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Author Topic: Wireless 5GHz - v- 2.4GHz  (Read 7141 times)

kitz

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Wireless 5GHz - v- 2.4GHz
« on: June 22, 2014, 12:07:26 AM »

I recently had in my mitts on a dual band 5GHz wifi router, so thought I'd do some testing to see how it compares with my 802.11n 2.4 GHz
Thought someone may be interested in how it compares in a real world situation.

Tests were performed using speedtest.net  London Namesco server on a windows 8.1 laptop & ipad2
The summary shows the mean average of 3 tests at each location.  If any particular test showed an unexpected result a further test was run.

 I'll attach the results summary and let you draw your own conclusion, suffice to say the only real benefit of 5Ghz was if using the laptop in the same room as the router.  Other than that well..... it was totally useless in the garden.  :(
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loonylion

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Re: Wireless 5GHz - v- 2.4GHz
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2014, 12:09:49 AM »

That's interesting, because my 5ghz wifi (802.11a) works fine anywhere in the house or garden, just as well, or maybe marginally better, than my 2.4ghz g wifi (both networks powered by a HP procurve WAP).
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kitz

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Re: Wireless 5GHz - v- 2.4GHz
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2014, 12:17:21 AM »

If yours is ac, that may make some difference?

Unfortunately I have very little info about the other router other than  "2.4GHz 300Mbps and 5GHz 300Mbps connection"
The ipad wouldnt connect to both the 2.4GHz and the 5 GHz connection, so that will have hampered things too as I had to manually select which one I wanted to connect to.   This is a restriction of the ipad.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2014, 12:30:06 AM by kitz »
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kitz

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Re: Wireless 5GHz - v- 2.4GHz
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2014, 12:34:19 AM »

PS

Im not sure if this is co-incidence or not..  Normally my phone will last a couple of days without charging.  But whilst the other router was in use I had to charge it slightly more often.   Has anyone else seen similar or is there an explanation..  or was it just one of those things?
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loonylion

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Re: Wireless 5GHz - v- 2.4GHz
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2014, 12:52:15 AM »

It's not 802.11ac, it's 802.11a, 54mbps 5ghz. It never really caught on.
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roseway

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Re: Wireless 5GHz - v- 2.4GHz
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2014, 07:40:21 AM »

My Billion 7800DXL has a choice of 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz (5 GHz by default) and I initially found that the WiFi wasn't as good as I hoped. But switching to 2.4 GHz made a big improvement in signal strength and stability. This was over a distance of about 10 metres and through two brick walls and a floor.
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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: Wireless 5GHz - v- 2.4GHz
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2014, 08:08:50 AM »

Interesting results.   I think it was always accepted that 5 GHz would have poorer range, but it is meant to offer better bandwidth.

I also experimented with it using the 7800DXL, but abandoned it in favour of 2.4.  That followed a test of walking up my drive, and down the garden, to identify the cut off point - 2.4 won by a good margin.   I have now disabled 5GHz.

But  I vaguely recollect however that I also tried testing file transfer rates, copying between the MAC Mini and the file server.  Normally it's connected by cable, but I'm pretty sure I tried WiFi when I got the Billion just to compare, and got absolutely 'wow!' transfer speeds at 5GHz.   I'll try and repeat that experiment later today, and share the results.
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kitz

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Re: Wireless 5GHz - v- 2.4GHz
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2014, 10:03:08 AM »

Thanks for the comments and your own observations. 
One of the things that triggered the testing was the poor signal in the garden.  I was very surprised as it was the first time I could recall not being able to get any signal at all.  Even on my old st585 be box I could still use my laptop from the patio.  Granted the router location has changed since then but not by much only a couple of meters to the corner of the room.   

5ghz still reaches my lounge corner previous 'dead spot' ok, although I've long wondered if that's not helped by some sort of interference coming from a neighbours property.

Yes please do 7lm..  Are they in the same room?

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JGO

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Re: Wireless 5GHz - v- 2.4GHz
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2014, 10:06:00 AM »

IF all else is equal, 5 GHz is 6 dB worse due to frequency, maybe a dB more for worse NF and whatever the bandwidth ratio is, but set against probably a dB or two for a more efficient aerial.

But as Kitz says " If yours is ac, that may make some difference? "  - As most WiFi aerials are monopoles with an earth "by guess and by God !",  an AC power line could make a lot of difference in some directions.
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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: Wireless 5GHz - v- 2.4GHz
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2014, 11:34:07 AM »

   I'll try and repeat that experiment later today, and share the results.

OK, here we go, crude and probably not the best tests, but…

1gig file (1024^3 bytes), passed to/fro via Samba share.  Fedora server at remote end, accessed by 2009 Mac Mini , OS/X 10.8.5 client, WiFi via Billion 7800DXL.

No special effort to 'quieten' either system, update checkers and other housekeeping tasks may have been chattering away. 

File copied by 'cp' command, source file 'touched' between copies.  Wireless distance about 15ft, strictly through two layers of stud & plasterboard walls, but also obscured visibility thorough open door.
 

Gigabit lan, 3 runs each way...:
      read time      write time
      33sec            18sec
      32sec            18sec
      32sec            19sec

I reckon that's average read rate circa 268Mbps, write rate circa 477Mbps

2.4GHz wireless…

      160sec          138sec
      154sec          160sec
      156sec          138sec

I reckon that's average read rate for 2.4 GHz circa 52.5 Mbps, write rate circa 56.0 Mbps

5 GHz wireless…

      130sec          125sec
      136sec          145sec
      151sec          145sec

I reckon that's average read rate for 5 GHz circa 59.0 Mbps, write rate circa 59.0 Mbps


Reconsidering my previous comments, it's actually the 2.4GHz rates that I find to be a 'wow', being about a five fold improvement compared to the last time I attempted to measure WiFi rates, between an old DG834GT and a 2005 Dell laptop.  But the 5GHz was only marginally better.

The OS/X network utility claimed zero errors during the duration of testing, which I don't entirely trust.

Feel free to check my arithmetic, or to point out flaws in my method, I'm definitely thicker than I used to be and rarely take offence.   :)


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kitz

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Re: Wireless 5GHz - v- 2.4GHz
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2014, 08:56:55 PM »

Thanks 7LM, like you say not that much faster with 5 GHz either, but at least some slight improvement.

Perhaps mine is duff because as soon as it goes through one wall the speeds deteriorate quite quickly.
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Berrick

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Re: Wireless 5GHz - v- 2.4GHz
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2014, 09:47:45 PM »

IMO its difficult to get a good comparison due to the differences in the way 2.4Ghz, 5Ghz and the equipment being used works, for example

General rule of thumb the higher the frequency the lower the distance a signal will travel compared to a lower frequency but the higher the frequency the more data can be transmitted.

At 2.4Ghz reflected signals are considered interference and ignored but 5Ghz will use these signals to improve performance and provide higher data transfer at a greater distance compare to 2.4Ghz etc

If your AP has MiMo (needed to get the higher data transfer rates) and one WiFi station does and anther doesn't then this will adversely affect your results.

Don't forget that .11g equipment will connect to .11n but you wont get the throughput

You can get huge differences in through put just by changing the equipment you are using

Windows Lies; it doesn't show true values

And lastly home WiFi never perform's as well as business WiFi but then home WiFi doesn't cost as much ;)

 
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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: Wireless 5GHz - v- 2.4GHz
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2014, 12:10:25 PM »

I couldn't resist doing some more experiments, again using the MAC Mini and the 7800DXL.

1) With router upstairs, in furthest cornet of house (still attached by cable to the main LAN):

5GHz would not connect at all to begin with, until I experimented with a few different antenna positions.  Eventually, it connected and average a rate of 5.4 Mbps, downloading a 100MByte file.

2.4GHz connected first time, and reliable connected regardless of antenna positions.  But the data rate plunged to 1.2Mbps.  I tried overriding the channel to various others, it made no difference.


2) With router sat on desk adjacent to the MAC:

5GHz averaged 36.32 Mbps - that's slower than it is at 15 feet away!
2.4Ghz averaged 53Mbps, similar to 15 feet away.




Thinking about it, the result from upstairs, where the flaky 5GHz was faster than the stable 2.4GHz may be explainable. The signal is weaker and prone to dropouts but, once connected, there should be less interference and so 5GHz may 'win'. 

I am at a loss to explain the results right next to the router, where 5GHz was distinctly slower.   ???

I am also at a loss to explain Kitz's results.

My own experiments have, I'm afraid, also rekindled my long standing scepticism about WiFi.  It serves an indispensable purpose in providing web-browsing access for mobile devices.  It is also capable, when conditions are right, of impressive data rates.   But for any 'serious' home networking it can't be relied upon and falls short of reasonable performance. That is with my devices and in my home at least, which is a modern home with only stud & plasterboard walls and I promise is not that big.   :(
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guest

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Re: Wireless 5GHz - v- 2.4GHz
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2014, 04:26:47 PM »

Those are pretty low speeds kitz - was it 802.11n on 5GHz and did you enable the full channel bandwidth?

For example pretty much every 802.11n adaptor I see is configured for 20MHz b/w as default (device properties usually allows a change) rather than 40/80MHz.

I told you the real-world speeds I was getting with the Ubiquiti AP - the USB2 rate was the limiting factor - but that only happened after I enabled 80MHz channels.

As part of this I discovered that the wife's lappie was set to 20MHz b/w so a quick change in device properties & speeds nearly doubled on 2.4GHz, never mind 5GHz.
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Re: Wireless 5GHz - v- 2.4GHz
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2014, 04:52:23 PM »

My own experiments have, I'm afraid, also rekindled my long standing scepticism about WiFi.  It serves an indispensable purpose in providing web-browsing access for mobile devices.  It is also capable, when conditions are right, of impressive data rates.   But for any 'serious' home networking it can't be relied upon and falls short of reasonable performance. That is with my devices and in my home at least, which is a modern home with only stud & plasterboard walls and I promise is not that big.   :(

You're wrong but that's because :

a) the manufacturers have always published PHY rates and you will only get 60-70% MAC efficiency so its been too much smoke'n'mirrors in the consumer market;

b) as mentioned above most 802.11n adaptors default to 20MHz b/w operation only

c) you're not spending enough money - I'm not kidding.

I have one of these :

http://linitx.com/product/ubiquiti-unifi-uap-ac-1300mbps-80211ac-24ghz5ghz-access-point/13806

and prior to that I thought as you did.

I don't now - I can max out the USB2 interface to a 802.11ac adaptor when the AP is in the same room. That's 280Mbps or so DATA TRANSFER. I put that in capitals because I simply couldn't believe it. I'm pretty sure that with an internal adaptor I could get 400Mbps burst speeds.

I can get (data, not PHY) speeds of over 120Mbps @ 5GHz through wooden floorboards/associated plasterboard but if you have any sort of blockwork/metal (pipes in my case) in the beampath (on any antenna) then it drops fast.

I bought the thing on the recommendation of RevK, and apart from it running surprisingly hot (vents may have helped here IMHO :P ) its been so trouble-free I am giving serious consideration to getting one of their external units. The AP software isn't that user-friendly but is comprehensive - eg you can have a rate-limited guest VLAN at the click of a button. The AP runs Linux & most of the advanced stuff assumes people would rather run a script than load up a "web interface".

tl;dr wireless works if you pay for proper RF engineering, which is the business-end of this sort of kit
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