Menu
Reply
  • 12
  • 0
  • 0
wyvernred
Tuning in
738 Views
Message 1 of 18
Flag for a moderator

Confused about Broadband speed test speeds???

Hi,

I wonder if any of you kind folks can help me?.  I am bit confused regarding broadband speed tests on virgin media.  I signed up in February for the up to 50mb broadband package, and have been testing my speed tests results both on my tablet and desktop pc.  The router is downstairs and I naturally get up between 40 and 50mb downstairs where the router is. I tested this on my tablet consistently on Ookla speed test.  I notice the further away I get from the router my speed drops, but I still have a very good signal (around 4bars on router reception.)

My speed seems to go up and down upstairs when I test on my router - sometimes its quite high, and other times its quite low. 

My main query is the spare room where I have my desktop pc.  Its a brand new pc that is dual ac compatible on the 5ghz band. 

I am confused because I am testing the broadband speed on Ookla on my tablet and the speed drops down quite significantly(quite low), but when I try the same speed test on my desktop pc on ookla, it is full speed ! (tested it a couple of minutes later.)  I am absolutely confused on what is happening, and I am wondering if my speed is being throttled by virgin?, ie, why is my speed much lower on my tablet upstairs, and much higher on my desktop pc upstairs?

Help!, as I am rather confused, am concerned about being throttled on my speed, and I am wondering as I signed up on the 17/2/17, whether I have still the right to cancel should my speed keep dropping, or whether it is a technical issue at Virgin's end?

 

Your help would be most appreciated.

 

Many thanks.

Jay.

 

 

0 Kudos
Reply
  • 21.18K
  • 588
  • 3.4K
Sephiroth
Alessandro Volta
722 Views
Message 2 of 18
Flag for a moderator

Re: Confused about Broadband speed test speeds???

You are suffering the vagaries of WiFi. It'll happen with any provider if you keep it set up in the same way.

There are many balls in the air, particularly:

1/
Bars mean little as signal strength reporting resolution is poor on a tablet unless you use something like NETANALYZER to report the actual signal strength number.

2/
The PC will be in a different place from the tablet when you erasure speed. So signal strength will be different. For example,the antenna on your hub may be below the PC and has to pass through it to get to the tablet' sort of thing.

3/
5GHz signal attenuated faster than 2.4GHz due to the shorter wavelength being more easily absorbed by joists, fish tanks, cupboards etc.

4/
2.4GHz band is highly prone to contention from close neighbours.

5/
A tablet may behave differently from a PC in terms of WiFi speed due to antenna orientation.

At both my homes I use Powerline adapters to bring WiFi to different parts of the house.

Otherwise, WiFi is a total crapshoot.

Keep us posted.

Seph - ( DEFROCKED - My advice is at your risk)

  • 12
  • 0
  • 0
wyvernred
Tuning in
716 Views
Message 3 of 18
Flag for a moderator

Re: Confused about Broadband speed test speeds???

Hi Seph,

Many thanks for replying to my post, much appreciatedSmiley Happy

Thank you for the advice. I am on a different wifi channel - and no one is on the same on as me as I have checked.  bit confused whether virgin actually traffic manage or too many people in my network area?, cant understand this, as done as speed test on desktop pc upstairs on ookla, one test said 24mbps, and then did the same test on same pc a few minutes later and got full 50mb - cant understand this at all - this is pc with dual band router and ac wifi antenna in pc!

 

thanks for advice re: wifi powerline adapter - will have to try this to see if this makes any difference, thankyou.

 

0 Kudos
Reply
  • 9.37K
  • 362
  • 50
Superuser Emeritus
Superuser Emeritus
712 Views
Message 4 of 18
Flag for a moderator

Re: Confused about Broadband speed test speeds???


wyvernred wrote:

I wonder if any of you kind folks can help me?.  I am bit confused regarding broadband speed tests on virgin media.  I signed up in February for the up to 50mb broadband package, and have been testing my speed tests results both on my tablet and desktop pc. 

The router is downstairs and I naturally get up between 40 and 50mb downstairs where the router is.

That sounds normal, even at close range wifi can be a bit unreliable, being subject to all kinds of radio interference.

The only reliable way to test speed is using an ethernet cable directly between the computer and the hub. But if you know your wired speeds are reliable, you can then move on to seeing how reliable or unreliable your wifi is.

I tested this on my tablet consistently on Ookla speed test.  I notice the further away I get from the router my speed drops, but I still have a very good signal (around 4bars on router reception.)

Yeah, wifi is a form of radio transmission, which gets deflected, absorbed and distorted by objects in the way. So naturally the further away you get the less reliable the transmission/reception will be and so the lower the speed will be.

Note: You can't rely on the signal strength indicator on mobile devices as each company makes that up. i.e. what 5 bars means, what 4 bars means etc. What you need is to know the actual signal strength the iPad is receiving in dBm. For that you need a wifi scanner app.

Here's a table of speeds, which relate to the signal strength in dBm when using a device that uses an 802.11n wifi chip:

Ignore the 40Mhz column for now, as most people have their routers set to use 20Mhz (144Mb or below).

So that leaves the 20Mhz column. 

Lets assume that your tablet has a wifi chip that can only do one "spatial stream", which is the most common. That means the fastest it could communicate at is 72Mbps of data. BUT, not all of that data can be used for the message, some of it is the envelope. So you only get 2/3rds of that 72Mb, which is around 48Mb.

My speed seems to go up and down upstairs when I test on my router - sometimes its quite high, and other times its quite low. 

When the signal strength drops, what happens is the wifi chip then steps down the speeds in the table like gears to keep the signal reliable. So we go from the top speed 75Mb (which equals around 48-50Mb in actual speed test result), to 65Mb (43Mb), 58.5 (39), all the way down to 6.5Mb (4.3Mb) if the signal is the weakest it can be before it disconnects.

My main query is the spare room where I have my desktop pc.  Its a brand new pc that is dual-band ac compatible on the 5ghz band. 

802.11ac wifi chips are capable of much higher speeds, depending on which mode it connects at.

If, for example, it connects using the 40Mhz mode, then a strong signal could mean about 200Mb of data rate. In 802.11ac the actual speed you get (throughput after peeling off the envelope) is around half of the data rate. So 200Mb, could give 100Mb on an actual speed test.

However if you only have 50Mb broadband then no matter how fast your wifi is, you'll only get the speed result of the slowest bit of the pipe.

I am confused because I am testing the broadband speed on Ookla on my tablet and the speed drops down quite significantly(quite low),

Even if you have a very fast wifi chip in your tablet there can be multiple reasons for this.

It could be:

- Lack of signal strength, due to distance, resulting in a lower speed gear being used.

- Orientation causing the signal strength to be even lower sometimes.

- The tablet is connected to the 2.4ghz band, because the signal is slightly stronger, where it's not using its fastest speeds (see the first table). The 5ghz band is slightly weaker and decays quicker through objects, but you usually get twice the width (40Mhz) speeds.

- There's interference on that radio frequency, either from other routers transmitting, or from other radio sources.

but when I try the same speed test on my desktop pc on ookla, it is full speed ! (tested it a couple of minutes later.) 

I am absolutely confused on what is happening, and I am wondering if my speed is being throttled by virgin?

Virgin do not throttle your wifi. That's totally your responsibility. Virgin don't throttle the cable speeds at all, if you get lower speeds over a wired connection then its because there's a fault of some kind, or your neighbours are using up all the bandwidth. Wifi is also a lot like that, though much more a local phenomenon, where peoples routers and devices in signal range compete for bandwidth over the air-waves.

, ie, why is my speed much lower on my tablet upstairs, and much higher on my desktop pc upstairs?

The desktop pc using the ac wifi card has access to a wider channel and higher speeds, and maybe a clearer channel if it's on 5ghz. Maybe the tablet does too, or maybe not, depending on its model. It totally depends on the hardware capabilities of the wifi chip in the wifi card and how good the antenna is.

Help!, as I am rather confused, am concerned about being throttled on my speed, and I am wondering as I signed up on the 17/2/17, whether I have still the right to cancel should my speed keep dropping, or whether it is a technical issue at Virgin's end?

If you always get full speed via an ethernet cable then it's likely to be a normal wifi issue only, which is your responsibility to sort out. There's lots of things you can do to improve that.

You're 3.5 weeks into your contract, so test your wired connection asap.

Btw, the two most common types of cable fault that cause slow speeds on the cable network are SNR faults (which generally get fixed in a week or two) and peak time congestion faults, which can take up to a year to get fixed, if then. You won't be able to tell if you have either of those by testing over wifi - you need to use an ethernet cable - as wifi speed fluctuations are MUCH more common. e.g. if you have bad weather that interferes with the radio, and wifi is a form of radio.

Your help would be most appreciated.

Hope that helps.

 

Many thanks.

Jay.

 

 


 

  • 9.37K
  • 362
  • 50
Superuser Emeritus
Superuser Emeritus
711 Views
Message 5 of 18
Flag for a moderator

Re: Confused about Broadband speed test speeds???

I see Seph's replied while I was typing and wandering off into lala land. So lots of cross-over.

 

  • 9.37K
  • 362
  • 50
Superuser Emeritus
Superuser Emeritus
707 Views
Message 6 of 18
Flag for a moderator

Re: Confused about Broadband speed test speeds???


wyvernred wrote:

 

Thank you for the advice. I am on a different wifi channel - and no one is on the same on as me as I have checked.

You still can have radio interference that you can't see on the channel you're on.

  bit confused whether virgin actually traffic manage

No traffic management on the downstream, but they do traffic manage the upstream during peak time and weekends:

https://my.virginmedia.com/traffic-management/traffic-management-policy-thresholds.html

https://my.virginmedia.com/traffic-management/traffic-management-policy-30Mb-or-higher.html

or too many people in my network area?

We can't guess that for you. It's much more likely to be reduced speed because of poor wifi signal, than because of over-utilisation in your area.

There are other possibilities you haven't considered as well, wifi can fluctuate if the cable signal is a bit unstable too, so you might want to post your router stats (downstream, upstream, network log) from your VM hub, which can be found here: http://192.168.0.1/

, cant understand this, as done as speed test on desktop pc upstairs on ookla, one test said 24mbps, and then did the same test on same pc a few minutes later and got full 50mb - cant understand this at all - this is pc with dual band router and ac wifi antenna in pc!

Random testing won't get you anywhere fast. How about a more methodical approach?

 

  • 12
  • 0
  • 0
wyvernred
Tuning in
694 Views
Message 7 of 18
Flag for a moderator

Re: Confused about Broadband speed test speeds???

Hi Seth,

Thank you so much for your reply, its deeply appreciated. I will try using an ethernet cable directly between the pc and my router downstairs.

i am using a lenovo tablet for speed tests. seems to be read better speeds on my windows lumia 435 and my iphone 4s.

yes, the 802.11ac wifi chips is great on the lenovo desktop pc.

i dont actually use the ethernet cable at all Seth - particularly downstairs as i always get great speeds.

Seth, do you think it might be worth investing in an Wifi powerline adapter? Cheers.

 

 

 

0 Kudos
Reply
  • 12
  • 0
  • 0
wyvernred
Tuning in
690 Views
Message 8 of 18
Flag for a moderator

Re: Confused about Broadband speed test speeds???

hi mud _Wizard

 

many thanks for your advice, much appreciatedSmiley Happy its a lot to take in, but this really helps, thankyou so much.

0 Kudos
Reply
  • 12
  • 0
  • 0
wyvernred
Tuning in
686 Views
Message 9 of 18
Flag for a moderator

Re: Confused about Broadband speed test speeds???

Hi mud_wizard. thanks for info.

re below which you wrote:

There are other possibilities you haven't considered as well, wifi can fluctuate if the cable signal is a bit unstable too, so you might want to post your router stats (downstream, upstream, network log) from your VM hub, which can be found here: http://192.168.0.1/

Seth, any idea how i access and post my router stats?, havent a clue, thanks.

0 Kudos
Reply
  • 1.6K
  • 157
  • 362
vircom
Super solver
671 Views
Message 10 of 18
Flag for a moderator

Re: Confused about Broadband speed test speeds???

I cannot add to the excellent tech advice you are getting from Seth and mud_wizard except to confirm that there are many issues that can affect wifi and simple signal strength will not give the whole picture. I can however report that a good powerline wifi access point can boost performance significantly provided there are no high levels of interference swamping the band. I use a Devolo dLan 550 which also has an Ethernet port, but only transmits the 2.4G but there are others that cover 5G as well. I would suggest an access​ point rather than a repeateras likely to give a more dependable result.