How come your blazing fast internet works on your desktop but your laptop or phone seem to take longer for pages to load? After running a speed test, you find that your desktop is much faster than your phone or laptop. The only difference is the desktop is wired directly into your modem and and your laptop and phone are wireless,

Truth About Signal Strength:

Wired connections are always going to be faster than wireless connections. While signals move faster than electrical currents, there are other factors that come into play. One of these factors is due to signal range. An ethernet cable can carry a signal up to 100 meters without the signal deteriorating.  WiFi signals get blasted everywhere. The signal can be interrupted by walls, microwaves, distance, or even other network signals. There are only so many frequencies that can be broadcasted on. Chances are your signal is being broadcasted on the same frequencies as the people around.

Packet Loss – Why It Matters

Both means have different ways of handling packet loss. This is when a chunk or packet of data does not reach its destination. This can happen when two devices try to transmit at the same time. After this collision, the packet needs to be resent. Ethernet connections avoid collisions by making sure that the path is clear before sending out the packet. A WiFi signal will issue a delay before sending out a packet. This will reduce the chance of collision. This can lead to latency with the transmission. WiFi antennas are also half-duplex, which means they can only be sending or receiving but not both at the same time. Full-duplex is in the works but is still experiment and has its own set of challenges. Ethernet has been full-duplex for some time because the can be one wire for sending and one wire for receiving.

As technology continues to develop and improve, there may be a time where wireless networks are as fast or faster than wired connections but until then for the best network performance, make sure your computer is hooked directly into your router or modem. 

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