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Level 3: Gumshoe

Why is my PC's wifi slower than my apple mobile devices

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I have installed a TP-Link TL-WN881ND wireless PCI Express Adapter on my new desktop. I am disappointed that while my iphone and ipad both have a DL speed of around 45Mbps, my PC can only achieve around 15-20Mbps at the same location within my house. Why are my mobile devices can have more than double the DL speed without having antenna hanging out than my PC using wireless wifi adapter? Is it because the wireless card's antenna having poor reception? If so, should I buy another wireless adapter that has a better quality and which one would you recommend?

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Level 24: Supreme Being
Level 24: Supreme Being
Accepted Solution

Re: Why is my PC's wifi slower than my apple mobile devices

There are a few things you could try.

  1. Open device manager on the pc, expand the network adaptors and open the Wifi adapter. and select advanced tab. Make sure mode is set to 802.11n and channel width is set to auto.
  2. On the modem you could try changing the 2.4 GHz WiFi channel.
  3. Turn of band steering in modem 2.4 GHz wifi settings this separates the two wifi bands -5G is added to the end of the 5GHz wifi band.

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Level 16: Special Agent
Level 16: Special Agent
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Re: Why is my PC's wifi slower than my apple mobile devices

@sma888  - It may sound strange, but have you tried one antenna upright and the second one horizontal to see if any improvement in speed occurs.

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12 REPLIES 12
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Level 24: Supreme Being
Level 24: Supreme Being

Re: Why is my PC's wifi slower than my apple mobile devices

The TP-Link TL-WN881ND card only supports the 2.4 GHz WiFi band. The 5 GHz WiFi band is much faster at locations that are close to the modem. A 2.4 GHz card should still be able to achieve beter than 20 Mbps. There might be so e network software on the PC limiting the speed. What speed do you get if the PC is connected by Ethernet cable.

If you have one of the later Telstra Gateway the speed of the WiFi link for each device is djsplayed on the home page. This speed is the maximum speed of the WiFi link between the modem and the device.

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Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Why is my PC's wifi slower than my apple mobile devices

Thanks cf4 for your prompt assistance. I have two mini ipad that runs on 2.4 GHz and one iphone runs on 5 GHz and all achieving 40-46 Mbps DL speed. I have another PC which runs on 2.4 GHz but is about 8 feet closer to the router and is getting 35-45 Mbps. Initially, I connected my new PC to the router via an Ethernet cable and was getting constantly around 45 Mbps. But since my router is on down stair while my PC is on up stair, it would be very messy to have an cable running between the two devices. My preferred option is to achieve a good speed using Wifi. My first change was to move my PC inside the room from the far end to just behind the door, that would bring the PC 15 feet closer to the router. The speed immediately jumped from around 10 to 15-20. That is a good improvement but not good enough. I have a look at the home page on my Telstra smart modem as you suggested, it shows Link speed: 39Mbps where all my other devices showing range from 65 to 300 Mbps. My other PC which is closer to the router shows 117 Mbps. So what are my options if I go with wireless? I would be satisfy if I can bring the speed to 30+ Mbps. 

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Level 24: Supreme Being
Level 24: Supreme Being
Accepted Solution

Re: Why is my PC's wifi slower than my apple mobile devices

There are a few things you could try.

  1. Open device manager on the pc, expand the network adaptors and open the Wifi adapter. and select advanced tab. Make sure mode is set to 802.11n and channel width is set to auto.
  2. On the modem you could try changing the 2.4 GHz WiFi channel.
  3. Turn of band steering in modem 2.4 GHz wifi settings this separates the two wifi bands -5G is added to the end of the 5GHz wifi band.

View solution in original post

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Level 16: Special Agent
Level 16: Special Agent
Accepted Solution

Re: Why is my PC's wifi slower than my apple mobile devices

@sma888  - It may sound strange, but have you tried one antenna upright and the second one horizontal to see if any improvement in speed occurs.

View solution in original post

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Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Why is my PC's wifi slower than my apple mobile devices

Thanks for your suggestion. I have made the following changes:

1) change the channel from 6 to 1 as suggested by cf4

2) move one of the tp-link adapter's antenna from upright to horizontal

I am now getting 20-27 Mbps which is pretty good speed. I will see if I will have this speed during the evening which is the peak hours. If the speed is above 20 Mbps during the evening, that definitely proves the above two changes really did fix the problem. I shall update the forum once I have the result.

 

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Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Why is my PC's wifi slower than my apple mobile devices

1. I followed your instruction and under the advance tab, it shows 

Bandwidth - 20_40MHz

Beacon interval  - 100

Preamble mode - Short & Long

Wireless mode - Auto, other options are IEEE 802.11b and IEEE 802.11 b/g

surprise there is no 802.11n option, is this the actual cause of the problem?

2. I change the channel from 6 to 1 and there seems to be an improvement to the speed. The Link speed has been increased from 39 to 52 Mbps, getting DL speed of 25-33 Mbps during the day and 17-20 Mbps after 7pm.

3. I turn off the band steering in 2.4GHz wifi setting, but I notice in any obvious change in DL speed.

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Level 24: Supreme Being
Level 24: Supreme Being

Re: Why is my PC's wifi slower than my apple mobile devices

Yes the Wireless mode could be the cause of the problem.as the adapter seems to be connecting to the modem using 802.11g mode which has a maximum link speed of 54 Mbps.

 

You could try downloading the latest driver from here and updating the driver on your pc.

Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Why is my PC's wifi slower than my apple mobile devices

Thanks for your driver. I installed the driver. It now shows 10 options instead of 4. But 802.n is still not showing in Wireless mode, only b/g is available. I run the speed test and is showing 23-29 Mbps 7 times out of 9 tests. This is a big improvement compared to my usual 15Mbps during the evening. If I can get the 802.n to work, I may be able to bring it over the 30+ Mbps. So why is 802.n not available in this adapter? it said Wireless N PCI Express adapter which gives me an impression that it runs on  802.n protocol. 

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Level 24: Supreme Being
Level 24: Supreme Being

Re: Why is my PC's wifi slower than my apple mobile devices

In auto it might the mode might be 802.11 b/g/n the card automatically adjusting to the mode supported by modem. What are the other options available? What link speed is displayed on modem's home page?

 

The protocol the adapter is using can be checked by going to the WiFi properties page of the PC (Start > Settings > Network & Internet > WiFi > SSID > Protocol)

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Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Why is my PC's wifi slower than my apple mobile devices

The home page is displaying a Link speed of 52 Mbps.

Protocol shows under SSID is Wi-Fi 4(802.11n).

So in fact the TP-Link wireless adapter is using 802.11n protocol.

This is a disappointment with this adapter when the maximum speed TP-Link claim is 300 Mbps.

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Level 16: Special Agent
Level 16: Special Agent

Re: Why is my PC's wifi slower than my apple mobile devices

Hi - good to see some improvement towards your higher expected speed connectivity. I think you, with cf4's guidance, have cranked up that card to it optimum performance for your environment and it may vary in either direction over time. The maximum speed rating on Wi-Fi devices is rarely achieved due to many factors that influence the connection. Your speeds are reasonable for a 2.4 Ghz Wi-Fi device that costs $20. Signal strength and stability of connection are just as important as speed.

 

The fine print on TP-Link's disclaimer is usual for all manufacturers -

 

 *Maximum wireless signal rates are the physical rates derived from IEEE Standard 802.11 specifications. Actual wireless data throughput and wireless coverage are not guaranteed and will vary as a result of 1) environmental factors, including building materials, physical objects, and obstacles, 2) network conditions, including local interference, volume and density of traffic, product location, network complexity, and network overhead, and 3) AP limitations, including rated performance, location, connection quality, and AP condition.

 

If you are interested to know about the relationship between speed and the various technical factors that contribute to variable outcomes, this Wikipedia link is good article to read. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_802.11n-2009 

 

In the table section for two spatial streams, MCS Index 8-15 shows you the different expected speed outcomes that the Wi-Fi chip can deliver using various modulation types, coding rates, channel widths and Guard Intervals. You may be able to correlate what modes are actually being used at the time of your speed results.  Given 2.4 Ghz Wi-Fi has only three non overlapping channels, I have found it best to let the device decide its settings and leave most settings on default or AUTO.  

 

Note the speeds vary from 13 Mbps to a very theoretical maximum of 300 Mbps; in theory, the max figure can only be achieved in an isolated controlled laboratory environment close to the access point with no other devices in play.

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Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Why is my PC's wifi slower than my apple mobile devices

First of all, I like to thank you and cf4 in assisting me in this exercise. The wifi speed is now consistently running between the 18-25 Mbps range. That is a good improvement compared to the 15-20 Mbps range I used to have. I understand the 300 Mbps is a theoretical speed. With the current speed, it is more than adequate for browsing the internet, watching video on Youtube or movies on Netflix. But as technology grow, there will be growing demand for faster wifi speed by new Apps or hardware appliances such as wireless IP cameras. I will continue to do some research and if I find there are better wifi adapter on the market that is able to provide faster wifi speed, I will consider an upgrade.

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