Thinking that router will make your Wi-Fi superfast? Not so fast, buddy!CNET editor Dong Ngo gives out a quick explanation about actual Wi-Fi speed and what that is real beauty.
Hi guys. Doug Ngo here, and I have here a pretty nice router, but it's not about it today, it's about you. Now, some of you, actually, many of you have complained to me that after having invested in a nice Wi-Fi router, you didn't get the performance at home that you expected. Now, the keyword here is expectation, and today I'm gonna set that right. When it come to buying networking equipment, there are three Speed that you need to be aware of. The advertising speed, the ceiling speed, and the actual real-world speed. Now first, the advertising speed. Take a look at this one here. This is a AC2600 router, suggesting that it is a 802.11 AC router, which is true. And it has some 2600 megabits per second performance. [NOISE] That is completely wrong. Now here is why. This one here is a true dual band router, meaning it can work in two separate bands at the same time. It also a top notch router, so on the 5 gigahertz frequency band it has the Sealing speed up 1733 Mbps and on the 2.4 GHz band, up to 800 Mbps. Now combine those two you have some 2,533 megabits per second or roughly 2,600 megabits per second. But a WiFi [UNKNOWN] like this iPhone 6 here can connect to the router on only one band at a time. So the connection can only cap at either 733 megabits per second or 800 megabits per second. At a tap. Now that is from the router's perspective. From the Cloud itself, it's different story. Now the phone here supports the 802.11ac wi-fi standard, but just the lowest tier of it and caps at only 433 Mbps. So when the two connect, it is the ceiling speed of the phone. The rule is, in a connection, the ceiling speed is that of the slower device. Because a connection is as fast S is [UNKNOWN]. In other words, if you have an 00 Clarens at home, getting a top-notch wi-fi router will not help much with the speed, if at all. Now that brings us to the actual speed. There's many factors that affect the actual real world speed of wi-fi. For example, the distance. The further away the client from the router, the slower it gets. There are also obstacle in between them like wall or furniture. And there are interference from other devices that use the same signal on the same frequency band. And finally, hardware and software from different vendors might not work optimally with one another. So generally in my experience of many of testing a wi-fi router and access point, in the best case scenario, the real world speed is about 1/3 of the ceiling speed. Often times, much slower. So when you read the box like this one here, do not ever believe in the numbers after up to. They're never right. But the thing is, faster wi-fi speed always means faster real world speed. This is not as fast as it's cracked up to be. For more on this matter check out my full writeup at cnet.com. But the takeaway is do not set expectations based on what the competitor is selling. This is about as helpful as reading a beauty magazine for the articles. Instead get your connection based on what I tell you. And I well you what, no matter what it said in that magazine, you look fine the way you are. I know I do, and that's because I'm **** Ngo. This has been a quick explanation on what is real, really.