Understanding Wi-Fi, and why it can be slower than expected
Wireless Fidelity, or better known as Wi-Fi is how many connect to the Internet without using cables and physically connecting a device to a router to get an Internet connection. Since Wi-Fi uses radio waves to transmit data, it’s more susceptible to slower speeds for different reasons.
The WSJ wrote a good article explaining just exactly why some users experience slower Wi-Fi speeds, and included an illustration below that helps explain. In a nutshell, they said that although wireless networks and modern routers support very fast wireless speeds, most ISP’s don’t supply customers with modern routers, and supply customers with sub-par routers which can only handle speeds of up to 54 mbps on average.
Of course this happens because more advanced and newer routers cost more money. Modern routers can handle speeds of 200-300 mbps, but if your router is maxed-out at 54 mbps, you see where the problem is and why you may experience slower than advertised speeds. In addition, when you have multiple devices sharing the same Wi-Fi connection, they both compete against each other and wireless speeds will slow down.
Consumers can purchase their own third party routers, and use them to increase speeds as a solution. There are other things to consider as well when speeds slow down, such as distance from the router. The further away you are, the worse and slower the connection gets. Also, other radio wave emitting devices and appliances can affect your connection, such as microwaves.
Another reason a wireless connection could be affected is due to weather. There are lots of misconceptions about weather affecting wireless connections and the bottom line is majority of the time is that it will not affect it. Your router is typically inside your home, so it won’t affect it, however, the wireless towers outside feeding your router could be affected by snow or high winds, which in turn could affect your connection but in only very extreme weather conditions.