One question we get via email quite often asks how come two different model Wi-Fi adapters with the same connection speed to the router (example: 150 mbps) have different Internet download speeds? It would seem if they both get a 150 mbps connection to the same router, and both have a 100% signal, that the data transfer rates should be identical.

This will not always be the case. Though they may be comparable, it is possible for one of the adapters to download or stream video faster with one particular router, but be slower with another. This type of speed is called 'througput speed' and this is the actual data transfer rate the adapter is getting to the Internet. Different Wi-Fi radios have different technology even though they may be the same standard (such as 802.11n). Therefore, while the connection speed to the router could be 150 mbps with both adapters, one may have a 25 mbps throughput speed to your ISP while the other may have 18 mbps. Transfers between the adapters and the router (such as a computer to computer file transfer) should be about the same with either device. But downloads from the Internet may be slower with one vs. the other.

So if both model Wi-Fi adapters you have get similar range, but model A gets faster throughput to your router than model B, does that mean you should toss model B? Not necessarily. Model A may be faster when connecting to your model router, but it could be slower when connecting to a different model router. An interesting experiment for those who have access to multiple adapters and routers is to do a througput speed test with each adapter to each of the different model routers and compare the rates. In some cases there may be a clear winner, while in other cases you may get a split decision.