When you go to buy a new network device like a router, switch or range extender you may see advertisements on the box like AC1750 or 300Mbps, only to find when you connect the device to your network you don’t get anything close to this advertised speed. Well today we are going to explain the reason for this.
Take for example, take the TL-WR841N wireless router. A economic but dependable little device that can provide a simple routed network for your home. On its box you will see 300Mbps Wireless N router. A customer with a 300Mbps internet connection could buy this device thinking that they will see these amazing speeds form a $20 piece of hardware. The truth is, you won’t, not even close. In fact, the best speed you will see out of this particular router is 100Mbps. So, you may ask, how is this not false advertising? Well, you see it is an industry standard to put the maximum theoretical throughput speed on a product’s box. This is the maximum transfer rates between devices found on the same network. This speed is generally determined by the number of bands on a product and the number and quality of antennas on the device. The internet speed is determined by several factors such as, the class of ethernet on the modem, the router’s WAN, and the class of ethernet cable being used between the two devices. Wireless speeds are determined by the wireless band you are connected to, and the distance your device is from the router.
To achieve speeds beyond 100 Mbps you will need a router and modem with Gigabit or 10/100/1000 ethernet ports and use a Category 5e (Cat 5e) or a Category 6 (Cat 6) cable. In our example with the TL-WR841N the router only has a Fast 10/100 ethernet port so the maximum speed you will see is 100 Mbps.
When Choosing your router, it is always recommended to look at the product specs listed on the packaging to ensure that device will meet your needs. Look for key words or phrases like Gigabit or Fast Ethernet, 10/100 or 10/100/1000, etc. If ever in doubt always call the manufacture before purchasing.