Download speed is the rate that information can be downloaded from the Internet. It is measured in Mbps (megabits per second). NetSpot calculates this speed during Active Scanning, by sending queries to servers and measuring the speed at which information is sent and received.
NetSpot has two visualizations that show your download rate: Download Speed and Troubleshooting: Low Download Rate. If your network has areas of low download speed, then your first step should be to deselect all of your APs on the left sidebar and then re-select them one by one. Try to narrow down which APs are affected.
Strategies for Increasing Download Rate
- If there’s a more powerful (but slower) AP next to a faster (but less powerful) one, you should disable the slower AP. This will allow your clients to automatically connect to the faster AP.
- Still using outdated 802.11a/b/g equipment? It may be time to make a switch to 802.11n or 802.11ac.
- Enable support of 802.11n HT and 802.11e (WMM). Enable support of 40 MHz channels on the 5 GHz band. These technologies improve the throughput and performance of your wireless network, and will increase the number of simultaneously connected users which can be handled without serious issues. At least enable automatic selection of 20/40 MHz channels.
- Disable support for 802.11b protocol, leaving only support for 802.11g. Disabling 802.11b will automatically double the throughput of your radio-channels. If you can, disable 802.11g as well, and support only 802.11n and 802.11ac. It’s hard to find a Wi-Fi adapter that will not support n-protocol these days, so it is unlikely that you will be leaving any of your clients out of the connection zone. Most of the modern adapters will only emulate support of the older standards, and will natively work on 802.11n only. Stay informed about the peculiarities of your network devices, and try not to keep outdated devices that will slow down your whole network.
- It’s possible that your network is overloaded: if your APs have to keep too many users connected simultaneously, speed will suffer. Increasing the number of APs in your network will solve this problem.
- It’s possible your client adapters are overloaded. If that is the case, you will need to analyze the source of network traffic to/from your users, and either modify the traffic volume or upgrade the adapters.
- It’s possible that some of your network appliances are just slow (100 Mbit LAN adapters, etc). It’s important to keep your hardware consistent across the network. For example, make sure all your network adapters are working on 1 Gbit/s.
- Some networks utilize Wi-Fi repeaters or extenders (WDS, no cable connection). In this case, the speed for connections routed through the repeaters will automatically be twice as slow, as the repeater needs to communicate with the host AP and the client simultaneously. So it’s recommended to connect APs using cable, wherever possible.
- Interference may also negatively influence transmit rates. See Troubleshooting Overlapping Channels (SIR).