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Why does WiFi broadband speed vary from laptop to phone?


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I recently converted to 'superfast' broadband after 15 years of getting 3Mbs! (Rural areas look nice but not really cut out for tech LOL). Using a LAN cable, my laptop can now get about 50Mbs, on WiFi, it gets about 30Mbs. However, on downloading numerous different speed test apps on my phone, it comes up with just 2 to 3Mbs.

Do phones operate entirely differently to my expectations, or is there an issue I'm not aware of?

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It could be a number of things causing a slower speed test on your phone than laptop:

1) Wi-Fi hardware - if your phone is using older Wi-Fi hardware then it might not be able to operate at the same speed as the router can put out.

2) The CPU of the phone - slower, less equipped phones may struggle to keep up Wi-Fi speeds. Closing app's down etc. might help if you've got lots of things open and running in the background.

Speedtest.net is a good site to try and they also have an app that can be used on mobiles.

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Have just downloaded the 'speedtest' app as suggested, and got the result of, well see for yourselves LOL Phone is only a year old (Wileyfox Swift 2), yes, it's not cutting edge but watched the F1 race on it yesterday live in HD, not a judder, so plenty fast enough for me. Just the 'speed' thing confusing me. 

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5 minutes ago, TomsFocus said:

I've got a 2 year old Motorola One, fairly basic I think (don't know much about phones!) and still gets decent speeds...

 

Crikey, mine really is pants then LOL I wonder why I can access HD video, and HD live streaming with no issue at all, yet when I 'test' the speed, all I should get in theory is the giant pizza wheel of doom!

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Is your phone using the 2.4 GHz or the 5 GHz frequency?

You will get much faster Wifi using the higher frequencey. I just tested my phone and got 29.6 Mbps

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12 hours ago, StephenFord said:

Crikey, mine really is pants then LOL I wonder why I can access HD video, and HD live streaming with no issue at all, yet when I 'test' the speed, all I should get in theory is the giant pizza wheel of doom!

Ours is as bad as yours. Still manage to watch Netflix in HDR and Disney+ and stream live sports but like you mentioned Stephen that when you do the test it's very poor.

 

Screenshot_20210329-205719_Speedtest.jpg

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9 hours ago, unofix said:

Is your phone using the 2.4 GHz or the 5 GHz frequency?

 

On a quick 'google', it uses 2.4 Ghz

Also, quick update. Last night when I closed my laptop, I did another speed test (don't know why!) but as you can see, the speed shot up from previous. It's like the laptop was sucking all the WiFi up, which yes, I know, is ridiculous LOL

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It's not such a crazy idea that your laptop was hogging most of the band width. A lot can depend on your router and its settings, it is most likely operating in automatic quality of sevice (QoS) which means that it prioritises the Wifi traffic. Which by default will give devices like Fire Stick top priority, then laptops, then phones. If your router is less than 4 year old it will have both 2.4 and 5MHz frequency outputs. Put the phone on the 5MHz and the laptop on the other or vice versa. 

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11 minutes ago, unofix said:

If your router is less than 4 year old it will have both 2.4 and 5MHz frequency outputs. Put the phone on the 5MHz and the laptop on the other or vice versa. 

Router is ancient, about 10 years old, and only has 2.4Ghz. I have very modest 'broadband' needs, and as long as everything just works, I'm happy. Kinda like my car, it's 16 years old, but all still works LOL

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Hi Stephen, trust me even with a basic broadband speed you will see a massive improvement with a new router. If you have had it for 10 years your service provider will replace for free if was to fail which I feel it could do anytime soon 😉

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Have you tried to turn the router off and then on after a few mins?

sometimes a reset can work wonders. 

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8 minutes ago, Andyr55 said:

Have you tried to turn the router off and then on after a few mins?

sometimes a reset can work wonders. 

🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 I've been 'computing' since Windows 3.1 LOL Who knew a reboot could fix stuff...

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On 3/30/2021 at 10:07 AM, StephenFord said:

Router is ancient, about 10 years old, and only has 2.4Ghz. I have very modest 'broadband' needs, and as long as everything just works, I'm happy. Kinda like my car, it's 16 years old, but all still works LOL

If your router is that old then that could well be limiting your speed now if you've got a better connection with FTTC/VDSL.

This is from Wikipedia but it gives you a run down of the Wi-Fi standards and speeds over the years. If your router is at least 10 years old then you are possible running on Wi-Fi 4 (or N as it used to be called). The improvements in the standards over the years have helped with multiple connections etc. not just speeds so you might be better off seeing if your ISP can replace (for free if you've just extended your contract - don't pay if they say you need to) your current router with a newer model. You can always put the old one back in if you prefer.

Generation/IEEE Standard Maximum Linkrate Adopted Frequency
Wi‑Fi 6E (802.11ax) 600 to 9608 Mbit/s 2019 6 GHz
Wi‑Fi 6 (802.11ax) 600 to 9608 Mbit/s 2019 2.4/5 GHz
Wi‑Fi 5 (802.11ac) 433 to 6933 Mbit/s 2014 5 GHz
Wi‑Fi 4 (802.11n) 72 to 600 Mbit/s 2008 2.4/5 GHz
802.11g 6 to 54 Mbit/s 2003 2.4 GHz
802.11a 6 to 54 Mbit/s 1999 5 GHz
802.11b 1 to 11 Mbit/s 1999 2.4 GHz
802.11 1 to 2 Mbit/s 1997 2.4 GHz
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/30/2021 at 10:14 AM, unofix said:

Hi Stephen, trust me even with a basic broadband speed you will see a massive improvement with a new router. If you have had it for 10 years your service provider will replace for free if was to fail which I feel it could do anytime soon 😉

Absolutely 

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