Why is the wireless part of my wireless router so slow?
January 30, 2012 6:58 AM   Subscribe

Do I need to buy a new router? (boring details of really slow wireless performance below the fold)

I have a Netgear wireless N router (~1 year old), and 40mbps dsl service. Problem is, lately I can't get close to those speeds over wireless, regardless of device. Using my desktop, which is on a wired connection, everything works well.

I've relocated my router to make sure it's positioning is optimal, I've updated the firmware, I've done a factory reset on it and started over from scratch, and I've analyzed neighboring networks and selected my wireless channel based on what my neighbors don't use.

What now? Buy a new router? Currently, using my iPad, my upload speeds are faster than my download speeds...frustrating!

Recommendations for a new router? No advanced home network here, just a couple of smart phones, an iPad and a couple of laptops that all beg for faster Internet!

Thanks for the advice!
posted by tkerugger to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
What device(s) are you using to access the wireless network?
posted by Runes at 7:09 AM on January 30, 2012

Turn everything off except one device. Put your router on 1, 6 or 11 (or auto if it supports it). Check your speed then report back.

There's an android app, WiFi Analyzer, that I quite like as a quick check of which bits of the spectrum are in use locally.
posted by Leon at 7:17 AM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I imagine you've checked this, but make sure you select WPA2-AES for the security mode in order to take advantage of the full N rates. Any other mode will slow you down to G.
posted by dosterm at 7:44 AM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

What speed are you getting? Wireless is slower than wired. Also, a lot of cheap wireless routers can't really handle that kind of speed.
posted by empath at 8:01 AM on January 30, 2012

Is your modem separate from your router, or the same device? If you have a model with a built-in router, and then have a wireless router after that, you could be double NAT'ed.
posted by slogger at 9:06 AM on January 30, 2012

Should have provided more details...

I used wifi analyzer to determine what channels the neighbors have for their networks, and chose channel 11 because everyone else was using 1 or 6.

I do use wpa2-aes as my security mode as all of my devices are compatible. Those device are: iPhone 4s, HTC EVO, iPad 2, and two Windows 7 laptops, plus a chumby, who is dying.

Re: speeds - a range of .54 to 2.31 Mbps using speedtest.net and the same server each time (Des Moines, IA), with isolated speeds of 38.7, 19.2, 10.4, 26.0 mbps sporadically. Upload speeds are always around 2mbps, and haven't really been an issue.

I have fiber into my home, so there is no separate modem that is user accessible, but rather an Ethernet port into my chosen room that as installed by my phone company into which i connect my router. With my desktop plugged into the router, I have never gotten a speedtest lower than 42mbps. (using the same server)

All of this leads me to believe that the router is the issue, but we have a newborn at home, so even simple tasks are far too complicated for my sleep deprived brain. I had originally suspected the wireless video baby monitor as the culprit, but turning it off yields no difference in speeds.

Thanks for the replies! Does my follow up information shed any light on the issue?

posted by tkerugger at 10:40 AM on January 30, 2012

Try channel 8. I was using channel 11 for a similar reason, and after a different problem my ISP told me 8 would work better in my area. It does. -shrug-
posted by caclwmr4 at 12:30 PM on January 30, 2012

My Netgear WNDR3700 exhibited flaky connectivity in the month before it ausgekrapt. If you get increasing DNS errors with time, DTMFA.
posted by jet_silver at 7:41 PM on January 30, 2012

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