What do I need to know about the Internet speeds of my computer and mobile devices?

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Cogeco Support
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What’s the difference between the speed of my Internet package and the speed of my Wi-Fi connection?

To begin, it’s important to recognize that there’s a difference between the speed of your Internet package, and the wireless Internet speed that can reach each of your devices.

Unless connected with a physical cable, your mobile devices, laptops and computers access the Internet using Wi-Fi. This technology enables a wireless connection between your devices and your Cogeco modem, giving you the flexibility to access the Internet from anywhere in your home. As you may know, there are multiple factors that can influence the speed of your Wi-Fi connections, which we will discuss later on.

What does a speed test measure?

There are several speed test options available, and different ones measure different speeds:

  1. There are speed tests that measure the speed of the Internet connection entering your home, which is pretty much equivalent to the speed of your Cogeco Internet package.
  2. There are speed tests that measure only the speed of your Wi-Fi, meaning the speed within your home. Since many factors can influence the speed of a specific device, the result can sometimes be a little lower than you expected, or better if the test is performed under optimal conditions.  
  3. There are speed tests that measure the end-to-end speed from your device to the Internet connection. In this case, the speed test results are a combination of the two previous tests mentioned above.

To run the speed tests mentioned above, we recommend using the following: Cogeco’s speed test, which is available on our website. Other commonly used speed tests are: Speedtest by Ookla and Fast.com.

Here are a couple of examples to illustrate the type of results you can expect:

Example 1: If you subscribe to our Cogeco UltraFibre 180 package, then 180 Mbps should be the maximum speed you’ll be able to get when you run an end-to-end Internet speed test, even though the Wi-Fi in your home could be faster.  

Remember that the Internet is like a water pipe flowing information to your modem, and from your modem to your devices. If there is a bottleneck somewhere, the whole Internet experience could be affected. Just like driving your car on a highway, if you encounter a traffic jam at some point, you’ll have to slow down until there’s no more traffic.

Example 2: If you subscribe to our UltraFibre 1G or UltraFibre 360 package, you will see a higher speed test value at your modem (speed at the entrance of the home). However your in-home Wi-Fi speed (from the modem to your laptop or mobile device) could limit the speed test result you get if your device or Wi-Fi is not operating in optimal conditions. In this case, the mobile device or Wi-Fi network could be the bottleneck.

How do my mobile device and other devices connected to my wireless home network affect my Internet speed?

Different devices handle speeds differently depending on the make, model, operating system, running applications and age. Think of the top speed of a racecar compared to that of a minivan. You would definitely not expect the same top speeds, and the same is true of Wi-Fi speeds for your devices.

The speed of a device can be affected by the following factors:

  1. Type of device: In general, laptop computers can reach faster speeds because they have more antennas, as opposed to mobile phones, which are much smaller.
  2. Your device’s Wi-Fi capabilities: How old is your device? Does it use Wi-Fi N technology or AC (the Wi-Fi AC is newer and faster)? Also, the frequency used has a big impact on the Wi-Fi speed. It used to be up to you to choose either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz, but our newer modems make the right decision for you automatically, so you always benefit from the best possible performance.
  3. The number of devices online: The Internet speed delivered to your home is shared among all devices. If several devices are connected to your network at the same time, you may not have enough speed to go around, and you may notice slow-down across all of your devices.
  4. Outdated software: When is the last time that you updated the software on your devices? It’s a good idea to update your devices regularly in order to have all the latest updates, and bugs resolved by your device manufacturer.

Some devices could be faster than others, such as newer laptops versus older mobile phones. You need to consider the age of the device since older devices typically have slower Wi-Fi capabilities.

The more devices you have on the network, the more your Wi-Fi network will be impacted. If your modem is close to the device, you may want to use a wired connection for devices streaming content, such as Apple TV or a gaming console.

What are the major factors that influence the speed of my Wi-Fi network?

The more people using the Wi-Fi at the same time, the more traffic you’ll encounter, and the more slow-downs you’ll have on each device. At Cogeco, we offer Wi-Fi AC technology to ensure all your devices are receiving the strongest possible connection so you can enjoy the best possible Internet experience.

The speeds you experience on a device can be affected by many external factors. Here are some examples:

  1. Your physical environment: If the Wi-Fi signal has to go through thick walls, large windows, metal doors or mirrors, your Wi-Fi can be significantly impacted, which reduces your overall Wi-Fi coverage and speed.
  2. Modem location: Open spaces allow your Wi-Fi signal to travel and expand for even better coverage. Therefore, you should avoid putting your modem in closed or cramped spaces, such as cabinets, closets or drawers. We recommend putting your modem in a centrally located position in order to maximize coverage. Keep in mind you need to have an active coaxial cable available and power outlet close by.
  3. Wi-Fi coverage: Good coverage means your device is getting a strong Wi-Fi signal. Physical distance between your device and the Cogeco modem is a key factor to consider. An easy way to improve performance and ensure consistent coverage is to move portable devices closer to your modem, since Wi-Fi coverage decreases as distance increases, especially through walls and floors. Alternatively, to improve your Wi-Fi coverage for larger households with three or more floors (including basement) and four or more bedrooms, you should consider a Cogeco Wi-Fi extender to get the best Internet experience possible.
  4. Interference: Some large appliances and electronic equipment, such as kitchen appliances, microwaves, wireless phones and Wi-Fi networks from neighbours (especially in apartment buildings), might cause interference to your Wi-Fi signal and limit overall coverage.
  5. Wi-Fi frequency: In general, modems have either a 2.4 GHz or a 5 GHz frequency for Wi-Fi. The 2.4 GHz frequency provides wider coverage because it travels easily through walls, but at a slower speed. On the other hand, the 5 GHz frequency provides a shorter range with higher speed and less interference as compared to a 2.4 GHz network. Older equipment generally uses 2.4 GHz frequency. Using the 5 GHz frequency is better, especially for newer devices often streaming videos for high-bandwidth Internet activities. Newer Cogeco modems make the decision for you, so you always enjoy the best performance.

What Wi-Fi speeds can I expect for my computer and mobile devices?

Newer devices should perform at higher speeds over Wi-Fi. Older devices may not do as well, even under ideal conditions. 

For faster speeds, try using an Ethernet (wired) connection instead, especially for your streaming devices, such as TVs that don’t move around your home.

Wi-Fi Speed Ranges

  Year Released Potential Wi-Fi Speed
Computers 2011 - Present 150-500 Mbps
2007 - 2010 75-150 Mbps
2006 and earlier 25 Mbps
Phones & Tablets 2011 - Present 75-300 Mbps
2007 - 2010 25-75 Mbps
2006 and earlier 25 Mbps

The above Wi-Fi speeds can be reached under good conditions with a Cogeco Internet package.

 

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