I upgraded to 1 Gbps fiber internet connection and only get 300 Mbps on Wi-Fi.

I am in IT and consider myself somewhat tech savvy. But Wi-Fi had always been something that was a given and I never paid much thought to it. Without going into sepia colored dial-up connection memories, I mostly had internet from Cable companies in the recent past. They would rent me a modem and I would eventually replace it with my own modem to do away with the rent. They would raise the price, I would threaten them to move to DSL, we would agree on a 12 month contract for a reduced price. Speed would mostly be around 30–50 Mbps down, something like 5–10 Mbps up. I would buy some generic router (read TP Link, Linksys, a one time splurge on an Apple Airport), hard wire it to the laptop, set it up through the default IP address and be done with it. With those speeds it didn’t really matter. I didn’t care if I was on 2.4 Ghz or 5Ghz bands, router/AP who cares, it’s all the same. No smart devices, the occasional YouTube , just about started streaming Netflix 4–5 years ago, we actually had to be in office or would make some VOIP calls from home. Life was simple.

About 3 years ago we moved 800 miles into our current new-build home which only had AT&T Fiber. That was my introduction to glorious symmetric 100 Mbps internet. The AT&T provided gateway/router (Arris BGW210–700) also had Wi-Fi, but it would disconnect quite frequently. So out came the trusty TP Link Archer C1900 for Wi-Fi duty. Until now I had only used modems with my own router, so this was different. Quick research showed I should be putting it in AP mode to work with an existing router. Cool, we had reliable Wi-Fi once again. But there was more of streaming, gaming, one of us working from home etc. the home network still held on fine with the occasional buffering and what not.

Then COVID happened last year, even with everyone at home, the network still held fine, but I figured we could do better. I realized I could get 1 Gbps symmetric for lesser than our 100 Mbps internet service from AT&T. Wow, it was a no brainer, so I got it changed, quickly. But nothing changed on the Wi-Fi front, I was still getting 200 to 100 Mbps, what gives. Oh sure the TP Link router had to go, it was old and not up to speed one thought. After a week’s research, I suddenly knew so many things, I came to know that the TP Link was a Wave 1 Wi-Fi 5 router, there was Wave 2 and now the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard. We also had 2 phones that supported Wi-Fi 6. I went ahead and bought a Linksys MX5 Velop router, it was Wi-Fi 6 a.k.a AX router with mesh capabilities. Now we are cooking with fire, sure enough our Wi-Fi 6 phones were pulling 700–600 Mbps at close quarters. Can we get a 800 sure, sometimes. But it quickly dropped to 300–500 Mbps as we moved further away. Our laptops and tablets were still only pulling 200–300 Mbps. Surely there was a misconfiguration somewhere. After trying everything I was ready to give up, I could not sleep or eat well. First world problems and all that. Then I came across this gem. It all made sense, how did I miss this memo, being in IT and all that. Wi-Fi is a 2 way street, you can have a brand spanking new 4x4 stream router/AP, but it all boils down to the clients. Also the manufacturers exacerbate it by putting utopian numbers, read AC 3000, AX4200 etc. on their equipment.

Everyday I see a post on reddit with some lost soul wondering why they can’t get near Gig speeds on Wi-Fi after upgrading to Gigabit internet, what would they have to tweak or is there a better ‘router’ they could upgrade to, when they just bought this router last year. In these times it’s always good for users to educate themselves and understand the limitations of Wi-Fi vs a good wired connection, however unappealing it may sound. For all stationary and bandwidth hungry devices: Smart TVs, game consoles, PCs, media boxes etc. hard wire them. Remember you just need 25 Mbps to stream a 4K video, so it’s more important to have a low latency connection. It’s nice to have a 1 Gig internet connection, but you will still do fine with a 100–500Mbps connection. But what do I do with such a fat pipe, spread the Wi-Fi love over multiple good quality wired (minimum Wave 2 Wi-Fi 5) access points. This will give you more range and load balance your devices. If you don’t really need the range just try with a single centrally located WiFi router or access point to see if it covers your house, keep it simple. Ebay is also a good source for some good quality, flashable slightly older enterprise gear, Ruckus for example, if you are technically inclined. Don’t head over to reddit and let some fan boy lead you into thinking you need multiple devices: sure all you need is an EdgeRouter-X, a UDM, a USG, cloud key and a couple of AC-Lites/Nano/Flex HDs. Really, first hear out the OP’s requirement and technical prowess.

IT, geek, application developer, tinker, Java, Spring

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store