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Slower wireless vs. wired connection speed on home router


I'm using Verizon DSL in a New York City apartment, accessed via their new Westell 802.11g combined modem/wireless router. My computer is a Panasonic laptop with built-in 802.11b Centrino, running XP Pro.

When I plug into the modem with an ethernet cable (i.e., using a wired connection), I get a 2.5 mb download speed and a 665k upload speed. However, when I connect wirelessly, the download speed drops to around 1.2 mb (while the upload speed remains the same). This is despite having ''excellent'' signal strength, and it happens even if I literally place the computer right next to the antenna on the modem. I've tried configuring the computer's wireless connection both via the built-in Intel software and the XP software, and it makes no difference. Also, I've tried de-activating my (ZoneAlarm) firewall, and that doesn't help either. (The router address in Zone Alarm is in my ''trusted zone,'' anyway.) I've also tried playing with the modem settings a bit, switching them between "802.11b only" and "any;" again, it makes no difference. I'm running 128 bit WEP, if that might make any difference.

Any ideas as to why this might be happening, and what I can do to fix it?


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802.11b is slow.

In reply to: Slower wireless vs. wired connection speed on home router

Despite what you would expect from an advertised standard speed (11Mb/sec for 802.11b or 54 Mb/sec for 802.11g), the real world performance seems to be about half the rating, and that's on a good day. It can be worse. Maybe even bad enough that it will be slower than the rating of your internet connection (particularly when you start pushing the connection speeds up to the 3M/768K account that you have).

Two things you can do, one free, the other costs money. For free, you can tweak your network settings to the most efficient MTU and RWIN settings using the tools and online test utilities over at For a modest price, you can purchase a new 802.11g PC-Card WiFi adapter for the laptop. You'll have to turn off the internal b card. Then you'll be able to use the higher g speeds, which will take you back to the inherent speed of your connection.


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Wow! Thanks!

In reply to: 802.11b is slow.


Not wantng to pick up an 811G card (I use an ultralight, go-anwhere computer, and its one slot is occupied by an oft-used Verizon EVDO card which I don't want to have to pull in and out several times a day), I instead went to your recommended "tweaks" page. Well, my download speed is now doubled, to 2.5 mb, while the upload is still over 600k. So...


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