Monday, January 10, 2022

You might want to think again if you presume wifi can match wired

Warning: Most of this post is about a moron trying to set up his Internet, so if you don't want to waste your time, just read the tl;dr version.

tl;dr: Use Ethernet unless Wifi is your only choice.

For the past 8 years my PC and laptop both ran on Wifi, until one day the landlord decided to kick me out of his house. After a while I found a better place and moved, but there was a problem: the Internet.

Before moving, I got my Wifi router in my room fetching all devices I have: a desktop PC, a laptop, a phone and a tablet. Since the router is wired from the landlord's router, the speed was decent enough, usually 40-60mbps, and there was only a few problems:

- Router sometimes lost Internet and kicked all devices for like 3 times a week to 3 times a day.

- Teleporting in Street Fighter V online matches was normal.

- Working from home through Windows Remote Desktop was a nightmare with up to 15 seconds delay for every action.

After I moved, things didn't go easy for my Internet. This is how it was at first:



And this is the new room's layout:

The distance from the PC to the landlord's router was like 5m, and there's a steel door in-between, making the signal a lot worse than standing next to the router (tested with my phone and got like 70mbps). Even with my old router acting as a repeater, I didn't get anything close to 20mbps.

After asking around, I decided to get a better router to see if I could get any better Internet. I ended up ordering an Asuck RT-AC68U since I heard it's very reliable.

The order took a few days to ship. After the router arrived, I placed it inside the room and used it as another Wifi repeater, and I did see a small improvement. Compared to my TPLink WR841N, the Asuck router provided stronger signal for my laptop (36-45mbps):

The PC meanwhile wasn't lucky:

Above was the best I could get for the PC. I tried various configurations and got even worse results, so I had to use my laptop as a Wifi hotspot for my PC.

After that, I tried moving the Asuck router outside, right next to the landlord's router, wired from it. The result was overall better but still not much:



At this point the only thing I hadn't tried was bringing the Asuck inside while having it wired to the landlord's router, so I decided to give it a try. Sure enough, I got like double the previous speed on my PC:

However, somehow with the router sitting too close to the laptop, it lost the signal from the router, so I decided to use an Ethernet cable on both the PC and the laptop, and this was what I got:

This was consistent between both machines, so I decided to turn off Wifi from both of them and just use Ethernet. Both of them only support 2.4GHz, so the max speed I could get on wifi for them was about 45mbps. My phone and tablet meanwhile can run on 5GHz, so they can reach 80mbps without problem.
Bonus: Last month I decided to replace the TPLink card on my PC with an Intel AC8260 card to see what I can do with Bluetooth. When I tested wifi 5GHz with the card, the boost was pretty impressive:

This, however, is still slower than Ethernet as expected:

In addition, I saw two massive improvements using Ethernet:
- No more lag in Windows Remote Desktop. Everything is butter smooth.
- SFV also runs way smoother.

- Always use wired if you use Remote Desktop or play fighting game.
- If wireless is your only choice, try to get 5GHz because 2.4GHz is too slow it's not even worth it.

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