Jump to content

Fluctuation. Confused??


Recommended Posts



I have a concern/question about mbps download speeds over my wireless router and whether or not I need a new router OR if what I’m experiencing is totally normal.


So, I am signed up to receive 50mbps from my internet service provider. When connected directly to the modem, I’ll get around 50mbps for the most part.


Over Wi-Fi, when I do my download speed test on the website TestMy.net, I’ll usually get a 20-40 mbps rate. One test will show, for example. 30.45 mbps. The next test about ten seconds later will show 36.75mbps. The next test will show 35.01mbps. The next, 35.75mbps. The next, 39.85mbps.


Now, let’s fast forward to another scenario, say two hours later (keep in mind that I am staying at the same location with my laptop). I’ll pull up TestMy.net. First test, 39.03. Next test, 36.65. Next test 25.43. Next test 20.09 mbps. Next test 25.23 mbps. Next test 29.53.


The next day, I may do a series of test around a specific hour in the day and get consistent numbers between 40 and 42mbps.


One time, I even got a better download speed over Wi-Fi in my living room than I did directly next to the wireless router itself.


The mbps download speed rarely ever drops below 15 mbps. I like to stream HD movies on Netflix (which is the only thing I do with my internet, besides basic internet, news, email and other small tasks). However, my concern is my WiFi fluctuating so much. Is too much internet speed fluctuation bad for streaming an HD movie on Netflix? Or is it really internet speed BY ITSELF that matters?


For example, Netflix recommends 5mbps download speed for HD movie content. Hardly and rarely ever does my Wi-Fi fluctuate below 10mbps. Like I said, it usually fluctuates between 20-40mbps. Sometimes it will drop down in the 10-20’s, but this isn’t as constant as going between 20-40mbps.


So my question is, if I want to stream 720p HD Netflix content on my computer, is it fine for my wireless router to fluctuate between 20-40mbps, or even 10-40mbps? Is the fluctuation itself going to interfere with my video experience, or will my video experience only have problems with bad internet speed alone. Does it sound like my wireless router is working for my internet needs or should I invest in a new wireless router?





Signed a person confused about fluctuation.


Edited by CA3LE
results grahped
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You should be able to stream without issues... except when your speed looks like this.



At that time you may experience quality fluctuation but I would still bet it wouldn't cause major buffering issues.


If you're able to hook directly into the modem and get better results we should look to improve your wifi.  Could be as simple as better router placement or changing the channel in the router settings.


For all of your testing in this instance, pick a size and stick with it throughout your testing.  In your case, 50 MB should do the trick.  You're already doing the right thing by focusing on the download test.  Just navigate to the download page and manually select the size.


* I know you already did but test directly to the modem again, reset the power to have the modem get the computer Mac address.  Make sure we get a nice baseline from right now.  Run the download test like 3 times.

* Next plug the router in, reset the power on the modem, plug directly into the router this time and run 3 more tests.  Keep the test variables the same for a more scientific comparison.  The only thing that should change is the router being added.

* Do 3 more tests on wifi about 10 feet from the router.  Do another 3 tests further away in an area you often use the wifi.  Bring your laptop near your TV and test the wifi to that location too.


Compare those results.  If the wifi results are terrible you may just have interference in the area.  Sometimes going into the router settings (often found at and changing the wifi channel helps.  Change it and test to see if there is an improvement.  Also look at the placement of the router.  You want it away from other electronics, even devices that don't emit wifi can and will interfere.  The best placement is at the center of your home (away from any brick), the worst is in the corner.  Most routers have omnidirectional antenna, so the radio waves go in 360 degrees.  If you place it in the corner of your home you're only effectively getting 90 degrees of the total output where you need it, 270 degrees is going away from your home.  Having said that, the router in my own home is placed in a way that wastes 180 degrees and I get great performance everywhere.  You can actually take a reflective surface (in a pinch the inside of a Pringles can works) and place it behind the antenna in a way to make it reflect the signal back to the house.  Just make sure it doesn't have lines, crinkles or wrinkles, nice smooth reflective surface.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

One other thing that can make quite a surprising difference on Wi-Fi is how the antennas are positioned, assuming the router has external antennas. Generally I find Wi-Fi performs noticeably quicker with the antennas positioned in a V for 2 antennas or W for 3 or more antennas.  On a router with 2 or more antennas, they each transmit or receive independently for diversity / MIMO, so depending on how they are positioned, extra bandwidth is achieved bouncing the signals of various objects compared to having the antennas all facing directly up.  4G networks use a similar principle, using horizontal and vertically positioned antennas to effectively double the bandwidth.  This is why 4G modems with external antenna support have two antenna connections.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Unfortunately, your content contains terms that we do not allow. Please edit your content to remove the highlighted words below.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...