'Net speed: Wireless router the problem?

I subscribe to Charter’s cable Internet, and am allegedly paying for a speed of 60mbps. However, if I run one of the various speed-clock tools around the Web, the best I’ve been able to register is around 40mbps. And that was at 3:00AM.

Nevertheless, my bandwidth has never been a problem, so I haven’t complained. It’s been more than sufficient for my needs. Until now.

One of Charter’s selling points for their service is that it provides enough bandwidth to (specifically stated) play online games and watch streaming video on different devices, simultaneously. Up until now, I had never tested this. My only “device” is my computer (no television), and I am obviously not going to play World of Warcraft and watch Netflix at the same time on the same screen.

My fiancé lives in the apartment right next to mine, and because she has a big flatscreen TV but no cable, I set up her TV to access my WiFi so that she could watch Netflix. Shenanigans, I know, but it worked better for us to watch Netflix together on her sofa instead of sitting on uncomfortable chairs in front of my little computer screen in my bedroom.

Anyway, this is when I discovered that online gaming and viewing Netflix simultaneously just doesn’t work. Normally, when I play WoW, my latency hovers around a very sweet 50ms. If my fiancé fires up Netflix during my game session, however, my latency shoots up into the hundreds of milliseconds, and sometimes into the thousands, which obviously makes the game completely unplayable.

I’ve been intending to complain to Charter, but so far haven’t due to the aforementioned shenanigans (which will soon be moot, though, since my fiancé is moving in with me). But before I complain …

… could the problem be, not the bandwidth I’m getting from Charter, but rather my wireless router? That is, could the router be acting as a chokepoint, unable to process and transmit so much data at once?

I also wonder if Netflix is being given priority by Charter.

Yes, your wireless router could definitely be causing this problem and it sounds pretty likely. What model is your wireless router?

One Netflix stream and one game isn’t a lot of traffic though.

Is the computer on ethernet or is it wireless as well ?

Start with the easy stuff. Power cycle the router and change the wireless channel. The next thing to do would be to move it closer to the shared wall. If her TV and your router are 50 feet apart and separated by 10 sheets of drywall, that could be causing some of the issues.
After that, I’d attempt to wire up one of the devices. A trick is to pop off the face plate for the cable jack in each apartment on the shared wall. There’s a chance there’s no box and you can pass a cable from one apartment to the other.
Everyone loves wifi, but anytime you can get a wire from the device to the router, everything works better.

And, I assume you have the wifi secured, right? Everyone waiting at the bus stop out front isn’t watching youtube videos through your free hotspot?

Since you have cable internet, you more than likely are sharing bandwidth with the other cable internet users in your immediate area. That’s probably why you’re not getting your listed speed.

I’ve had a similar situation in the past and I did some tests via clocking tools (I happen to like speakeasy.net’s speed test but there are others).

I found that my wireless router was a choke point, especially when streaming Netflix on my TV and running a Youtube vid on the laptop. I fixed it by putting the TV on an Ethernet connection and moving my wireless router.

Since then I’ve changed to Google fiber. I can’t really check the wired data speed of the fiber because my computer speed is the choke point. ~750mbps :smiley:

The wireless router tops out at around 95mbps if I’m in the same room and falls to the 40’s at other locations in my house so I know that router location and the router itself limit the speed.

Well, the problem seems to be solved. We got my fiancé mostly moved in yesterday, and now her TV is right next to the router, though still using WiFi. She watched Netflix while I gamed last night, and I saw no performance hit. Yay!

Still, the previous issue puzzles me. While in her apartment, the TV was no more than about 20 feet from the router. Would simply having that wall in the way result in such a big bandwidth issue? My router is downstairs and my computer is upstairs, but that was never an issue. I originally had the computer downstairs when I first moved into this apartment, and moving it upstairs resulted in no difference in latency. Perhaps the combination of wall and ceiling/floor when trying to do both things at once was causing a bunch of signal bounce within my living room, creating interference?

Maybe worth mentioning that having a wifi transmitter right next to a TV, sometimes gives problems. My daughter had this - when she moved the wifi six feet, the problem was solved.