Broadband speeds cut by WiFi use

March 12, 2011 - 0:0

Using WiFi to access the internet can slow broadband speeds by up to 40 percent and by an average of 30 percent, a new survey of 14,000 people across Europe has found.

The study, by internet analysts Epitiro, also found that using baby monitors, microwaves, cordless phones, video games consoles and other devices that use the radio spectrum all had a significant impact on WiFi speeds.
Although it has long been accepted that using WiFi does not produce speeds as high as those available through the fixed line internet, it had not been previously thought that the decline in quality was quite so obvious in a domestic setting. Across Europe, the average drop was 30 percent, reaching as high as 40 percent in Italy. The UK average was 26.5 percent.
Although Epitiro’s research suggested that for normal web browsing and email the drop in broadband speeds was unlikely to be a problem, streaming video and online gaming, which is more intensive, could be severely affected.
“Our data shows that connectivity over WiFi degrades broadband performance considerably in typical circumstances.” said the company’s Chief Technology Officer JP Curley. ""Consumers who are experiencing performance issues with WiFi should take steps to improve their home environment or connect directly via wired ethernet.”
Epitiro pointed out that many WiFi routers share the same default communication channel, which means urban areas with a number of networks can suffer from interference. Aside from physical barriers such as walls, doors and furniture, WiFi signal is also affected by interference from other devices in the same frequency range. These can include baby monitors, television remote controls, microwave ovens, garage door openers and cordless phones.
A new speedchecker from British broadband provider TalkTalk uses a five-stage process to examine what is slowing down their connection. Dido Harding, TalkTalk’s Chief Executive, said: “Customers tell us they want consistent speeds and a reliable connection. Our Speed Checker allows customers to see the speed delivered from their exchange, the speed arriving at their home and the speed they’re actually seeing on their PC or device.” She added that 20 percent of customers were able to make simple changes that increased their broadband speed.
(Source: Daily Telegraph)