How to Find Out the Speed of a Wireless Connection


Wireless connections offer considerable mobility and are ideal for people constantly on the move. However, wireless networks if not configured properly tend to be slower than the traditional wired connections. Maintaining an optimum wireless speed maximizes output. Therefore, knowing the actual speed of your wireless connection is very important. Here is how you can determine the speed of a wireless connection.

  • Look at service provider advertised speeds. Generally for residential connections, this is a combination of two bandwidths. The first bandwidth represents the download speed, while the second one indicates upload speed. Understand that the real connection speed will be much lower than the advertised speed.

  • Search for a suitable wireless connection speed determining software. Several quality applications are available online. Using search terms such as "tools for monitoring download speed" or "monitoring download speed" will generate a list of applications. Many of these applications are free.

  • Download and install any of the tools on your computer. These tools will monitor and report the download speed of your wireless Internet connection. Remember, wireless connection speed depends on several factors including the condition of wireless connection, signal performance, strength and range, distance between hosts and a wireless router and access points, placement of router and access points, router configuration and insufficient processing power of the PCs especially if old models are used.

  • Alternatively, download a large file. The download rate will be displayed. Monitor the rate as long as the download occurs to get a sense of the average download speed of your wireless Internet connection.

Tips & Warnings

  • Theoretical maximum bandwidth of 802.11b is 11 Mbps and that of 802.11g is 54 Mbps. In reality, the performance is usually 50 percent or even lower than the theoretical maximum.
  • To achieve optimum speed, ensure that there is no interference. Interference from other appliances working within the same range (2.4 GHz) as that of the wireless connection further affects the speed. The number and type of router antenna also have an impact on connection speed.
  • The type of security protocol used also affects the speed. WEP makes the network slower than WPA.
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