Tests run in a study in Europe and the US show that people using home Wi Fi are getting significantly slower speeds than from a fixed broadband connection. However, most users tolerate the lower speeds for the convenience of mobility.
The research, which studied the results from over 14,000 Wi Fi connections in the UK, US, Spain and Italy, show that there is a 30% drop-off in speed when using Wi Fi.
However, users are trading the lack of speed for the benefit of mobility, according to Iain Wood, from network measurement firm, Epitiro, which carried out the study.
He also said that the majority of consumers tolerated the slower connection because it was unnoticeable for many users.
Speaking to the BBC, he said: “Most of us do e-mailing and web surfing and for these things there is precious little difference between the 50Mb/s services and an 8Mb/s service.”
However, the degradation of speed does become more noticeable when downloading video or watching IPTV. Services like Skype could also be affected, according to wireless expert, Professor Andy Nix, from Briston University.
“If you have a poor quality router and you are using Wi Fi at some distance away from it, you could struggle to have a decent Skype conversation,” he told the BBC.
The problems of speed can be overcome by using good quality Wi Fi equipment and positioning. Improvements to connections can also be made by changing channels on Wi Fi routers to reduce interference. This can be particularly effective in urban locations, where there are likely to be many other routers operating on the same channel.
Other devices in the home, such as TV remotes and cordless phones, could also cause interference to Wi Fi connections.