Presented below is a table of comparative network speeds.
It is important to know the relative speeds when making purchase decisions on networking.
It is also important to know that network speeds are subject to the principal that they only run as fast as their slowest link. They’re subject to bottlenecks.
For example, no matter how fast your in-building wired Ethernet or WiFi/Wireless speed is, your speed to the public Internet is likely limited to the speed your broadband provider gives you. It provides no benefit to upgrade your internal network, without also upgrading your bandwidth provider with a faster (more expensive) service.
On the other hand, in-building computer-to-computer or computer-to-device or client-server traffic does not touch the global Internet, and doesnt depend on your provider’s bandwith.
There was a time where “wired” was faster than “wireless” but with new innovations in Wirless N and Wireless ac (802.11n, 802.11ac) standards, that’s no longer true. However, BOTH ends (pc, router) have to support the standard to achieve that speed. And laptops sometimes skimp on the WiFi.
The common types of interent to consider, roughly in order slowest to fastest, are:
- Broadband Internet
- Connects the network in your building to the outside world, the wider public internet, the WAN (wide-area network). Typically provided by a cable or phone company, eg, Comcast, Time-Warner, Optimum.
- Wired networking. Eg, cat5 cables and RJ45 wall outlets.
- WiFi / Wireless
- To/From the Wireless Network Adapter (NIC) in your laptop, printer, smartphone, tablet over the air to the wireless router, often provided by your broadband provider.
Table of Relative Network Speeds
|Broadband Internet (red)|
|WiFi / Wireless (blue)|
|Low-end residential broadband||5 Mbps|
|Wirless g, 2.4 GHz band, mid-2000s (54 Mbps nominal, but only 50% efficient)||22.5 Mbps|
|Wirless N, 2.4 GHz & 5 GHz band, 2010, uses (MIMO), (54 Mbps nominal, but only 50% efficient)||22.5 Mbps|
|Mid-grade residential broadband||25 Mbps|
|Starting-level business, Hi-end residential broadband||50 Mbps|
|Standard Ethernet “Fasternet” (nominal 100 Mbps but only 50% efficient)||50 Mbps|
|Mid-grade business broadband||100 Mbps|
|Hi-end business broadband||150 Mbps|
|Wirless N-150 (MIMO)||150 Mbps|
|Wirless N-300 (MIMO)||300 Mbps|
|Wirless N-450 (MIMO)||450 Mbps|
|New Gigabit Ethernet (nominal 1000 Mbps but only 50% efficient)||500 Mbps|
|Wirless N-600 (MIMO)||600 Mbps|
|Wirless AC-1200 (MIMO)||800 Mbps|
|Wirless N-900 (MIMO)||900 Mbps|
|Wirless AC-1900 (MIMO)||1000 Mbps|
Mbps = Mega-bits per second; divide by 8 to get MBs = Megabytes per second)
MIMO = multiple input and multiple output antennas
You can test your current Internet speed from your current location via