Jim from Maine asks:

How does a 150 mpbs speed router increase my speed if I’m only getting a 20 mbps speed from my cable internet carrier?

Jim, that is an excellent question!

These numbers actually represent what is called throughput. This is the amount of data transferred between places in a specific amount of time. In this case, Mbps = megabits per second. What you want to remember is that there are several factors in determining your actual throughput. The two big ones you want to look at are your Wireless LAN speed and your Wired Internet speed.

Wireless LAN – LAN stands for local area network. This means all the devices connected to the wireless within your home.  If you are transferring between a wireless laptop and a wireless printer, you will get a potentially faster transfer rate than over your Internet connection. This is the 150 Mpbs throughput.

Wired Internet – This is the maximum speed determined by your service provider. It’s the wired connection that comes into your house and into your modem/router supplied by your service provider. This is the 20 Mpbs throughput you are asking about.

Another thing that can affect the actual throughput would be your wireless adapters. Older adapters may only support wireless g or b, but wireless n is much faster.  Wireless g can cap out at around 54 Mbps, but wireless n can go up to 300 Mbps or higher and provides a greater range than the previous bands.

Also keep in mind the higher the throughput, the better connection you will have with multiple devices. You’ll have more throughput to “split” between the devices. This can also have an effect on the range of your devices’ wireless connection.

So while over the ‘Net, you may not see any higher than the 20 Mbps your provider offers, there are certainly advantages to having higher throughput if you use multiple devices over a local network.

– Audra