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Upgraded to AC... But it's slow?

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#1
Well since Amazon has decided to make you attach dongles to dongles if you want to use ethernet now, and I needed to replace the 1st gen FireTV stick, I bought a FireTV3 back on Prime Day.. While I was there I decided to upgrade my wifi to AC (since the FTV3 is the first device I have that would actually use it).. I bought a TP Link EAP245 3x3 AC AP, and an Intel AC7260 2x2 AC card for my laptop (since I have to transfer a lot of large files to my server and it only has 10/100 ethernet).

Now everything is set up, working nicely, but when I transfer files from my laptop, I only see about 40ish MB/s.. CMIIW but that's about what a 1x1 card would do. This is a 2x2 card running on 5GHz and should be capable of about double that. I have the latest drivers from intel, and the AP firmware is current. Did I miss a setting?
 
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#2
Right, did you check the AP settings? By default, the AP is most likely running at 40MHz channel width (or maybe even 20MHz) and you need to up that to 80MHz to take full advantage of the speed on offer.
Also try using the higher frequency band, i.e. channel 149 and up, as the speed tends to be better there, as well as the range, as these channels are allowed to transmit at higher power.
Maybe check you got the latest firmware on the AP as well?
Oh and those Intel cards have some known issues, although it shouldn't affect you, as it seems to be related to 160MHz bandwidth on higher-end routers/AP's.
 

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#3
What speed is your adapter connected at?

What channel width do you have provisioned for your 5GHz AC?

How many other devices are connected to that AP?

Is it a lot of files or one large file that you're testing with?

What are the specs of your laptop's storage?
 

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#4
5GHz has lower range than 2.4GHz, so dont forget to factor that in
For comaprison with my setup i've got an AC3200 router with two 5Ghz networks and a high-power long range AC1200 adaptor (an Alfa)

2.4Ghz gives me about 30MB/s transfers, but i get ping spikes to around 100ms
1st 5GHz gives 40Mb/s without the ping spikes
2nd 5Ghz doesnt even connect unless i drop it from AC1200 to N600 (80Mhz to 40Mhz, but thats how the router labels it), and even then it has random dropouts - just because its at a higher frequency/channel
 
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#5
5GHz has lower range than 2.4GHz, so dont forget to factor that in
For comaprison with my setup i've got an AC3200 router with two 5Ghz networks and a high-power long range AC1200 adaptor (an Alfa)

2.4Ghz gives me about 30MB/s transfers, but i get ping spikes to around 100ms
1st 5GHz gives 40Mb/s without the ping spikes
2nd 5Ghz doesnt even connect unless i drop it from AC1200 to N600 (80Mhz to 40Mhz, but thats how the router labels it), and even then it has random dropouts - just because its at a higher frequency/channel
That sounds like a borked router. I have no issues with the higher frequency band on my AC2600 router, nor on two other routers that I run in extender mode that connect to it. Any device I connect to the extenders gets well over 100Mbps, so although it's half of my internet connection speed, it's still more than sufficient. I have some devices that won't see the lower frequency bands for whatever reason, so I can only use the higher ones.

On top of that, you should get much better range on the higher bands, as the transmit power there can be up to 4W, whereas the lower bands are normally limited to 1W or less. The only exception is Europe, which only allows 25mW on the high frequencies. Have a look here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_WLAN_channels#5_GHz_(802.11a/h/j/n/ac/ax) to figure out which channels works best in your country.
 

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#6
That sounds like a borked router. I have no issues with the higher frequency band on my AC2600 router, nor on two other routers that I run in extender mode that connect to it. Any device I connect to the extenders gets well over 100Mbps, so although it's half of my internet connection speed, it's still more than sufficient. I have some devices that won't see the lower frequency bands for whatever reason, so I can only use the higher ones.

On top of that, you should get much better range on the higher bands, as the transmit power there can be up to 4W, whereas the lower bands are normally limited to 1W or less. The only exception is Europe, which only allows 25mW on the high frequencies. Have a look here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_WLAN_channels#5_GHz_(802.11a/h/j/n/ac/ax) to figure out which channels works best in your country.
that router had no issues at my previous address, and i've got two AC3200 routers (i'm a hoarder) that behave exactly the same. These things often behave weird in the real world, and vary a lot based on location, distance, and the price of AMD stocks at any given moment.

You do not get better range on the higher frequencies, by their very nature they're lower range - the higher wattages are to compensate for that flaw, not to make them longer ranged.
 
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#7
If you have a proper phone, install a wifi analyser app, measure power and do a speedtest bench, write it down, change wifi channels spots etc. Draw a summing plot.
 

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#8
Where is the access point located in relation to the laptop? What kind of signal strength are you getting?

Definitely check the channel settings and make sure it is set to 80MHz on the 5GHz band.

But if you are getting 40MB/s that is actually pretty decent, as that's about 320Mb/s. That's actually pretty good for wireless. For reference, my laptop with a 2x2 adapter connected to my 3x3 AC network only gets about 150Mb/s(~18MB/s) when I'm one room away from the router, and about 200Mb/s(~25MB/s) when I'm in the same room.
 
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#9
What speed is your adapter connected at?
It's showing 780Mbps on the adapter properties right now.. If I sit and watch it, it fluctuates between 650ish and 830ish

What channel width do you have provisioned for your 5GHz AC?
80MHz

How many other devices are connected to that AP?
On 5GHz, two.. My phone and my FTV3. There are also a couple tablets connected to 2.4GHz.

Is it a lot of files or one large file that you're testing with?
Big media files.. 2-10GB each.

What are the specs of your laptop's storage?
Samsung 850 Pro SSD.


This is a 1000 sqft apartment.. The AP is wall mounted in the hallway with direct line of sight to the couch where I use the laptop, maybe 12 feet away. Standing right under it did not make any difference




Where is the access point located in relation to the laptop? What kind of signal strength are you getting?

Definitely check the channel settings and make sure it is set to 80MHz on the 5GHz band.
Addressed above..

But if you are getting 40MB/s that is actually pretty decent, as that's about 320Mb/s. That's actually pretty good for wireless. For reference, my laptop with a 2x2 adapter connected to my 3x3 AC network only gets about 150Mb/s(~18MB/s) when I'm one room away from the router, and about 200Mb/s(~25MB/s) when I'm in the same room.
Oh I know it's decent.. It's 4x faster than the built in ethernet lol.. But it *SHOULD* be running at double that speed given that it is negotiating an upwards of 800Mbps link. And I know it's not bottlenecking at the server end either, that has a SATA6 RAID array running off a PERC H700 with a pair of gigabit NICs teamed... It has no problem sucking down files from my gigabit desktop at 100MB/s
 
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#10
Oh I know it's decent.. It's 4x faster than the built in ethernet lol.. But it *SHOULD* be running at double that speed given that it is negotiating an upwards of 800Mbps link. And I know it's not bottlenecking at the server end either, that has a SATA6 RAID array running off a PERC H700 with a pair of gigabit NICs teamed... It has no problem sucking down files from my gigabit desktop at 100MB/s
Nope, you are getting about what I would expect from a 2x2 Wireless AC setup, actually a little better. But the small area and line of site explain you getting slightly better than normal.
 

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#11
I only see about 40ish MB/s
40MB/s is approximately 320Mbps. Remember than when you're reading wifi speed, you're reading the aggregate speed of upstream and downstream total, not the maximum capable by upstream or downstream. That means that if the 780Mbps that's being read and speed is symmetric for both upstream and downstream, that's about 390Mbps for either up or down. Factor in overhead and a little bit of noise and you'll have your 320Mbps. That sounds 100% normal for being connected at the speed you are running at. If anything, that's pretty good wireless performance.

For example, I have a repurposed router running DD-WRT acting as a wireless network bridge. Signal strength is full and it's running at its max of 300Mbps with full signal strength but, I'll only ever see 150Mbps up or down. That's just how wifi works.
 
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#13
Signal strength looks a bit low if you're standing close to it, you should be closer to 35-40dBm if you're that close to the AP, even on 5GHz. Sitting about two meters from my router, I tend to get 26-30dBm.
Could be the interference from your neighbours network.
Even so, doesn't actually seem slow if you get 40MB/s over wireless.
Wi-Fi has much higher overheads than wired Ethernet and you'll never get close to the sync speed. Obviously you should sync at 866Mbps when you're that close, so something seems a bit off, but again, could simply be interference.
 
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#14
40MB/s is approximately 320Mbps. Remember than when you're reading wifi speed, you're reading the aggregate speed of upstream and downstream total, not the maximum capable by upstream or downstream. That means that if the 780Mbps that's being read and speed is symmetric for both upstream and downstream, that's about 390Mbps for either up or down. Factor in overhead and a little bit of noise and you'll have your 320Mbps. That sounds 100% normal for being connected at the speed you are running at. If anything, that's pretty good wireless performance.
Sorry it took so long to get back here, I've had a rough week lol..

I've honestly never heard of wifi having "symmetrical" paths. I was always under the impression that the link speed is what is available to use. I do understand that it is half-duplex so it would be cut in half if you were Tx and Rx at the same time (ie: sending one file and receiving another file simultaneously) but if I am only moving files one way at a time all available bandwidth should be able to be used in that direction, no? Certainly more than 40% of the negotiated link, because while I understand Wifi has higher overhead, I highly doubt it's 60%.

For example, I have a repurposed router running DD-WRT acting as a wireless network bridge. Signal strength is full and it's running at its max of 300Mbps with full signal strength but, I'll only ever see 150Mbps up or down. That's just how wifi works.
A eth-wlan bridge or a wlan repeater (extender)? Because if it's a repeater it is absolutely to be expected, because it needs half of the available bandwidth for the backhaul. But for a bridge with matching antenna configurations to the client and MIMO you'd expect to be able to connect at the full 300Mbps.
 

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#15
Wifi being half duplex means half the bandwidth goes each direction at all times, so yes - you'll never get more than 50% best case. Getting 40% is a lot more realistic once overheads and interference come into things.
 

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#16
Wifi being half duplex means half the bandwidth goes each direction at all times, so yes - you'll never get more than 50% best case. Getting 40% is a lot more realistic once overheads and interference come into things.
No, that isn't how half duplex works. Half duplex means it can only transmit data in one direction at a time, but it can use the full speed in either direction. A 100mb/s half duplex connection should give very near 100mb/s if you are moving a file in one direction.


Certainly more than 40% of the negotiated link, because while I understand Wifi has higher overhead, I highly doubt it's 60%.
The problem is the negotiated link isn't really an accurate way to figure out the actual link speed.
 

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#17
alright i got the terminology confused over the years then.

All i know as fact you only ever get half the speed, even at close range with perfect signal
 
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#18
alright i got the terminology confused over the years then.

All i know as fact you only ever get half the speed, even at close range with perfect signal
Again, not true. The issue with Wi-Fi is that the PHY link rate and the actual speed you get are not really correlated. The PHY link rate these days is more a marketing number than anything practically achievable. Back when Wi-Fi was initially started, you only got 1 or 2Mbps, which meant not too much overheads and very achievable speeds, even 802.11b with 11Mbps was almost doable at full speed. However, even a single stream today using 802.11ac at 433Mbps is never going to happen, as you have so many different overheads. This is also why we ended up with multi-stream Wi-Fi (2x2, 3x3 etc.), but we ran into problems with implementing multiple antennas into devices, hence why most devices are only 1x1 or 2x2, with very few 3x3 devices that aren't range extenders. Let's not even talk about 4x4, as it's not really implemented beyond a couple of PCIe cards that I'm aware of, unless it's in a router, AP or range extender. As such, we have seriously bloated numbers and if you were to go by router numbers, in the extreme cases, AC5300, no matter your device, you won't see those kind of speeds, as they have three radios in them, that can't be combined. However, you would see a lot better speed using 802.11ac over 802.11n for example. as you can get a much higher PHY rate which results in higher throughput, albeit at reduced range.

Wi-Fi is a bit hit and miss depending on hardware compatibility as well, despite everything supposedly being interoperable. Intel has had some problems with some of their Wi-Fi cards for notebooks, especially the 72xx/31xx series. There is also sometimes issues between Qualcomm Atheros and Broadcom hardware. Things like this might also affect the speed you're getting. Then there's borked router firmwares or poorly developed router firmwares/drivers which cause further problems. Qualcomm Atheros at point released a new revision of a router Wi-Fi chipset and stopped supporting the older revision, which was already in thousands of devices that were then unsupported. These were in among other things a lot of TP-Link routers. All fun and games for consumers, since the hardware manufacturers don't give a shit about us...
 
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#19
Where is the access point located in relation to the laptop? What kind of signal strength are you getting?

Definitely check the channel settings and make sure it is set to 80MHz on the 5GHz band.

But if you are getting 40MB/s that is actually pretty decent, as that's about 320Mb/s. That's actually pretty good for wireless. For reference, my laptop with a 2x2 adapter connected to my 3x3 AC network only gets about 150Mb/s(~18MB/s) when I'm one room away from the router, and about 200Mb/s(~25MB/s) when I'm in the same room.
I consider 20+MBytes/sec on wireless decent. if you are more than 10 ft away

Also bad firmware can make or break speeds as well. Check out this review I did comparing stock FW to DDWRT

WRTACS1900 became pretty nice with DDWRT. You may want to look into changing firmware.
 

Aquinus

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#20
I've honestly never heard of wifi having "symmetrical" paths. I was always under the impression that the link speed is what is available to use. I do understand that it is half-duplex so it would be cut in half if you were Tx and Rx at the same time (ie: sending one file and receiving another file simultaneously) but if I am only moving files one way at a time all available bandwidth should be able to be used in that direction, no? Certainly more than 40% of the negotiated link, because while I understand Wifi has higher overhead, I highly doubt it's 60%.
It's not even really half-duplex more than it's just the total upstream and downstream and that's just how Windows and OS X handles it. There actually is a really good bet that if the signal strength isn't great that one will be different than the other. This really has to do more with the radio on each device. For example, it's not unrealistic to get a link speed of something around 200Mbit if downstream is 150Mbit and upstream is 50Mbit. My DD-WRT router for example reads the lowest link speed and not the aggregate in the web UI.
A eth-wlan bridge or a wlan repeater (extender)? Because if it's a repeater it is absolutely to be expected, because it needs half of the available bandwidth for the backhaul. But for a bridge with matching antenna configurations to the client and MIMO you'd expect to be able to connect at the full 300Mbps.
It's not repeating the signal, it's a wireless network bridge, as in the wireless is only used to connect to the access point to give the 5 ethernet ports on the re-purposed router internet (because wireless drivers in Linux tend to be meh.) Also, even if it were to repeat, the E4200 has two radios, one for 2.4Ghz and one for 5Ghz and the 5GHZ one can do 2.4Ghz.

Example:
1538307796278.png

Edit: Correction, my DD-WRT device is CPU constrained as CPU load maxes out on a speed test at 150Mbit but, the interface describes a little bit about what I've been talking about. Mind you, DD-WRT reports numbers differently than Windows does. This is more to call out that upstream and downstream values which might not be the same.
 
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