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Did you know that older devices may mean a slower Wi-Fi connection?

By: Westman Communications
Posted: May 13, 2021 15:57Internet

It’s true! Older devices may mean slower Wi-Fi connections for that device, and worse - for every other connected device too!

Understanding Wi-Fi 

Your Wi-Fi modem can operate on two different frequency bands: 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Wi-Fi on 2.4GHz travels farther but is slower than 5GHz. The 5GHz frequency does not sacrifice speed, and thus provides faster speeds to anything connected to the frequency. Older devices mostly operate on 2.4GHz band, while newer devices operate on either 2.4GHz or 5GHz.  

Read our full article: What is the difference between 2.4GHz and 5GHz

Your Wi-Fi connected device 

Device Wi-Fi speeds rely on the supported Wi-Fi technology, the number of transmitters or antennas in your personal device and other factors found within your device designs. Newer devices should be able to handle higher Wi-Fi speeds due to the newer technologies and abilities to transfer data faster. In comparison, older devices may not do so well, even under ideal conditions. 

Examples of maximum speeds based on devices based on 5GHz connection: 


*Expected Wi-Fi speed under good conditions with a compatible service plan and router. 


Device-specific tips to try and improve your speeds: 

If you notice that your device may not be working optimally on your Wi-Fi, here are a few things that might be happening and some quick fixes that might help! 

Factors Impacting Speed  Ways to Improve Speed 
Older devices that operate only on 2.4Ghz  Upgrade to a new device that is also capable of operating on 5GHz 
Running a large number of apps at the same time  Close inactive or unused apps or restart the device 
Software is outdated  Install the latest software updates and fixes 


How does your personal device impact your Wi-Fi performance? 

Though you may subscribe to a high speed Westman Internet plan, the device you are using may only perform at only a fragmentation of the maximum speed of your high-speed package. See the chart above. 

Older devices like early generations of laptops, smartphones, or tablets may be slower than those that are five years old or newer. These older devices might also will be impacting the overall performance of your Whole Home Wi-Fi network. 

How? All Wi-Fi enabled devices must connect and communicate with your Wi-Fi modem. The older devices communicate slowly with the modem, and every other device will have to wait longer until this device finishes, thus slowing the experience on the newer devices. 

Think of it this way:  
Think of it as a big discussion in a room. You have one central person capable of talking really fast, four other people capable of talking really fast, and one person who speaks slowly. 

Everybody talks to the central person. The fast people speak fast with that person, and the slow person speaks slow. As long as the slow-talking person is not continually talking, tying up the central person's time, it will NOT slow things down. But if the slow person is tying up the central person’s time, the other faster speakers must wait until the slow speaker is done talking, to have their turn in the discussion. 

In Real terms: 
If you had a first-generation iPhone and two brand new MacBook's, there is a high chance the internet may appear slow on those two laptops. The first-generation iPhone would be limited by its technology, so the modem would try to accommodate for that device. One way this can be done is by slowing down everything else. How do you speed things back up again? If the older device is eliminated from the network, speeds tend to go up. 

These facts aren’t always true. Since not all devices are created equal, you might notice that some of your devices perform faster when connected to your Wi-Fi network than others, but these are great tips to know and follow! 

Looking for help with Wi-Fi issues on your device, or your Wi-Fi speed? Check out Westman Support

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