I own a Gigabit Wireless Router, I am not hitting 1Gbps on LAN. Why?

In general, we have few major ISP’s Provider here, in Malaysia. With TIME being the “King of the fastest internet”, offering up to 1Gbps in their recent plans for high rise building equipped with fibre, UniFi however, conquer most of the residential areas and be the “King of the residential area” internet provider.

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ISP’s Package offering in Malaysia.

Most of the time, the ISP will supply a decent router for their customers, being, the most cheapest in the market for the plans. Most of the entry level dual band wireless router with Gigabit ports able to support up to 300 Mbps via wired connection.

Ethernet Cable

In general, an Ethernet cable was widely used in the form of a network cable primarily used on wired networks. An Ethernet cable connects devices within a network such as LAN, WAN, PC, wireless routers and switches. Normally, an Ethernet cable provides a backup alternative when wireless connectivity is down. However, it not only serves as a backup, but, also serves as the main connectivity option for those who wish to use the internet via physical connection.

Does cable length matters?

Most standard Ethernet cables were set to 100 meters as the maximum allowed length, and, even if a shorter cable was bought over the long (100 meters) cables, doesn’t matter as, you won’t see any data loss in that.

Cable Type

Currently, there are several variants of the Ethernet cable that available in the market, one of them differs in the Ethernet Categories type, as an example, Cat 5, Cat 5e, Cat 6, Cat 6a and Cat 7.

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Ethernet Cable Categories.
  1. Category 5 (Cat 5) is an old standard cable that will support up to 10 – 100 Mbps and considered as an “outdated” network cable, currently.
  2. Category 5E (Cat 5e) is the most preferred cable currently and will support until 1Gbps (1000Mbps) and, its technology cuts down the infra-wire interference within the cable.
  3. Category 6 (Cat 6) is the newer version of Cat 5e cable where, it can support up until 1Gbps.
  4. Category 6 Advanced (Cat 6a) is the upgraded version of Cat 6 network cable, where, the maximum speed it can support is up to 10 Gbps.
  5. Category 7 is the fastest Ethernet network cable currently in Malaysia, by which, it can support up to 10Gbps solid and most expensive network cable type. Price varies according to the brands.

What are the best Ethernet cables (Brands)?

Wait, don’t skip this part yet, currently, there are several brands of Ethernet cable in Malaysia. I will list out the brands here from the low quality to the highest quality Ethernet Cable.

  1. AMP (Cheaper)
  2. D-Link (Recommended)
  3. Dintek (Highly Recommended)
  4. UrGreen (Highly Recommended)

For the users who subscribed over 500 Mbps packages, it is highly recommended to shift to Cat 6 Ethernet cable.

I am currently using D-Link Cat 6 network cable for all my physically connected devices. If, you wished for a good brand, then, it is highly recommended to try Dintek or UrGreen cable.

Networking Equipment’s 

In general, each internet bandwidth requires a specific router to let it be a low end to a higher end wireless router to fully utilize the internet subscribed bandwidth. As an example, a low end Gigabit router might support up until 300Mbps solid via wired and wireless while a higher end Gigabit router might support up until 1Gbps solid via wired and perhaps, 500 – 1Gbps bandwidth over the wireless depends on the specification of the router (MIMO), by which, will be further explained in this post.

ISP’s Modem

The major disadvantage of using an ISP’s modem, you can’t customize or purchase (upgrade) from the shop is, your ISP’s modem, also known as “Modulator and Demodulator” device. Currently, if you’re using fibre broadband, your ISP should give a device called Modem that converts the analog signal to a digital signal to be sent/received to/from the wireless router connected to it.

Modem models that supports 1 Gbps internet speed

  • Huawei HG8240x
  • AN5506-04-BG
  • Alcatel Lucent I-240-G
  • Nokia G-240G

If your modem is not in the list, then it is time to hit up your respective ISP’s to get a modem replacement to fully utilize your new internet speed.

Wireless Router

This is an important part of how, you’re going to fully utilize your internet bandwidth subscription.

Wireless Router Class

A gigabit wireless router is won’t promise you an actual gigabit speed, especially in wireless connection. Each router manufacturer news up their respective wireless router models that, supports the suitable range of ISP’s packages. This is an excellent move by respective manufacturer, to properly guide the user to buy a suitable wireless router according to their current subscription.

Below, are the list of wireless router models from three main router manufacturer in Malaysia:

wireless router model
Wireless router class according to the Malaysian market.

However, the guide only shows the wireless router class for each ISP package and the test was performed via physical (LAN) connection.

Not all Wireless AC Router comes with WAN & LAN Gigabit Port

An AC router in general comes with Gigabit WAN/LAN port. But do you know that, not all Wireless AC routers offers Gigabit WAN/LAN port? As an example, take a look at Tenda AC6 Wireless Dual Band AC1200 router, the router offers 802.11ac standard, but, at the same time, it comes with a Fast Ethernet port.

Why? Respective individuals who subscribed to a lower internet bandwidth subscription wouldn’t need a high end router, and, they prefer an AC router by trading Gigabit Ethernet port to Fast Ethernet port. In a simpler term, it is an alternative for “tight” budget users who opting to buy a decent, yet, an AC wireless router.

Advertised Speed vs Actual Speed

Now, this is the major concern that bother’s most users. Some user’s will seek for a proper guide on why wireless is not widely preferred for most end users, especially, if, you wish to fully utilize your internet speed via wireless.

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Marketing vs Actual Wireless Speed.

The possible factors are:

Hardware

Your end device, especially older device couldn’t cope up with the current requirement in order to fully optimize your wireless experience. Your device should be equal to the wireless router, if not, better.

Congestion (Especially 2.4GHz Wireless Band)

If you’re testing in the wireless congested areas, especially during a peak time, then, you can’t really optimize your speed via wireless, especially testing with 2.4GHz wireless bands.

How to fully optimize my wireless experience?

First of all, you should do a basic troubleshoot of your built-in wireless adapter (if you’re using a laptop). If, you’re built-in wireless adapter not supports the current desired speed, then, probably you will face a “bottleneck” via wireless connection and, it is not advisable to hit up to the call center of your respective ISP’s and seek for their expertise. Most ISP’s only promises the optimum speed via wired connection. Hence, to summarize this point, it is highly advisable to use LAN connection, if not, a suitable wireless adapter (after market) that, supports the 1 Gbps speed.

Recommended USB Wireless Dual Band Adapter (Supports up to 1 Gbps)

Firmware

A firmware update is an important thing, that, has to be done by the user’s let it be those who opt to use an aftermarket wireless router or stick with ISP’s router, you need to constantly check your wireless router firmware updates.

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Firmware upgrade page of ASUS AC68U – running on Asus-Merlin.

Each router manufacturer has a responsibility to keep on improving their wireless router models to be up to date according to the current standard of networking. If the firmware were not updated, then even if you own an AC1200 wireless router (via LAN), you might not fully optimize your subscribed bandwidth if any speed boosting upgrades issued by your wireless router manufacturer, let it be via wired or wireless connection.

Network Speed Test Platform

In the recent years, most of the ISP’s have their own speed test platform for their subscribers. However, some of the speed test will be favorable to them, thus, it will give slightly “higher” speed compared to global speed test website. I will list down the speed test platform, particularly in Malaysia.

I didn’t list Fast speedtest platform here as, fast will automatically connect to the server hosted in the USA and as a result, the speed test may vary from the global speed test or ISP’s speed test platform. At the same time, Fast have a limited server by which slows down the performance of capturing your request due to network congestion, when people from different country accessing the same server.

Ping

Ping plays an important role in creating a good experience of your internet experience. Typically, ping refers to the time taken for the data to get from your computer, to the server and back to your computer is the amount of latency that you have. In the simplest explanation, “the lesser the ping result, the better.”

Factors that affects Ping:

  • Hops
  • Server Location (The further, the badder).
  • Packet Loss
  • Congestion
  • Background applications

Signs of a good Ping:

  • The best: 0-59 ms
  • Neutral: 60-129 ms
  • Worst: 130-199 ms
  • Good game (GG): 200+ ms

Conclusion

As to conclude this article, it is highly important for the end user to fully understand on why the wireless router were classed according to the offered internet packages by our local ISP’s. Ethernet cable plays an important role, no matter how fancy your wireless router would be, if, you’re using Cat 5 cable, then, you won’t be able to hit up to 1 Gbps internet speed. It is highly recommended to change your current cable, if you’re using Cat 5, let it be the cable that connects to the WAN port of your wireless router from LAN port of your modem, then, it is time to check your cable type before opting to buy a better Ethernet cable.

If you’re a 1 Gbps user, and, you’re using the stock ISP’s supplied router, e.g AC1200, the best result you might get is around 350 Mbps via wired connection. The higher the internet speed, a better (advance) wireless router needed to fully optimize the higher speed. As an example, if you are planning to buy a high end wireless router, and, at the same time, you’re currently subscribed to 100 Mbps internet connection, well, you can, if and only if, you have a future plan to upgrade to a higher bandwidth or, your respective ISP’s decides to give you a ‘surprise’ internet speed upgrade.

Most ISP’s only promises solid subscribed internet speed tested only via wired connection. If, you complain, you can’t get the subscribed speed via wireless, then, the ISP’s can’t really help you. So, before hit up the call center, it is better to troubleshoot first, in order to save your own time and energy.

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