Epitiro research reveals that consumers lose an average of 30% of download speed and face an increase in latency of 10-20% when using Wi-Fi connections in the home. Consumers may find on-line game play, VoIP telephony and video streaming unsatisfactory when using Wi-Fi while downloading large files such as MP3s, videos and programs will take longer.
“Our data shows that connectivity over Wi-Fi degrades broadband performance considerably in typical circumstances.” said JP Curley, CTO, Epitiro. “Consumers who are experiencing performance issues with Wi-Fi should take steps to improve their home environment or connect directly via wired ethernet.”
Many Wi-Fi routers share the same default communication channel which can cause interference in urban areas, and lead to dropped connections or slow service. Consumers can improve services by selecting a different modem channel.
Wi-Fi speeds will also be degraded by physical barriers such as walls, doors and furniture, as well as interference from other devices in the same frequency range including baby monitors, television remote controls, microwave ovens, garage door openers and cordless phones.
However, Epitiro has also discovered that web page download times are virtually the same using Wi-Fi or wired connections, indicating that consumer Quality of Experience (QoE) is not always directly related to speed. Web pages download times are less susceptible to changes in line speed as the many artefacts that comprise web pages are relatively small in size.
“Consumers should be selecting ISPs based on their ability to provide reliable service.“ said Curley.
From November 2010 to February 2011 Epitiro monitored the performance of 14,001 panellists in UK, USA, Italy and Spain. 56% of the survey group connected via Wi-Fi, 44% via wired ethernet connection. Epitiro’s ipQ Quality of Experience Analysis Solution was used to do the testing.
Epitiro recommends that ISPs measure QoE as well as QoS to ensure that services are meeting customer expectations, and to assist subscribers who may be getting lower speeds via Wi-Fi. Regulators can also benefit from QoE analysis by understanding how well applications such as email, web browsing, IPTV and VoIP telephony actually perform on consumer devices.
The full report “Wi-Fi in the Home – A Study into the Effect of the ‘Air Mile’ on Consumer Broadband Performance” is available on http://www.epitiro.com