Will asked: “When I hook up my laptop to my TV through an HDMI cord and watch the video that’s coming off my laptop, I find I Get better reception when I connect an ethernet cable from my router to my laptop. Does this mean that I don’t have my wireless router setup properly, or is it just faster to just go through the ethernet? My router is a MediaLink 300n and I have an Intel Wifi Link 1000BGN in my laptop.”
It’s just simple math. Your Internet connection is faster than your Wi-Fi can carry. There are a variety of reasons for this. The router you have is a single band router (meaning one radio), so if any 802.11b or 802.11g devices connect with it, the router slows down and you no longer get the 802.11n speeds. However, even if you do get the higher speeds, it would seem from reading the online reviews that this particular router never even approaches its 300 Mbps theoretical maximum data rate.
It’s easy enough to see if this is the case. Connect wirelessly to your router and then run a test of your Internet speed by visiting speedtest.net. Now connect with a cable (be sure to disable wireless so you know it’s using the cable) and repeat the test. We’ll wager that you see a much faster connection with the cabled test.
So what’s the answer? New wireless standards like 802.11ac Wave 2 are incredibly fast when compared with 802.11n, but you want to be sure you get a wireless router that can handle it. Multiple antennas supporting MIMO (multiple in multiple out), dual band radios that can use both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz simultaneously, support for the new 80 and 160-MHz channels–features like those are necessary to get the most speed possible.
And, of course, your laptop would also have to support connecting with 802.11ac, which that Intel radio does not. However, just upgrading to a new 802.11n router with multiple antennas and multiple radios would make a huge difference. Especially if you are seated relatively close to your TV, and there isn’t anything interfering between the wireless router and your laptop, just moving to the 5 GHz band should help.
We hope you get things figured out! Thanks for listening!