Question Wifi speed


Apr 19, 2008
A few days ago I purchased a refurbished Dell i5 desktop. The desktop came with16 gigs RAM, 512 SSD, and included a 802.11n WiFi adapter. When I check my WiFi status speed on the Dell w/ Windows 10 it reads 144 Mbps. Also, I have a HP i5 laptop which is brand new, it has 16 gigs RAM, 512 SSD and 802.11ac integrated WiFi (purchased last year). When I check the WiFi status on that it reads 72 Mbps. When I plug in a 802.11ac antenna ( AC 1300 Mbps USB 3.0 WiFi adapter, eternal antenna ) into the laptop it jumps to 144 Mbps. My confusion is why is the desktop's 802.11n speed faster than the laptop's 802.11ac speed, w/o the antenna. My router is one of those Spectrum Community routers that they install in an apartment complex, I don't know if it is 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz, I can't access thru my browser. I know that the 802.11n should be 150 Mbps and the 802.11ac should 433 Mbps ( in theory, of course.) FYI: Yesterday, I inserted my 802.11ac antenna into the desktop while the the 802.11n was plugged in and the Mbps when up to 400 Mbps, when I tried a 2nd time didn't repeat LOL. Anyway, I would appreciate it if you could clear up my confusion.
The device you call a antenna is a actually a complete wifi nic card. A antenna is just a simple piece of wire and in most cases you can not just plug a different one into a internal card.
Now in theory you could dissemble the laptop and maybe do something with the antenna. They have extremely tiny wires that run from the card to antenna mounted on the laptop screen.

When you do not control the router it makes this very hard to change much. Almost all the wifi settings are done on the router. If they use different SSID for 2.4 and 5 you should be able to force a connection to the 5 radio from your pc.

The speed between the router and the end device is negotiated. You have to be able to see the setting in the router to know if that is what is causing the limitation.

So I can tell you what the numbers mean but not how you can get them to change.

My guess is you are running on 2.4g. A 72 number means you are only using 20mhz wide channels and a single data stream. A 144 number means you are still using 20mhz wide channels but now are using 2 antenna/data streams at the same time.

It also means you signal levels are very good so the major problem is something is limiting it to 20mhz wide channels.

To get 433 you need to be able to run on the 5g band and it must run at 80mhz channels.

The channel width is mostly set on the router but maybe your PC has them set low but the default is to use whatever is the largest the router also supports.