What is a Gigabit Router?
This is a router that is capable of data transfer speeds of 1gbps and over. Ethernet cables typically maximise download and upload speeds compared to WiFi. WiFi speeds are getting faster as technology improves. Higher speeds mean smoother video streaming and file sharing over the network.
What is an internet speed test?
Internet speed tests are a way to check the maximum capacity of mbps or gbps of
internet bandwidth on your current device. There are many external factors that effect your final internet speeds.
Is your device gigabit capable?
For Windows computers: Go to the Start Menu, search for View Network Connections. Open the network connections window. The items represent a network or communication adapter (or service) inside your computer. Usually you'll see one wired adapter (Ethernet or Local Area Connection) and another for Wi-Fi. Click or right click an item to view more details about it. For Ethernet if you see "gigabit" or "GbE" or "1000mbps" the item is most likely gigabit capable. Fore WiFi you re looking for "802.11ac". You can Google the name and model of your item for confirmation.
For Mobile phones and Apple Mac: Just google the name and model of your device with "Is YourAppleMacModel gigabit capable".
Even if your router and device allow for gigabit speeds this may not always mean that you will
reach them. The service package from your ISP may cap your connection which can usually be lifted by changing package.
Factors that can affect your internet speed
Network congestion: When everyone is using the internet this can cause the internet to slow
down, most modern networks are able handle a lot of connections to the router however you
may still see reduced speeds at peak hours of internet usage, which for the UK is usually
between 7PM and 11 PM this is called the “internet rush hour”, this is likely because it is
around the time people return from work and start to use the internet. However in recent years internet infrastructure has been progressively upgraded to
reduce the impact of congestion.
Copper telephone lines: Copper cables are not as efficient at carrying data compared to fibre optic lines. Although good quality copper cable is fine in the end users network copper in the wider network can weaken the signal especially if used over longer distances.
Router Location: To achieve and maintain the fastest internet connection speeds at home you should use an ethernet cable from your modem to your device. Using WiFi is usually more convenient but you may run into a
few issue. Router location is very important as obstacles in between the router and your physical device as well as the distance will cause your connection and speed to degrade. Simply storing your router in a cupboard will mean you are obstructing it's signal. Usually the best place for a router is away from walls. the floor or dense materials like concrete and metal.
Interference: Even though Wi-Fi is on a different frequency to many other devices within the
home there is still a potential that these devices may cause interference for the router which will result in slower speeds for example signals like bluetooth, microwaves and even lights. Devices causing interference can be identified by simply switching off each device and checking to see if your internet connection is better.
Neighbours: Places with large usage of Wi-Fi will result in slower speeds,
for example busy apartment buildings may struggle with poor signal due to the fact they will have
multiple conflicting frequencies that can affect the internet. Sometimes using 5Ghz
over 2.4 Ghz may be recommended due to the fact it can support up to 1300 Mbps and also
allows for more channels than 2.4. Using wired connections will also negate the issue with
conflicting frequencies because it is straight connecting you to the router or modem instead of
using wireless that can be affected by the other factors above and other people using similar
Wi-Fi vs Hardwired?
Ethernet is almost always a more reliable solution over wireless due to the fact there are far less factors that can affect the cable. Just be sure to check wether the cable is broken or damaged. However wireless connections have got a lot better in the past years reducing the difference in the two in terms of speeds for example new standards like
802.11ac and 802.11n which offer a maximum speed of 866.7mbps has
become good enough to handle day to day tasks. Where as ethernet cables allow for a constant
connection where the connection will not drop and can offer up to 10 gbps if you’re using a Cat6
cable the exact maximum of the ethernet cable will depend on the cable you use and the
speeds are consistent.