Wifi much slower than fixed broadband

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Wifi networks are 30 percent slower than fixed broadband connections, according to a new report, because of phyical barriers and interference from other devices.

Research firm Epitiro monitored the performance of over 14,00 connections in the UK, the US, Italy and Spain; 56 percent used a Wifi connection, the rest wired ethernet. It used its ipQ Quality of Experience Analysis Solution for the testing.

And, says the company, consumers lose an average of 30 percent of download speed and an increase in latency of between ten and 20 percent when using Wifi connections in the home.

"Our data shows that connectivity over Wifi degrades broadband performance considerably in typical circumstances," says Epitiro CTO JP Curley.

"Consumers who are experiencing performance issues with Wifi should take steps to improve their home environment or connect directly via wired ethernet."

There are several reasons for the poor performance. Many Wifi routers share the same default communication channel, causing interference in urban areas and leading to dropped connections or slow service.

Walls, doors and furniture can all get in the way of the signal, as can interference from other devices in the same frequency range, such as baby monitors, television remote controls, microwave ovens, garage door openers and cordless phones.

However, Epitiro did find that web page download times are virtually the same for Wifi and wired connections. They're apparently less susceptible to changes in line speed, as their many elements tend to be small in size.

The full report is available here.