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Wireless Bandwidth (Speed) and Latency

Wireless Network uses Transmitted signal rather then Wire (CAT5e/CAT6). There are few parameters that are affecting Wireless Network communication that are not an issue when using Wired Network. The two most important variables are Signal Strength, Signal Stability.

Signal Strength is mainly depending on the Distance and the number and nature of obstructions. Stability is affected by the presence of other signals in the air + temporal changes in the envioroment.  As an example Computer movement and orientation, people movement, electrical appliances “kinking in and out”, and other interferences are constantly changing and affecting the signal in a temporal manner.

 The general results are that Wireless Bandwidth (Speed) and Latency becomes “None Stop” changeable variables.

 Wireless Bandwidth (or “Speed”) of Wireless depends on what standard you use (802.11b. 802.11g, etc.) and how much of the signal is available for processing.  The smaller the signal the less bandwidth you get.

Latency is created by the constant need to add extra processing to the signal in order to compensate for the instability. Latency per se is not created by obstructions; the Radio signal travels in the speed of light no matter what.  Latency is a matter of timing that depends more on the Hardware, and the processing that is performed on the signal by both the hardware and software.

If you make it your business to have a Clean Stable signal Latency would be reduced to minimum but it would always more than a Wired connection.

Clean Signal is not necessarily Strong signal but rather the best Signal to Noise Ration (SNR) that can be achieved.

Unfortunately the Green Bars of the signal strength provided by most Wireless Utilities it is more of a Gimmick rather then a Technical tool. It shows the actual 802.11x signal + Phone + Microwaves + Brain emissions, in other words the “Bars”  provide a visual representation of all the 2.4GHz in the atmosphere around them.

The real measure of Wireless signal capacity is Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR), a measure that takes into consideration the relevant Signal adjusted to the Noise Level.

In addition without special pro tools it is hard to identify and eliminate noise, thus the way to neutralize the noise and improve SNR is to get strong signal while the source and the client are physically as close as possible.

Functionally it means that if you experience Latency problems ignore the
Signal Strength Bar and improve your Signal Strength (as though you have only two bars).

Doing so might cost more money, but there is not really another way.

The following links describe variety of ways to achieve better signal.

Extending the Distance of Entry Level Wireless Network.

Using a Wireless Cable/DSL Router as a Switch with an Access Point

Wirelessly Bridging Home / SOHO Network.

Hi Gain Antenna for Entry Level Wireless.

Wireless Hardware - What Should I get? 

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