What good is fast internet if you have slow Wi-Fi?

It seems like in the last few years, urban and suburban customers have really gotten upgrades to their internet experience. To be honest I don’t know how it’s happened. Maybe there’s a new way to use existing fiber. It doesn’t matter. It seems like all over the country in cities and towns, it’s now possible to get internet speeds of 500Mbps or higher. That’s a real improvement over a decade ago when most companies struggled to get more than 5Mbps from their connections. There’s only one problem…

Real speeds sometimes don’t match up.

You may be running a speed test and find that your real internet speed is something more like 50Mbps or even lower. Slow internet is a real problem in business, because it cuts into productivity. And at home, it’s as much of a problem because the last thing people need today is more stress in their lives. Waiting for things to load is pretty stressful, I’m sure you agree.

The biggest culprit tends to be your Wi-Fi. Even in businesses, wireless networking is incredibly common. Why? Workers used to do all their tasks at their desks. Today, laptops are more common, and we all want to take them with us into meetings and to other parts of the building. And so we tend not to bother connecting with a wire at our desks, even assuming their is one.

The real truth about Wi-Fi

A lot of networking equipment for home and office still uses Wi-Fi 4 (formerly known as 802.11n networking. The theoretical limit for this kind of Wi-Fi is 300Mbps, but that’s under strictly controlled conditions. In real-world tests, it’s far more common to get 20-30Mbps, especially if more than one person is connected.

The truth is that your router is probably overloaded. You have no idea how much faster your internet can be. If you don’t believe me, test the speed while connected to Wi-Fi and then test again after connecting with an Ethernet cable and rebooting. I think you’ll be surprised.

Another problem with office Wi-Fi is that there aren’t just dead spots, there are weak spots. Obviously we’ve all learned to avoid those areas where the internet drops out completely. But we’re likely to wait around for the internet to work as long as we’re consistently getting some result. Weak spots happen when you’re out at the fringes of where the Wi-Fi works, and they also happen when too many people are using one access point at once. Both of these things are probably making your home or office experience worse.

The solution

A lot of folks think they can just put in a solution that will work for them, by themselves. There’s no shortage of self-service solutions out there from major manufacturers. But are they really right for you? Unless you or your facilities team have all the equipment to measure wireless signal, there’s no way you’ll be able to map out a total solution. That’s why you should look to full-service solution provider. Signal Connect’s Business Enterprise Solutions team can help design a system to flood your home or office with strong wireless signals, both cellular and Wi-Fi. We have experts in the field and installation professionals with all the right tools.

Don’t take a chance… call the experts! The number is 888-233-7563 during East Coast business hours. If it’s after hours, fill out the form below and we’ll be happy to get back to you, usually within one business day.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.