Is my Asus AC56 USB wireless adapter fundamentally limiting my download speeds?

oxeimon

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Apr 17, 2014
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I'm in Montreal, and recently had a 300 Mbps Fiber modem installed.

I currently am connecting to it via three devices:

1. a 2017 Macbook Pro Retina
2. an iPhone 8
3. a desktop PC using a USB Asus wireless adapter model #USB-AC56

The modem's internal speedtest is consistently around 460 Mbps download and 330 Mbps upload.

The iphone consistently gets 400+ Mbps download, and ~300 Mbps upload.

The macbook pro is a bit less consistent but is on average somewhat slower than the iphone

The Asus AC56 wireless adapter on the other hand gets a comparably abysmal < 180 Mbps download and around 200 Mbps upload. This is even after trying out a variety of recent drivers and running speedtest three times on each driver (the numbers I gave are from the best driver).

To eliminate questions of interference I even put the macbook/iphone "behind" the computer (relative to the modem) when running their tests, though they seem to both get consistent results no matter where I am in the apartment.

Is this essentially what I should expect? Is the hardware in the AC56 adapter bottlenecking my desktop's connection? If so, is there another wireless adapter I should consider getting to achieve those 400/300 Mbps speeds?
 
Have you tried a different USB port, maybe on the front of the case, for example? It's possible that the metal of the case could be interfering with the signal. Your phone's wireless antenna is likely different from the one on the adapter, so it working behind your PC might not necessarily mean much.

Also, it's not plugged into a USB 2.0 port is it? A USB 3.0 port will likely be blue inside (or otherwise indicate "superspeed" or something of the sort) which is what you want, while USB 2.0 ports will be black inside. USB 2.0 is likely to top out around that level.

Or, if the PC isn't too far from your wireless router, it might be worth just running an ethernet cable to it, which should provide a more stable connection that's less prone to interference from other devices, neighbor's networks, and so on. Make sure the PC supports gigabit ethernet, of course, though most recent ones should.
 
Maybe you should look though this site test results so you have a more reasonable expectation as to what to expect from wifi.

https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/tools/charts/router/bar/119-5-ghz-profile-dn/35?see=AVG

These are router tests but they are talking to nic cards that use 4 antenna which is very rare. The only way you are getting 400mbps on the iphone is if you are sitting right on top of the router. That is a extremely high number.

It is not surprising that you get less than 200mbps on a card that has the "fake" numbers of 1200. Just look though the router charts and find routers that are rated at 1200 and you will see you are actually getting very good numbers.

Not sure what to recommend most people would love to get 180mbps on wifi.

 

oxeimon

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Apr 17, 2014
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Alright it turns out cash was the key to higher internet speeds.

I just upgraded to the $150 CAD Asus PCE-AC88 (a PCI-E wireless adapter) and I'm getting speeds as high as my iphone (~400 Mbps consistently). Plus it frees up a usb slot.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions!
 

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