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Is 5ghz wi-fi just as good as a wired internet connection?


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DaDude

Currently, I have my desktop PC hooked up via Ethernet to my router. I get up to 155 mbps speed on my internet service and it's pretty rock solid when hooked up directly using Ethernet. However, I would like to fix the layout of my room and move my desktop PC to the another part of my room. But that would mean that I can't hook up the PC using Ethernet anymore since the PC will be further away from the modem. It would be a big pain to have the cable company come over to re-wire the cable or for me to wire up my room with a super long Ethernet cable. So that would mean I would need to use wi-fi. But my router and PC both support 5G wi-fi, so I will still get 155 mbps speed. But the question is, is 5G wi-fi just as good and stable as a wired internet connect?

 

Do you think it would be ok for me to move my desktop PC and use a 5G wi-fi connection? Or should I leave my PC along and stick with the wired?

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adrynalyne

No. Unless your WiFi sucks. 

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Mindovermaster

Mhm, wired is always better...

 

I'll let BudMan take the big guns here...

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MS Bob 10

First, it's 5 GHz wifi, please don't call it 5G wifi. :) Because 5G is a different thing.


Wired is always better, faster, more reliable. But that being said, in wifi, the PHY speed and signal strength are two factors that determine how good or bad it is. Do a speed test on both wired and 5 GHz wireless if your client PHY speed is decent - it may be good enough for your internet speed requirements - may offer the same speed via wired too. Not for LAN/WLAN transfers where wired is miles ahead.

Read this long but very interesting page to learn more about Wifi: https://www.duckware.com/tech/wifi-in-the-us.html

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_-Psycho-_

What are you using your PC for? If it's not ping critical stuff you should be fine. If your WiFi router is fairly new of course.

 

But why not test it right now? Remove the ethernet cable for half a day and see how it goes.

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wendy1999

mhmm, I think... no, wired always the best

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Nick H.

I would say that realistically, with the exception of signal strength you won't notice a difference. If you're normally getting speed <x> and you know that the wifi will give you the same speed, the only thing you might notice is a slight change in latency.

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+BudMan
9 hours ago, DaDude said:

so I will still get 155 mbps speed.

Says who?  Have you actually tested that?  While yes 5ghz wifi can do 155mbps real world - it still depends on the actual connection rate, the interface that might be present.  Just because your PC support say 802.11n at 5ghz doesn't actually mean it can do 155mbps real world.   Is your router AC and your client AC? 

 

What is the actual router?  What is the actual wifi card in the PC?  1 stream of 802.11n via 5ghz for example using 40mhz channels has a PHY of only 150mbps - real world your going to be more like 75mbps - rough guesstimate for wifi speeds is to take the actual phy your connected at and /2 it.. You can expect to see 50 to 60% of the connection rate or PHY..  And just because your receive is at PHY X, your transmit might be way lower than that..  So while you might get 75mbps real world down, maybe your upload is only like 10 or something..

 

Even if your AC - if your only talking 1 stream - which many wifi cards might only be.. A common connection rate of 1 stream with 40mhz channels is only 200.. So your still below your 155 real world speed you think you might get.  And again rx is different than tx when it comes to phy..  I would highly suggest you actually test before you think your going to see 155 in real world speeds..

 

As others have mentioned - almost ALWAYS a wire is better..  Now with the new wifi 6 (ax) depending - sure you could get some great speeds, even above gig ethernet.  But its not going to be as stable, it will fluctuate and latency will be higher.  How many other devices will you have on the wifi network, how many other wifi networks around you.. All can have effect on the overall performance.  And guess what 2.5, and 5gbps is quite easy to do with wire now as well.. Or even 10ge.. Cost is coming down for sure in the 2.5 gbps switches - there are a few on the market now for $100 price point..

 

Wifi is best for mobile devices.. And yeah sure any even some what modern equipment should be able to get good speeds - yes above 155 real world for sure.. I see 400mbps real world no problem with wifi..  On the devices that support multiple stream connections and AC.. 

 

If you want to move your PC.. and its hard to run a wire - then by all means do that if that is what you want.  But don't be sure your going to see speed XYZ via wifi just because its using 5ghz.. Is it N, is it AC is it AX?  How many streams can the router do, how many streams can the card do?  If your AC even with 1 you should be ok..  If you can do 80mhz channels.. But if your in a high noise area?  Maybe not?  This is capable of 433 mbps PHY connection.. So you should be able to see your 155 with such a connection.

 

You sure do not need to move your modem to connect a wire.. You have no way to run a wire along the edges of the walls.  Or better yet actually run wire in the walls.  Do you have coax connections in the different rooms?  If so you could leverage a moca setup and get gig wired speeds without much trouble..   If you have attic or basement or crawl space - running ethernet is not that hard.. A couple of hours even with no experience should be possible.. Cable is cheap.. The adapters to make it look nice on the wall are cheap.. its easy enough to cut some holes in drywall and put in a nice plate for a jack..  They even sell some where you could just use a pre done cable of enough length.. You can get a 100ft run of cat 5e for a few bucks..

 

Unless the device is actually mobile - if its possible to run a wire, it is almost always the better choice.  Device you put a wire also don't use up your wifi - so leaves more bandwidth for your actual mobile devices.. Since wifi is a shared medium..

 

All that being said - you for sure can do real world 155mbps over wifi.. So I would just temp move your PC to where you want to move it and test it.. If you see the speeds over wifi your happy with.. Then your good and just use wifi..  Common speeds for wifi these days in in the 200 mbps range for sure.. If your wifi card is recent, and your router is recent..  This is 2 stream with 40mhz channels using AC.. Which is PHY of 400mbps..

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Brandon H

yeah as mentioned 5G refers to cellular services so it is not the right term to use here 5ghz network is the term you're looking for.

and more specifically are we talking N connectivity or AC as they will give you different real world speeds.

 

I'll just leave this here https://homenetworkadmin.com/wireless-b-vs-g-vs-n-vs-ac-difference/

 

-updated title to be more clear-

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+Randomevent
10 hours ago, DaDude said:

Do you think it would be ok for me to move my desktop PC and use a 5G wi-fi connection? Or should I leave my PC along and stick with the wired?

I've had great results with a good wifi router, but it does depend on a lot of different parts working well together.  Wired perf tends to be steadier even when wireless does the job.

 

In short, the only one who can answer this question is you by trying it.

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+Randomevent
10 minutes ago, Brandon H said:

yeah as mentioned 5G refers to cellular services so it is not the right term to use here 5ghz network is the term you're looking for.

and more specifically are we talking N connectivity or AC as they will give you different real world speeds.

 

I'll just leave this here https://homenetworkadmin.com/wireless-b-vs-g-vs-n-vs-ac-difference/

 

-updated title to be more clear-

Even AX is no guarantee.  My Eero 6es have gone through some major revisions since launch and I was mostly happy with them, but the experience (though pretty good) didn't feel fantastic on wireless until the 6.2 update just now.

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Brandon H
1 minute ago, LostCat said:

Even AX is no guarantee.  My Eero 6es have gone through some major revisions since launch and I was mostly happy with them, but the experience (though pretty good) didn't feel fantastic on wireless until the 6.2 update just now.

quite true, I'm betting OP doesn't have AX though as it's just starting to come into the market; not many people have compatible devices yet.

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+BudMan
2 hours ago, Brandon H said:

I'm betting OP doesn't have AX

We don't even know if he has AC ;)  For all we know he is on some router and PC from circa 2010ish...  Which is around when N and 5ghz became available ;)

 

edit:  here is perfect example.. Of how you could have 5ghz connection, but not see 150mbps real world speed.

 

example.thumb.png.04b39b1b94912dbb7a9eb2a456aed5cd.png

 

So here are 2 different alexa's - one is older and does only N.. see  the 11na connection for computer room alexa, and then see the ac connection for the bedroom alexa (newer model).. So both connected to same AP.. Both on the same channel (149) 5ghz band.  And the computer room one is even seeing better signal - yet its only connected a 150 PHY.. So in real world - it could do about 75ish mbps.. And its tx the 135.. So say about 67.5 mbps..

 

So you need to be sure what 5ghz your talking about N or AC.. and you need to know what both your router and your client are capable of for number of streams, etc. 

 

The newer alexa is connected with a 433 phy - so in theory it should see about /2 of that or say 215ish mbps real world.  Maybe say up to 260ish..

 

edit2:  Another example  Here are 2 rokus one in the guest room, another in the kitchen... 2 different AP on different sides of the house.. Which is why they are using same channel.  When using 80 vht, you are very limited to what 5ghz channels can be used.. I could use the DFS channels - but many devices have issues with those still.  They are both 5ghz, one is even using AC and other is using just N.. But neither currently have a phy connection capable of doing 155mbps real world..

anotherexample.thumb.png.9267dad88d0409aaf84454a0120e3889.png

 

And look at the current tx phy for the guest room roku - only 6mbps.. While it sure doesn't really need much upload, and that could if it actually starting doing something..  But with that tx phy, it would only be doing about 3mbps real world upload speed.

 

This is why you need actual details - or actually TEST... before you could assume you will get xyz speed just because your using 5ghz band wifi..

 

And just to be complete in example - here are a couple of devices with PHY that could do 400ish with out much effort since their actual connection rate are high enough.

complete.thumb.png.74f3747b599d0232969d59665ce09c58.png

 

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DaDude
Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, BudMan said:

Says who?  Have you actually tested that?  While yes 5ghz wifi can do 155mbps real world - it still depends on the actual connection rate, the interface that might be present.  Just because your PC support say 802.11n at 5ghz doesn't actually mean it can do 155mbps real world.   Is your router AC and your client AC?

Yes, I tried it. I unplugged the ethernet cable, connected to the 5 ghz wi-fi and got the full 155 mbps. Now on the 2.4 ghz wifi, I got only 50 mbps. I tried switching to all different channels on my router settings and 50 mbps is the best I can get on 2.4 ghz. But yes, 5ghz wifi gives me the full 155 mbps. At least, that was the speedtest.net result I got when I tested it the other day. Whether it's stable, that's another question. And yes, I have the full AC setup... both on my router and desktop PC.

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+BudMan

Well there you go - guess just go wifi then..  Unless you have some major interference..  Or something else really wrong - the latency will be higher, but in the big picture what is a few ms.. And jitter will be higher.. ie how much the latency fluctuates..  But unless your big gamer or something.. You prob wont ever notice an issue - even if your not getting your full 155mbps..  Unless your downloading lots of stuff, you don't really even need 155mbps to surf say neowin.net ;)

 

I move a lot of files back and forth across my network.. Even 400mbps second would feel like watching paint dry.. That is why I run 2.5gbps between my nas and my pc..  But yeah generally speaking most users shouldn't have any issues at all with such speeds..

 

If your a p2per - from say that PC.. and you go just wireless - you could notice issues with other devices trying to use the wireless, etc.

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bikeman25

My Two Cents on this topic is prior to moving into Townhome in 2019, i was always wired with my main Gaming Desktop,  anyways   at first the wifi was limited speed wise due to my AC wifi card in the older PC being 1x1 433mbps max link speed that i could get,    fast forward to June 2020 when i did a major system upgrade with help of local PC shop,   Newer Motherboard, Newer Processor, Newer Case,  Newer Video card,   Newer Wifi/bluetooth PCie adapter,    link speed now always 1.2gbps, great signal,  Speed Tests as high as 733.7mbps, max upload 41.40mbps on most speed tests  On Gigabit Comcast connection with Rented Comcast XB7 Gateway

 

Townhome moved to has no coax upstairs,  no phone jacks either

 

Someday might get a long enough cable, and attempt to go wired again, but seeing as Townhome is rented, and can't poke holes in wall, for Me think i'll stick to Wifi,  Online gaming 90 percent of time no issues, feels to me just like on my old wired connection, but every situation and location varies with wifi signal and interference and such

 

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goretsky

Hello,
 

You are talking about moving the computer to a different part of the room, so I am guessing that (1) the distance between the computer and the residential gateway broadband access point with Wi-Fi ("the router") will not be that far; and (2) the path between the two will not be obstructed by a wall or anything else that is going to be blocking a large amount of the radio waves between the router and your computer.

 

My suggestion would be to try moving the computer to the new location in the room--or as close to it as possible--and then try using it with the wireless connection.

 

You may find that you are no longer getting a consistent 155Mbps connection like you do with the wired Ethernet connection, however, you may also find that for the things you are doing on the computer, there's no practical/noticeable difference.

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky

 

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DaDude

Thanks, everyone. I was looking through Monoprice and they have some really nice, inexpensive 50+ feet ethernet cables that are ultra slim. So I'll go ahead and move to the computer to the new location and use wireless for now. Then I'll probably order the long, slim cables from Monoprice and once those arrive, I'll run the long cable around the room and go back to wired again.

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helpifIcan

Best decision you could have made!

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+BudMan
On 12/03/2021 at 21:47, goretsky said:

My suggestion would be to try moving the computer to the new location in the room

He didn't - well that test is not very valid then.. And just waste of time - other than simple validation that he equipment "could" do 155mbps.. But yeah - if not in the location plan on moving it to.. Not a very good test.

 

Standing in the location were you want to put it and testing with your phone would be something.. Now that you know the hardware in the pc and the router can do 155mbps..

 

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DaDude
On 14/03/2021 at 18:07, BudMan said:

He didn't - well that test is not very valid then.. And just waste of time - other than simple validation that he equipment "could" do 155mbps.. But yeah - if not in the location plan on moving it to.. Not a very good test.

 

Standing in the location were you want to put it and testing with your phone would be something.. Now that you know the hardware in the pc and the router can do 155mbps..

 

I did test it over the weekend and yes, I get 155 mbps. But here's the funny thing, I tested it several times throughout the days and the speed is moody. Sometimes, I get the full 155mbps, sometimes it can dip to around 110-120ish. I changed to different channels and some dip quite low. So I found the sweet channel that stays within the 110-155 range. But yeah, nothing is as good as wired. With a wired connection, I consistently get 155 mbps. I ordered the long, slim ethernet cable a few days ago so I will install it when it comes. Monoprice uses very slow shipping, so it might not arrive until end of the week/early next week.

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Brandon H
4 minutes ago, DaDude said:

Monoprice uses very slow shipping, so it might not arrive until end of the week/early next week.

yeah that's the price you pay for the cheaper prices they're able to offer but at least they're solid products (Y) 

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