Real-world wired vs wireless speeds

My mantra is, “Wireless should be your last choice, not your first choice.”

While at a client’s site last week, I needed to copy about 65 gigabytes of data from one networked PC to another. The source PC was running Windows XP and was connected to the lightly-loaded switched local area network (LAN) via 1 gigabit per second Ethernet. The destination PC was running Windows 7 and was connected to the same LAN via IEEE 802.11g Wi-Fi. I began the copy operation. Windows reported that the transfer speed was about 1.5 megabytes per second. It claimed that the entire copy operation would require about 17 hours.

I reconfigured the destination PC to use its 100 megabits per second Ethernet port instead of its wireless adapter and plugged in the network cable. The entire copy operation was completed within an hour, not 17 hours.

This is about average. I normally see at least a ten-to-one throughput advantage when comparing the real-world speed of a wired- versus a wireless- network connection.

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© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695


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