May 2, 2020
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Hi,

I have a 1.5Gbps internet connection through my ISP Bell. I currently have the Bell Home Hub 3000 which is a tri-band AC router/modem. The internal speedtest shows the full 1.5Gbps entering the router. When I plug in an ethernet to the router, I receive speeds near 1 Gigabit (which makes sense due to the speed limitations of the LAN ports). When I connect over wireless (on the 5G spectrum) my speeds vary between 250Mbps and 350Mbps. No matter what settings I change I cannot get my wireless speeds to come close to what is theoretically possible. Being an AC router, I should at least be able to get 1 Gigabit speeds wirelessly. I am testing the speeds using a Wifi 6 Laptop, a Wifi 6 phone, and 2 other AC wireless devices.

Troubleshooting steps I have tried:
  • Resetting the router
  • Disabling the 2.4G spectrum (which actually resulted in 50Mbps faster 5G speeds)
  • Changing the channel to one with no devices on it
  • Contacting my ISP
After no success, I purchased an AX6000 Netgear Nighthawk AX8 router. Using this router I was able to consistently get wireless speeds in the 300Mbps to 400Mbps range, about 50Mbps faster than through my ISP's router. Still not getting near the speeds I would like I decided to return the router and purchase a different one. (I was going to attempt WAN aggregation but didn't realize I would need the netgear modem. Since I am receiving my internet services through fiber, that modem is not an option for me).

The new router I purchased is a TP-Link Archer AX6000 router. This router performed with speeds equivalent to my ISP's router over wireless. I contacted TP-Link and they had no clue how to resolve this issue. They had me change the channels and the channel widths but for the most part my speeds stayed consistently in the 250Mbps to 350Mbps range. I still currently have this router and would like to hopefully keep it if I can figure out how to get full speeds over the 5G band.

Both routers I purchased had internal speedtests of near a Gigabit meaning that the issue is with speed over wireless, not wired.

Does anyone know how I may be able to get full speeds over wireless, or if this is even possible?
 
Wireless speeds are highly dependent on other signals in the airwaves around you. Since multiple routers are essentially getting the same results (all of which would be normally capable of far faster speeds), I would come to the conclusion that you have something in the airwaves that prevents you from getting full speeds.
 
May 2, 2020
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Wireless speeds are highly dependent on other signals in the airwaves around you. Since multiple routers are essentially getting the same results (all of which would be normally capable of far faster speeds), I would come to the conclusion that you have something in the airwaves that prevents you from getting full speeds.
If I'm using a clear channel, shouldn't that avoid network interference though? And even when I stand 2 ft from the router, shouldn't I be getting much faster wireless speeds even if there is other networks causing interference?
 
If I'm using a clear channel, shouldn't that avoid network interference though? And even when I stand 2 ft from the router, shouldn't I be getting much faster wireless speeds even if there is other networks causing interference?
No, because you cannot see the other signals in the air in that wavelength. And not necessarily. I used to live in an apartment complex that was new when we moved it so we didn't have neighbors. Our Internet speed was 150/25 and I had no problem getting it anywhere in our apartment from our tplink archer c5 on 2.4ghz or 5ghz. As tenants moved in and the number of access points around us grew to over 100 ssids, we had neighbors signals stronger than our own in our own apartment. No matter what we did, our speeds were never the same--2.4ghz was non-existant and 5ghz dropped to less than 70Mbps. After the wife told me how angry she was at this, the only solution I found was to move to a faster 300/25 plan which brought our 5ghz back to 150Mbps, but our 2.4ghz was still never usable again. This can be the reality of wireless and why it is not dependable.
 
802.11ax pretty much guarantees you get massive interference. It is attempting to use the entire radio bandwidth. If anyone anywhere around you even thinks to use the 5g band they have to interfere.

It may also be dropping back to 802.11ac if it detect lots of interference or it is attempting to run on the weather radar bands. You should be able to see the encoding (mcs) values in the status on the wifi nic

If you get over 300mbps that is actually pretty good.

It does sound like the solution is coming "soon". The fcc just in the last couple weeks approved the 6g radio bands. There is enough room to run 4 non overlapping 160mhz bands. Of course the bad news is all the current equipment wifi 6 is now obsolete. The new standard they are calling wifi 6e and since it only a frequency change it should get to market much faster than 802.11ax (wifi6).
 
May 2, 2020
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802.11ax pretty much guarantees you get massive interference. It is attempting to use the entire radio bandwidth. If anyone anywhere around you even thinks to use the 5g band they have to interfere.

It may also be dropping back to 802.11ac if it detect lots of interference or it is attempting to run on the weather radar bands. You should be able to see the encoding (mcs) values in the status on the wifi nic

If you get over 300mbps that is actually pretty good.

It does sound like the solution is coming "soon". The fcc just in the last couple weeks approved the 6g radio bands. There is enough room to run 4 non overlapping 160mhz bands. Of course the bad news is all the current equipment wifi 6 is now obsolete. The new standard they are calling wifi 6e and since it only a frequency change it should get to market much faster than 802.11ax (wifi6).
I got the same speeds though when I use the ISP's router which is only 802.11ac.
I know 300Mbps is far from slow, but since I'm technically paying for 1500Mbps, I'd like to try and get as much of that speed as possible over wireless. Especially since even over wired I can't get faster than 1000Mbps.
 
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No, because you cannot see the other signals in the air in that wavelength. And not necessarily. I used to live in an apartment complex that was new when we moved it so we didn't have neighbors. Our Internet speed was 150/25 and I had no problem getting it anywhere in our apartment from our tplink archer c5 on 2.4ghz or 5ghz. As tenants moved in and the number of access points around us grew to over 100 ssids, we had neighbors signals stronger than our own in our own apartment. No matter what we did, our speeds were never the same--2.4ghz was non-existant and 5ghz dropped to less than 70Mbps. After the wife told me how angry she was at this, the only solution I found was to move to a faster 300/25 plan which brought our 5ghz back to 150Mbps, but our 2.4ghz was still never usable again. This can be the reality of wireless and why it is not dependable.
As an experiment I build a quick basic faraday cage. Using a cardboard box coated in 3-4 layers of aluminum foil. And then placing aluminum foil under the box. With two smartphones on airplane mode with wifi enables underneath the box with the router. One phone is connected to the router within the faraday cage. The other phone is connected to the ISP's router which is at the other end of my home. I hit the test buttons quickly and covered the devices with the box. The phone connected to the network outside the box only got 35Mbps (normally it's around 350Mbps, so most of the connections outside the box were unable to get inside. The other phone inside the box connected to the router that was also under the box only got 335Mbps, which is within my usually range. Shoudln't this little experiement have theoretically resulted in faster speeds as I have literally prevent most other external signals from interfering with my wireless signals?
 
As an experiment I build a quick basic faraday cage. Using a cardboard box coated in 3-4 layers of aluminum foil. And then placing aluminum foil under the box. With two smartphones on airplane mode with wifi enables underneath the box with the router. One phone is connected to the router within the faraday cage. The other phone is connected to the ISP's router which is at the other end of my home. I hit the test buttons quickly and covered the devices with the box. The phone connected to the network outside the box only got 35Mbps (normally it's around 350Mbps, so most of the connections outside the box were unable to get inside. The other phone inside the box connected to the router that was also under the box only got 335Mbps, which is within my usually range. Shoudln't this little experiement have theoretically resulted in faster speeds as I have literally prevent most other external signals from interfering with my wireless signals?
Nice! Yes, your experiment should in theory have made a difference, assuming that the 'cage' was working on all potential interference including what is potentially causing this issue.

Let's step back a second. What are you using to test the bandwidth? Is it just an Internet speed test? Is there a way to use iperf to test the real lan bandwdith?
 
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Nice! Yes, your experiment should in theory have made a difference, assuming that the 'cage' was working on all potential interference including what is potentially causing this issue.

Let's step back a second. What are you using to test the bandwidth? Is it just an Internet speed test? Is there a way to use iperf to test the real lan bandwdith?
I have only run speedtests using speedtest.net

Using the router login page, I ran a speedtest to ensure the router was receiving full speed. Through ethernet connected to the router and to a laptop, I was able to get full speeds when I ran a speedtest. And then over wireless that's where I get the reduced speeds.

Not exactly sure what iperf actually is and how to use it to test bandwidth. Can I use that to test wireless bandwidth?
 
Reactions: SamirD
May 2, 2020
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I have only run speedtests using speedtest.net

Using the router login page, I ran a speedtest to ensure the router was receiving full speed. Through ethernet connected to the router and to a laptop, I was able to get full speeds when I ran a speedtest. And then over wireless that's where I get the reduced speeds.

Not exactly sure what iperf actually is and how to use it to test bandwidth. Can I use that to test wireless bandwidth?
I did some research and downloaded the iperf3 utility on two laptops, and then connected them both to the TP-Link router. I ran an iperf3 server on one and connected to the other. The speed iperf gave me was only 179Mbps.
 

DeauteratedDog

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Dec 11, 2013
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There are thee variables that determine the over-the-air data rate for 802.11ac and 802.11ax OFDM clients: the channel width (20, 40, 80, or 160 MHz) the number of spatial streams (1 through 8), and the modulation rate (BPSK - 1024QAM, basically the # of bits per symbol).

Your router supports channel widths up to 160 MHz (you didn't say how it was configured), 4 spatial streams, and 1024QAM, for a maximum raw over the air data rate of 4804 Mbits/Sec.

Your clients almost certainly don't support 4 streams, probably 1 or 2, so that maximum over the air data rate goes to 1201 (1 stream) or 2402 (2 streams)Mb/s. Nobody has much experience with 1024QAM yet, but even 256QAM with 802.11ac is tough to consistently hit, so let's say you spend a lot of time in 64QAM mode. Back to the charts and your over the air speeds are 721 or 1442 Mbps. There is a lot of overhead in Wi-Fi too, let's say 60% efficient, so 430 or 865 Mbps, real world throughput. Throw in a few retrys and that is about where you are if your client devices are single stream. If they are two stream, then you might not be using 160 MHz channels.
 
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There are thee variables that determine the over-the-air data rate for 802.11ac and 802.11ax OFDM clients: the channel width (20, 40, 80, or 160 MHz) the number of spatial streams (1 through 8), and the modulation rate (BPSK - 1024QAM, basically the # of bits per symbol).

Your router supports channel widths up to 160 MHz (you didn't say how it was configured), 4 spatial streams, and 1024QAM, for a maximum raw over the air data rate of 4804 Mbits/Sec.

Your clients almost certainly don't support 4 streams, probably 1 or 2, so that maximum over the air data rate goes to 1201 (1 stream) or 2402 (2 streams)Mb/s. Nobody has much experience with 1024QAM yet, but even 256QAM with 802.11ac is tough to consistently hit, so let's say you spend a lot of time in 64QAM mode. Back to the charts and your over the air speeds are 721 or 1442 Mbps. There is a lot of overhead in Wi-Fi too, let's say 60% efficient, so 430 or 865 Mbps, real world throughput. Throw in a few retrys and that is about where you are if your client devices are single stream. If they are two stream, then you might not be using 160 MHz channels.
So I contacted Apple (I have an iPhone 11 Pro Max) and it turns out that my phone supports 1024QAM. So being a wifi 6 device supporting 1024 QAM, and being within a few meters with clear line of sight to the router, on an open 5G channel with 160Mhz channel width, shouldn't I theoretically be getting much faster speeds than just 350Mbps?
 

DeauteratedDog

Honorable
Dec 11, 2013
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More to the point, 2x2 MIMO, that is 2 spatial streams.

It does sound like your network is under-performing, near-gigabit is not unreasonable under those conditions.

Have you verified that the router is using a 160 MHz wide channel?
Do you have a lot of neighbors (apartment building, town houses, etc)?
 
So I contacted Apple (I have an iPhone 11 Pro Max) and it turns out that my phone supports 1024QAM. So being a wifi 6 device supporting 1024 QAM, and being within a few meters with clear line of sight to the router, on an open 5G channel with 160Mhz channel width, shouldn't I theoretically be getting much faster speeds than just 350Mbps?
You should. Can you try this in your 'faraday cage'?
 
How many 802.11ax devices do you have. It could be that the iphone does not have the cpu power to run any faster. Speedtest is web based so it has a lot of overhead, I think some of the servers actually run https which has the encryption overhead also.

When you look at what a phone is designed for there is little need for huge data transfers because it has little space to store large amounts of data.

Do either of your laptops have 802.11ax cards.

Note I have seen quite a few other people complain about 802.11ax speeds. I have been waiting to see if this is common issue and we are victims of wifi industry marketing lies again and how much your average person should expect from this technology. I learned my lesson back in the 802.11n "draft" days to not chase new technology.

Make sure you phone has the latest patches. The phone was manufacture more than 6 months before the 802.11ax standard was set. Unlike the 802.11n draft stuff it appears software updates should be all it takes.
 
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More to the point, 2x2 MIMO, that is 2 spatial streams.

It does sound like your network is under-performing, near-gigabit is not unreasonable under those conditions.

Have you verified that the router is using a 160 MHz wide channel?
Do you have a lot of neighbors (apartment building, town houses, etc)?
I am on channel 36 with a channel width of 160Mhz. I confirmed that in the settings, and used the killer control panel to verify.

There are a lot of networks my devices pickup within the area, but the channel I am using (36) has no one broadcasting on it other than myself.
 
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You should. Can you try this in your 'faraday cage'?
I did try testing speeds in my makeshift faraday cage (which blocked about 9/10ths of the closest wireless network from getting through the box). But the speeds were nearly the same with no real change.

After performing the test again with tweaked settings (channel 36, width 160Mhz) and on my laptop not iPhone (has a killer ax chip inside), i get the following speeds: 414Mbps download

That speed is great, but not nearly as high as I would still like it to be
 
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How many 802.11ax devices do you have. It could be that the iphone does not have the cpu power to run any faster. Speedtest is web based so it has a lot of overhead, I think some of the servers actually run https which has the encryption overhead also.

When you look at what a phone is designed for there is little need for huge data transfers because it has little space to store large amounts of data.

Do either of your laptops have 802.11ax cards.

Note I have seen quite a few other people complain about 802.11ax speeds. I have been waiting to see if this is common issue and we are victims of wifi industry marketing lies again and how much your average person should expect from this technology. I learned my lesson back in the 802.11n "draft" days to not chase new technology.

Make sure you phone has the latest patches. The phone was manufacture more than 6 months before the 802.11ax standard was set. Unlike the 802.11n draft stuff it appears software updates should be all it takes.
I have two devices, my iPhone 11 Pro Max, and a Dell XPS Laptop, both with wifi 6 cards. I have performed tests on both, and have normally gotten better speeds on my laptop (about 100Mbps faster than phone). I have updated firmware on both devices.
 
I am on channel 36 with a channel width of 160Mhz. I confirmed that in the settings, and used the killer control panel to verify.

There are a lot of networks my devices pickup within the area, but the channel I am using (36) has no one broadcasting on it other than myself.
You have to remember that channel 36 represents only 20mhz. The actual usage will be either 32-48 & 149-161 OR if there is no weather radar nearby it might try 32-64. Many routers do not support this second mode.

Pretty much if you see anyone using any 5g channel you overlap them. There is only 180mhz of total bandwidth that is not restricted on the 5g band. This means it is impossible to share the 5g band when you are using 160mhz.
 

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