Getting the Best Ethernet Speeds

Connecting directly to a GB ethernet port on your computer is always the best way to connect to any broadband service. Fortunately, many laptops do have ports (USB, Firewire, or other) that can be connected to an Ethernet cable (through an Ethernet adapter) directly to a router or switch enabling full gigabit connectivity. So, if you are purchasing a new computer, confirm it has an Ethernet or another port that enables a gigabit (not 100 MB) connection to the Ethernet.

Currently, the highest WIFI standard in the US is 802.11ac, which can provide WIFI speeds up to  1.3 gigabit/sec.  However, most WI-FI devices are not designed to take advantage of gigabit communication rates through a WI-FI connection and are likely severely limiting your connection speeds. The 802.11n standard is capable of only 450Mbps.  When you purchase your new devices (whether routers, computers, or smartphones), we suggest that you look for devices with the 802.11ac standard.  Just remember, your speed will reflect the slowest wi-fi radio in your connection.

Note that these speed numbers are theoretical. They assume an unobstructed pathway and a  relatively short distance between the access point and the WI-FI enabled device. If you have a large home, you might improve your WI-FI service significantly by adding a few strategically placed access points.

LAHCF Routers

LAHCF provides each member with a Plume router, and, if requested, will install Plume access points at cost.  The Plume router is a state-of-the-art gigabit router that runs the latest accepted WI-FI standard.  This should be used in your fiber network to achieve the best WI-FI and networking speeds possible.  Older or less sophisticated equipment might give you slower speed results.

In addition to excellent speeds, the Plume router enables Next Level Networks to receive information about the health of your connection. They will report and fix issues with the router if anything goes wrong. This is not the case if you are providing your own router.

WI-FI Speeds

The table below shows performance information for a variety of WI-FI standards. You’ll likely never see anything above 500 Mbps on 802.11ac class gear (currently the fastest available). Thus if you want to approach gigabit speed you’ll need a hardwired connection:


Connecting with a USB — Ethernet Adapters

As mentioned above, many laptops today do not come with an Ethernet port, and the only way to connect them with a wired connection is via a USB to Ethernet Adapter.  To ensure a high connection speed, purchase an adapter that can connect with a USB 3 port to gigabit Ethernet or another adapter that can support gigabit speeds. Please note that USB2 ports cannot support gigabit speeds.  These adapters are available from many store including Target, Office Depot, or online. We suggest something like the Linksys Adapter below.

Linksys USB3GIG USB 3.0 Gigabit Ethernet Adapter

Linksys USB3GIG USB 3.0 Gigabit Ethernet Adapter

* There is a nearly-as-complex similar situation for USB as discussed here with the actual speeds far lower than the theoretical ones. The table below shows performance results for one of the USB3-class network adaptors.


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