteria for that is filesizes upto 100Gb with a nice to have of 1Tb!!!

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Sitting here now I get 16Mb/s download and about 0.7Mb/s upload over Wifi from Sky - a bit better if I plug it in. Its used for normal web, email, working from home, downloading from Sky On Demand etc - seems enough for the time being. Having said that I'm told BT Infinity will be available from the end of March, so might switch back to BT as Sky movies can be couple of gig and take a while - unless Sky start offering something similar?

Sky offer "Sky fibre unlimited" for £20/month. I was completely unaware of it but when I rang to get my mac code last month to switch to infinity they said that they covered my area too. I'm guessing it's basically following the infinity roll-out. It's only a 12 month contract compared to BT's 18 months but they wouldn't waive the £50 setup fee.

Sky Fibre Unlimited - Unlimited fibre optic broadband from Sky

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Sky offer "Sky fibre unlimited" for £20/month. I was completely unaware of it but when I rang to get my mac code last month to switch to infinity they said that they covered my area too. I'm guessing it's basically following the infinity roll-out. It's only a 12 month contract compared to BT's 18 months but they wouldn't waive the £50 setup fee.

Sky Fibre Unlimited - Unlimited fibre optic broadband from Sky

Cheers - I guess I still have to wait for the end of March when BT have sorted the fibre then I can get this through Sky +++

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For home activity a NAS or anything serving out content will be better hard wired. Most devices streaming the content can be on WIFI but if its HD 1080p content then again wired can help reduce potential buffering on a poor wifi signal.

When the new ac standard is used now it is ratified it will give near Gb Ethernet speeds and it has much better reach and penetration. The chips are now out that support it but I can see much using it until the end of the year but Apple are apparently going to include it into the next updates.

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There seems to be a basic misunderstanding here into the real issue with wifi compared to wired. In essence, wifi is a single contention domain in that only one device can be transmitting at any one time per wifi access point whereas with a wired network and good quality gigabit switches all devices can be transmitting at the same time. So wifi works best with just one wifi device per access point as soon as you add more than one than the throughput drops and you get collisions. Couple in the fact that wifi operates on either the congested 2.4ghz band (lots of interference) or the 5Ghz band and you can see why wired is so much better.

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Sitting here now I get 16Mb/s download and about 0.7Mb/s upload over Wifi from Sky - a bit better if I plug it in. Its used for normal web, email, working from home, downloading from Sky On Demand etc - seems enough for the time being. Having said that I'm told BT Infinity will be available from the end of March, so might switch back to BT as Sky movies can be couple of gig and take a while - unless Sky start offering something similar?

Without stating the obvious Bazza. You know once you've started to download a sky movie, within about 15-30 secs you can start to watch it and it will continue to download as you watch. I know a few people who've waited for the complete movie to download first.

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Without stating the obvious Bazza. You know once you've started to download a sky movie, within about 15-30 secs you can start to watch it and it will continue to download as you watch. I know a few people who've waited for the complete movie to download first.

:grin: there's no waaaaaay I'd be caught out doing that.. Nope, never :roflmao:

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I guess so. WiFi on one base station will be a single collision domain.

The issue with Wifi is that it transmits or receives to only one device at a time and uses CDMA to try and avoid collisions. So the client asks if it can transmit before it actually does, this is done to limit collisions but if lots of devices are all trying to communicate with the access point at the same time you do start to get more collisions and thus lower performance for everyone.

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So in a multi point wifi house, say router wifi and a couple of extenders is there still only one wifi access point, since the router wifi pole is the only "real" connection point for wifi?

Whereas I'd assume a 4 port router with two linked 8 port hubs gives full fat bandwidth to (2 + 8 + 8) 18 ports.

It's easy to see the advantage of wired, when its pointed out to you +++

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The important bit is switching, not being a hub, as this increases the number of collision domains. If you have a hub you have ONE BIG collision domain effectively. There's no intelligence on the hub - any piece of traffic gets sent to all ports. If you have a switch, each switch port is its own collision domain, with intelligent switching happening on the switch. If traffic on PORT 1 needs access to a MAC address on PORT 2 then and only then is traffic forwarded on to the other port (Well, unless it's multi-cast for multiple/all targets).

In general, switches will give a more consistent performance than a hub, but tend to be a little bit pricier.

A 4 port router could be switch OR a hub, depending on the model I think - with a switch being better.

What you don't have is a multiple of ports for bandwidth. So 12 port switch does not give you 12Gbps throughput really. It's port to port traffic you're interested in. Cheaper consumer hubs will have 1Gbps shared between all the switch ports, more expensive units up this backplane.

Realistically at a consumer level I can't imagine it would make a world of difference.

A single WiFi base-station is like having everything plugged in to the same Ethernet*hub* - one big collision domain, albeit using a slightly different method of dealing with collisions (Collision Detection in Wired, Collision Avoidance in WiFi).

Of course if you wanted real deterministic performance you'd want something like token ring or ARCNet :grin:

Edited by Mac
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Ive got a Virgin Supercrap... i mean superhub installed and the wifi is crap on it both in terms of reception and dropping connection randomly even though the latest firmware is supposed to have fixed a lot of the past issues. I have just turned it into a Modem and use my own trusty Belkin N1 vision router for my wifi needs.

Ive got my PS3 downstairs whereas my Superhub is in the bedroom and want to hard wire it up so have been looking at these Homeplug Ethernet adapter things.

Amazon.co.uk: homeplug ethernet adapters: Electronics & Photo

Anything i should take note of before purchasing a set?

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The important bit is switching, not being a hub, as this increases the number of collision domains. If you have a hub you have ONE BIG collision domain effectively. There's no intelligence on the hub - any piece of traffic gets sent to all ports. If you have a switch, each switch port is its own collision domain, with intelligent switching happening on the switch. If traffic on PORT 1 needs access to a MAC address on PORT 2 then and only then is traffic forwarded on to the other port (Well, unless it's multi-cast for multiple/all targets).

In general, switches will give a more consistent performance than a hub, but tend to be a little bit pricier.

A 4 port router could be switch OR a hub, depending on the model I think - with a switch being better.

What you don't have is a multiple of ports for bandwidth. So 12 port switch does not give you 12Gbps throughput really. It's port to port traffic you're interested in. Cheaper consumer hubs will have 1Gbps shared between all the switch ports, more expensive units up this backplane.

Realistically at a consumer level I can't imagine it would make a world of difference.

A single WiFi base-station is like having everything plugged in to the same Ethernet*hub* - one big collision domain, albeit using a slightly different method of dealing with collisions (Collision Detection in Wired, Collision Avoidance in WiFi).

Of course if you wanted real deterministic performance you'd want something like token ring or ARCNet :grin:

Yep switches make a big difference as does intelligent planning of your network topology.

Switches these days are not much more if any more expensive than hubs.

A 12 port switch does effectively give you 12Gps performance with multiple ports for bandwidth - that is the whole reason for using switches provided that the core switching speed is 12Gps or above. I always check this figure for the switch as some don't have the power to handle all ports being active at full speed at the same time.

There is a big difference between switches even at a consumer level.

With more homes having media players and devices that use UPNP the ability of the switch to pass IGMP frames and to deal corrrectly with multicasting becomes important.

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Anything i should take note of before purchasing a set?

Yes get the ones that allow you to plug a plug in rather than those which take up the socket and don't allow you to plug anything in.

I have used Netgear and Develo ones which just work and give very good throughput - anything from 100 - 192 mbits.

I did buy some Belkin 500 - 1GB ones - they did not work very well and also seemed to interfere with the Netgear/Develo ones.

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A 12 port switch does effectively give you 12Gps performance with multiple ports for bandwidth - that is the whole reason for using switches provided that the core switching speed is 12Gps or above. I always check this figure for the switch as some don't have the power to handle all ports being active at full speed at the same time.

Bold bit is what I was getting at.

Terminology, nothing more - having a switch with an adequate back-plane to cope with the profiled traffic from the ports is an important consideration, and one that historically wasn't often addressed on consumer switches. Having 8 x 1Gbps ports but only a 1Gbps back-plane for example is not ideal. Admittedly most modern switches address this, but it was often a gotchya for home/consumer switches.

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