Slow connections over wireless broadband service is a very common occurrence, but very few actually understand why and will feel like they’ve been swindled, as they’re service was probably advertised at faster speeds. This is very frustrating for all of us, regardless of how much we know on the subject, because every single one of us wants to get what we signed on to pay for, right? Of course!
When it comes to wireless connections, though, there are certainly a few things to understand about what your wireless provider can, and can’t, control; and there are even a few things that you can do on your end to improve your connection, some of which we’ve covered below. Alternatively, you can find out more about the iinet wireless internet plans at their website.
MEGABITS VS. MEGABYTES
Depending on your service, and how they choose to denote and measure speed, it will both advertised and later reported back to you as kilobits, kilobytes, megabits, or megabytes, at a per second rate; typically, you’ll be dealing with megabits and megabytes.
Now, the difference between those two—despite how similar they sound, look, and how similar their abbreviated version are—is substantial. A lot of confusion comes from the abbreviation: a megabit is denoted as Mb and a megabyte is denoted as MB. Many people will see 12 Mbps and think, ‘Wow! That’s really fast!’, but then will receive a report about their speed through a program of their choosing and it will say 1.5 MBps; at which point they think, ‘Wait! Where’s the other 10.5?!’.
There are actually 8 megabits in 1 megabyte (think metric scale), so if you try to measure your speed using a program, or happen to see what your speed is when you test your connection through some kind of media device (i.e. Google TVs and similar devices have a “Test Connection” feature) it’s easy to get confused.
It’s important to go ahead and understand that you’re not always going to get the speed that is advertised by a wireless broadband provider. This is something that I’m sure you would have loved to have known when you purchased the service, I’m sure, but typically these advertised speeds are only a healthy, educated, not quite best case scenario, guess.
What?! Why? How can they do that?!
Well, unfortunately, it’s simply not an exact science; there are a lot of external factors and undeterminable variables that come into play when you’re dealing with a wireless connection. These variables have a lot to do with overhead and interference that can’t be controlled or predicted, and vary greatly from location to location. Due to this, the connection that you get might be really different from the connection that the house 100ft down the road receives.
For example, let’s say that your router says it’s supposed to work at 54 megabits per second; the reality is that it will probably only deliver on half of that in a real world situation with real interference.
HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR SPEED
Download a program like NetGear to test your transfer speeds.
Use Google, or confer with a specialist if you don’t feel comfortable tinkering with your connection yourself, to see how you can go into your router’s web-configuration and optimize it.
Determine how many devices are using your network, or if you have any surrounding devices that may be causing interference (i.e. phones and sometimes even microwaves, can cause interference). Sometimes simply adjusting where your router is placed may improve connection speeds; this is especially true if you live in a basement apartment.
Find out what kind of wireless card you have; there have been many improvements to wireless cards, so if you’re operating on an old computer, you may have a wireless card that is either old or possibly isn’t terribly compatible with your router.
Determine what kind of encryption your wireless connection uses. If it’s WEP, you could be losing some connection speed, as they’ve been known to reduce speed by 5-10%; whereas WPA doesn’t take away quite as much.