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Slow Home UK WiFi Responsible for Almost One Third of Lost Broadband ISP Speed

Posted: 09th Mar, 2011 By: MarkJ
Wi-Fi Logolan uk home networkA new UK study from Epitiro, which specialises in the analysis of internet access quality, has found that wireless ( Wi-Fi ) Local Area Networks (LAN), such as the one you may have at home, can cause a 27% drop in internet download speed and increase latency (+10-20%), jitter and packet loss too.

The report claims that affected consumers may find online multiplayer gaming, VoIP telephony (Skype) and video streaming (BBC iPlayer etc.) to be unsatisfactory. Using Wi-Fi while downloading large files such as MP3s, videos and other programs will also take longer.

JP Curley, CTO Epitiro, said:

"Our data shows that connectivity over Wi-Fi degrades broadband performance considerably in typical circumstances. Consumers who are experiencing performance issues with Wi-Fi should take steps to improve their home environment or connect directly via wired ethernet."

This is by no means a new problem. Wireless network performance can be negatively impacted by all sorts of things; distance from your router, physical barriers (walls, doors), interference from other Wi-Fi networks using the same communication channel and even electrical devices, such as Microwave Ovens, are especially problematic.

Epitiro also discovered that web page download times are virtually the same using Wi-Fi or wired connections, indicating that consumer Quality of Experience (QoE) is not always directly related to speed. This is unsurprising because web pages are small and usually delivered over slower servers, thus having a faster connection makes little difference.

Thankfully there are some things that consumers can do to mitigate the problem. Switching the Wi-Fi channel, upgrading to the latest 802.11n spec wireless kit and better positioning of the device itself can all make a big difference. We recommend our 'Broadband Internet Connection Tips and Tweaks' article for related advice.

The above problem is likely to grow as the new generation of superfast broadband ISP services typically require a wired link to your computer for the best performance. Some older wireless kit simply can't deliver all of the benefits.

Epitiro's survey was carried out between November 2010 and February 2011. It monitored the performance of 14,001 panellists in UK, USA, Italy and Spain. Some 56% connected via Wi-Fi and 44% via a wired (Ethernet) connection.
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