Tip to Increase Wifi Speeds on an 802.11ac Network

For the past couple of months, I have been benchmarking many Enterprise Access Points, and have tried to test every possible variable I can think of. During my testing, I found a “trick” that increased my Wifi speeds dramatically. First let me explain…

Most/All Enterprise Access Points (Aruba, Cisco, Meraki, Rukus, etc) use a feature called “Band Steering”, which steers 5Ghz compatible devices to use the 5Ghz channels. I always assumed that if I had a 5Ghz capable laptop, I would always be on a 5Ghz channel. (Conditions permitting). And while that is true, Ive noticed the access points handling my connection in some sort of “5Ghz Compatible” mode. (My made up term).
What I mean by 5Ghz compatible mode, is I am running on the 5Ghz spectrum, and my laptop has an 802.11ac chipset, yet my speeds increase dramatically when I force by laptop to only connect using 802.11a. I guess I assumed I would always connect via 802.11ac if both laptop and AP supported it.

So here it the trick (not really a trick).

  1. Open Network Connections and Right-ClickProperties on your Wifi Adapter

2. Click Configure on the window that appears

 

3. Click AdvancedWireless Mode – and change value to 802.11a

My average speed increased as follows (transferring 20 MB Files)
Average Upload Time: 13.7% Faster
Average Upload Mbps: 16% Increase
Average Download Time: 52% Faster
Average Download Mbps: 53% Increase

Just remember to switch this back in places that don’t have 802.11ac Wifi or else you may not have a wireless connection at all!