I pay for speed. Where is it?
February 5, 2021 10:38 AM   Subscribe

Why is my Chromebook download speed so slow?

I know there's no one concrete answer to this question, but I don't really even know where to start researching, so I figured I'd start here.

I just upgraded to Comcast gigabit internet, and to do so I bought a new modem (Motorola MB8600). I got it connected fine, and it works as I would expect, but.

I ran Ookla Speedtest on my Pixel 5 and got speeds of 532Mbps/42 Mbps, and my wife's iPhone 8 hit speeds of 600/41. Both of these are in the realm of what I would expect to see from my tier of internet (over wifi router, not ethernet).

When I run Speedtest on my Chromebook just now, though, I get a download speed of 81.02 and an upload speed of 15.16. It's an older machine (Toshiba Chromebook 2, which is hitting EOL, or at least end of updates, this year), so what I'm wondering is, are those numbers "normal" for what is essentially a five year old device, or is there something I can tweak/configure to improve those speeds?

Running the test on our similarly old (maybe a year older?) iPad shows speeds of 59/25, which would seem to confirm my suspicion that the older the device the worse it performs, but I would love to know if that suspicion is correct or if there's something I can do to boost speeds on older Chromebooks (the iPad's being donated in a week, so I'm not so worried about that).
posted by pdb to Technology (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm not familiar with Chromebook hardware and capabilities, but is it connecting to a 2.4GHz network instead of 5GHz? You're not going to get 600Mbps on 2.4GHz.
posted by primethyme at 10:42 AM on February 5, 2021 [3 favorites]

It's probably the wifi standard your Chromebook is using, there's a chart on this page for speeds vs wifi tech, how fast is wifi. You'll need to lookup your model chromebook to see what tech it has to compare against the chart.

the super fast internet speeds are meant to support multiple devices simultaneously, 60 mbit is more than fast enough for an individual device for almost every use case. Netflix 4k video streaming is only like 14mbit for example.
posted by TheAdamist at 10:50 AM on February 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

It is likely an older wifi modem in the Chromebook. If you have USB slots then you may be able to buy a USB wifi modem that'll plug into it and give you much faster wifi. The only wrinkle is that because it's a Chromebook I don't know how drivers work on it for new hardware.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:19 AM on February 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

Based on this teardown it should have wifi that's faster than 60mbit.

What's your router/access point setup look like? It's possible your Chromebook is using the slower network.
posted by gregr at 12:45 PM on February 5, 2021

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