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SHOCK research reveals Wi-Fi not as nippy as Ethernet

Shout at your hardware, not your ISP, advises study

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You'd never guess this. Connect to the internet in your home over a wireless connection and you won't get the same data throughput as you do if you connect using Ethernet.

Amazing, and thank providence we have Cardiff-based network testing company Epitiro to tell us these things.

It bases this staggering conclusion after monitoring the net connections of 14,000-odd punters in the UK, the US, Italy and Spain between November 2010 and February 2011.

Around 7840 of them use Wi-Fi - the rest use wires to connect to their routers.

The research revealed that, on average, 30 per cent of your possible download speed is lost to interference in the air - noise not present on Ethernet connections.

"Consumers may find on-line game play, VoIP telephony and video streaming unsatisfactory when using Wi-Fi while downloading large files such as MP3s, videos and programs will take longer," Epitiro said.

But web pages take as long to load one way or the other, it said. If sites take too long to load, complain about your ISP not your hardware.

Mind you, if your internet pipe is only 2Mb/s wide, it's not going to fill either a Wi-Fi link or an Ethernet one.

All this is, of course, well known to geeks like you and me. To be fair, Epitiro has less technically savvy punters in mind, many of whom simply leave their wireless routers in default mode. These days, at least, that usually includes a unique security code.

We've already implemented Epitiro's suggestions: move to a less crowded Wi-Fi channel, or as the company oddly puts it, "select a different modem channel".

The really savvy will have now abandoned the noisy 2.4GHz band in favour of largely empty 5GHz band. I have 15 Wi-Fi networks in the vicinity of my home, all of them in the 2.4GHz space.

Epitiro didn't mention that.

Or that you should make sure your computer's 802.11n Wi-Fi adaptor has multiple antennae. Alas even a 1x1 aerial array can be branded 802.11n, but you won't get the same performance or resilience as one with a 3x3 array. ®

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