How much will a 300 MBPS wireless router improve our home 1.5M DSL?
May 25, 2012 9:45 AM   Subscribe

How much will a 300 MBPS wireless router improve our home 1.5M DSL?

If we upgrade to 3-6M will our download and upload times be faster? About how much faster?
Also, is it possible for our existing wi-fi baby monitor to use the wi-fi I just installed?
Many thanks, hive-mind techies!
posted by ragtimepiano to Technology (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's doubtful that your current router is the bottleneck in your setup (it's likely the DSL service itself), so it probably won't help much, if at all. But the model of your current router might be helpful info for people to answer the question more thoroughly than I can.
posted by Grither at 9:48 AM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah, your router can easily handle much faster connections than what you have and it is likely not the bottleneck, unless it is a real crap piece of hardware.

If you upgrade from 1.5 MBps service to twice or four times that speed, will your service be faster? Probably, that's why people buy it. How much faster depends on the quality of the service between you and whatever site you're connecting to (for example, if you have a 6 Mbps service and the site you're connecting to also has a 6 Mbps pipe but is serving 10 users at the moment, you could get just a tenth of that). But in general, popular sites rent fat pipes and have no problem saturating residential DSL, at least in bursts (like Web surfing).
posted by kindall at 9:53 AM on May 25, 2012

Unless you are seeing actual speeds consistently below the 1.5 mbps (which, remember, translates into something like 150kilobytes per second), upgrading your router won't fix your download speeds.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:54 AM on May 25, 2012

The router is a Trendnet TEW-731BR. I currently have no real troub loading Netflix, youtube, and most other videos---vimeo does load slowly. I'm just looking to get faster downloads, and possibly to use the baby monitor with the wifi network?
posted by ragtimepiano at 9:55 AM on May 25, 2012

Also, regarding our cell phones: The wifi will enable service "off the books" of Tmobile when we use the browser? How about video text messages? How about just plain phone calls?
posted by ragtimepiano at 9:57 AM on May 25, 2012

Your internet bandwidth is limited by your DSL provider, your home router has no bearing on that. If Vimeo loads slower, either Vimeo is sending you video at a higher bitrate or your ISP doesn't have enough capacity towards them, but that's a problem internal to their network.
posted by Tobu at 10:00 AM on May 25, 2012

If your current DSL really is 1.5Mbps, upgrading it to a (real) 6Mbps could increase your download speeds by up to 4 times. Your router is almost certainly not the bottleneck here, because it can handle way more than than already.

The words "really" and "real" above are because what it advertised is often a maximum that you might get in ideal circumstances rather than what you'll get in in practice.

It's only "could increase" because the website that is sending stuff to you may not be sending it to you that fast anyway.

As for phones using intenet, whether that has anything to do with T-Mobile at all is only down to whether you are using your wi-fi or their phone network to connect to the internet. The exact nature of your wi-fi setup has nothing to do with that.
posted by philipy at 10:02 AM on May 25, 2012

nthing the not at all consensus. your home network would be running around 200 times faster (theoretically) than your Internet connection would be if you upgraded your wireless router. you need to upgrade your DSL, if you can, to get faster download/upload speeds from the Internet. how much faster it will be depends on what you upgrade to (so, if you have 1.5Mbit/256kbit down/up speed and upgrade to 3.0Mbit/512kbit, you'll be roughly twice as fast in either direction). (do keep in mind that your connection is only half of the equation here, too - if the site you're trying to get to is slow itself for whatever reason, you may not notice the benefits of the increased speed.)

setting up your cell phones on WiFi will allow you to browse the Internet using your home Internet connection rather than the one T-Mobile provides as part of your plan (and thus keeps you from using up whatever data you get as part of your plan). text messages do not qualify for this. T-Mobile is a rarity in that some of their phones do actually support voice calls over WiFi if you have that feature enabled and (I believe) if you pay for that service. you need to talk to T-Mobile to see if you have that, though. the technology is called UMA, I believe. if memory serves, they still charge you minutes for using UMA, though definitely check that out with T-Mobile.
posted by mrg at 10:04 AM on May 25, 2012

Your current wireless router most likely uses the 802.11g standard which is capable of speeds up to 54Mbps, and will very rarely drop below 11Mbps unless you are in an area with many other networks (causing interference with your own). Therefore your 1.5Mbps connection speed has pretty much zero chance of supplying data to your router faster than the router is able to distribute it to your computers. A better router will only widen the gap.

So, as others have said, better DSL will improve your experience, not a better router.
posted by fearnothing at 10:08 AM on May 25, 2012

Whoops, should've read the additional questions too. It kind of sounds like your current router may not be a wireless one. If you connect over an ethernet cable, your computer-to-router connection is 100Mbps so you'll still only get better internet experience if you upgrade the DSL speed.

Regarding cell phones: yes, if you have a phone with wifi and connect it to a wireless router you will not use any of your cellular data limit when browsing the internet, but multimedia messages will go via the cell network still (though certain apps like WhatsApp may be able to route a different way, not sure). Phone calls will always go through the cellular network unless you use a Voice Over IP app like Skype.

There may be some baby monitors which use a normal WiFi network to transmit their signal but the ones I know about use a different protocol and slightly different wavelength.
posted by fearnothing at 10:18 AM on May 25, 2012

It is likely that your WiFi baby monitor will work, however it is probably on an older WiFi standard, such as 802.11g, and is not even capable of using the new router at anywhere near its top speed. Really, the only difference you'll see is faster transfers if you're doing network backups and you also have 802.11n on the computers. To put the speed in context, a 1080p Netflix stream is about 5Mbps (.5 megabytes per second) so even 802.11g, which maxes out at 54 Mbps, is not near to being a problem, even though the actual speed is always less than the theoretical.
posted by wnissen at 12:46 PM on May 25, 2012

Is your baby monitor a 2.4G monitor or a wifi monitor? The ISM spectrum allows pretty much anything to use 2.4 unlicensed, which actually creates interference for your wifi devices.

So, if you are typing in the wireless network name and password on your baby monitor, then the monitor will play nicely with your wifi connections, but if your monitor is only 2.4g (not wi-fi) it could be interfering with your wifi network.
posted by roboton666 at 2:59 PM on May 25, 2012

I recently switched from 1.5Mbps DSL to 5Mbps. With the old service, I wouldwould have to wait for Vimeo and Youtube high def to buffer. Now both are smooth.

It's your service, not your router.
posted by zippy at 10:38 PM on May 25, 2012

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