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WiFi Vs Internet Speeds: Differences Explained

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If you access the internet and use WiFi, you may have wondered what the difference is between WiFi and internet connections. While not exactly the same, there are some similarities.

In simple terms, your WiFi network provides a wireless connection to your router. The router connects to your modem and then the internet. But how is WiFi interlinked with internet speeds?

If your WiFi speed is slower than your internet speed, then your wireless devices will not receive your full internet speed. It’s important to optimize your WiFi network so it can effectively deliver your internet speed to your connected devices.

Let’s take a deeper look into WiFi vs internet speeds below.

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WiFi Speed Vs Internet Speed

WiFi data is digital information that is transmitted over wireless networks using WiFi technology. When you connect your smartphone, laptop or other devices to a WiFi network, you establish a wireless connection to the internet through a router or other access point.

However, WiFi has a limited range. Before connecting to the internet through fiber optics, cable or a cellular network connection, WiFi must transfer data through a wireless router, creating a local network access point.

By connecting your device to the router, whether through a traditional router/modem or by tethering, your device communicates with other devices on the same network and can access the internet.

On the other hand, internet speed is based on how quickly your internet connection can download and upload data (bits).

This speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps) and gigabits per second (Gbps) — one Mbps is 1,000,000 bits being transferred per second and one Gbps is 1,000,000,000 bits being transferred per second.

When you access WiFi, you are actually using a wireless connection to access your internet speed and leverage that speed across all your devices.

Below we’ll talk about how to make the most out of your WiFi network and your internet speed.

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Known as a “wireless networking technology”, WiFi allows devices such as laptops, desktops, mobile devices and other equipment to access the internet.

Over the years, WiFi has evolved to have a few different standards:

WiFi 5

  • WiFi 5 was released in 2014.
  • It’s the first WiFi standard to provide multiple input/multiple output (MIMO) technology.
  • It uses multiple antennas on both sending and receiving devices.
  • It has a theoretical speed of 3.5 Gbps.
  • It uses the 5GHz band to transmit data, instead of the 2.4GHz band.

WiFi 6 and WiFi 6e

  • WiFi 6 was released in 2019 and WiFi 6e was released in 2021. WiFi 6e was optimized from WiFi 6.
  • ​​WiFi 6e accesses the 6 GHz radio-frequency band, as well as the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands used by WiFi 6.
  • Both releases can reach theoretical speeds of 9.6 Gbps.
  • The 6 GHz frequency band is exclusive to WiFi 6e-enabled devices.
  • WiFi 6 and WiFi 6e are the most widely adapted standards.

WiFi 7

  • WiFi 7 was released in 2024.
  • It’s the first WiFi standard to leverage 4K QAM modulation to enable peak speeds and Multi-Link Operation (MLO) to maintain consistent low latency even in congested environments.
  • It’s the fastest WiFi at a theoretical speed of 46 Gbps.
  • It uses 2.4, 5, 6 and mmWave bands to transmit data.

Even though WiFi is powerful on its own, certain external factors can slow down your WiFi network. For example:

  • Distance from the router: You should keep your devices near your router. If you are worried about coverage in your home, look into mesh WiFi systems.
  • Using a non-compatible WiFi generation: Make sure your devices support your current WiFi standard.
  • Obstacles: Certain materials or physical barriers can affect your WiFi signal, therefore affecting your internet speeds.
  • Connected devices: Each laptop, smart or personal device connected to your WiFi network can slow down your speed.

As you can see, many factors influence the performance of your WiFi. If you have a busy household with several wireless devices accessing the internet, your speeds can falter.

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However, you can increase and improve your WiFi speed.

  • Distance: Bring your devices closer to your router, or your router closer to a central area of the home where all devices can access WiFi.
  • Blockers: Remove possible blockers in order to allow your WiFi to penetrate all areas of the home.
  • Interference: Power down devices like microwaves, baby monitors and cordless phones when not in use. Some of these devices can cause interference.
  • Old devices: Check your WiFi version for possible conflicts between other devices which may have improper hardware for your WiFi standard.
  • System reset: Reset your WiFi system or power-cycle in order to clear any cached or existing software issues.
  • Connections: Check and make sure your cables are connected to your WiFi system.
  • Devices: Make sure your WiFi connection can handle multiple devices at the same time.
  • Updates: Check online for updates for your equipment and your devices.


Using Mbps or Gbps as units, “internet speed” is a measurement of the actual rate at which information is downloaded or uploaded from the internet to your devices.

The following things can affect your internet speed:

  • Distance from the internet service provider’s central office or data center.
  • Types of internet connection, such as cable, DSL or fiber.
  • Number of concurrent users on your network.
  • Types of devices in use.
  • Quality of your area’s internet connection.
  • The type of website or online service you’re using, such as streaming video or playing online games.

While many factors can affect internet speeds, the type of internet connection is the biggest factor that influences your online experience.

Here are a few of the most common types of internet connections:

  • DSL: This connection receives data via a copper telephone landline, minimizing interference but is generally slower than other types of connections.
  • Cable: Faster and more reliable than DSL.
  • Satellite: Slower than wired connections, but has wide coverage, especially in rural areas where fiber, cable or 5G home internet is unavailable.
  • 5G home internet: 5G home internet uses 5G technologies from wireless cellular networks to deliver 5G internet into the home. Susceptible to interference and available only in populated areas.
  • Fiber: The most developed internet infrastructure and provides faster speeds and lower latency than 5G.

Fiber-powered internet

Why Fiber Internet works better

Astound’s fiber-powered internet provides consistent speeds throughout the day versus 5G Home Internet which is prone to intermittency.

After picking your type of internet connection, make sure your hardware is ready to transmit data. This is generally a modem and router.

In order to receive the speed you’re paying for and transmit it within your home, make sure you:

  • Place your router in an open location, away from any interfering materials.
  • Update your router’s software regularly.
  • Secure your home WiFi.
  • Be aware of internet throttling, or peak hours.
  • Manage your internet activities and upgrade your speed tier if necessary.

Internet speeds by activity

It’s not always easy to determine how much speed you will actually need for your home. Let’s take a look at some of the different activities you may engage in and the speeds needed for each.

For gamers

Each person gaming online needs at least 25 Mbps to 100 Mbps download and 5 Mbps to 20 Mbps upload speeds. When selecting a speed, think about the type of game, the number of players and devices, as well as possible issues like latency, lag or ping.

The internet speeds required for gaming depend on the content of the game you play, the platform you are gaming from (console, mobile, PC) and the number of connected users.

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For streaming

If you’re streaming media on a livestream or watching HD/4K video across multiple devices, each user in your household will need at least 25 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload speeds for a smooth experience.

The internet speeds required for streaming depend on the quality of the content you stream, the platform you are streaming from and the number of users connected to the internet connection.

For working from home

To work from home, you’ll need a baseline of 100 Mbps download speed and 10 Mbps upload speed. Video conferencing, large file sharing and streaming media will likely be your greatest concerns when selecting a speed, followed by the number of connected devices.

While some work tasks (like refreshing your email) may be quick, other tasks may be bandwidth-intensive. Your internet speed depends on the availability of bandwidth within your home network.

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To roughly calculate the speed you might need for your home, divide the speed you’re considering by the number of devices in your household.

The desired result should be about 35 Mbps per device.

For example, if you have a household of four people, each with their own smartphone and laptop, all accessing the internet at the same time, you may want to consider a plan that provides at least 300 Mbps, meaning about 75 Mbps per user.

However, these numbers also depend on the activities and internet usage patterns of each user on their specific devices. If you have a household of power users, like avid gamers or Netflix bingers, you may want to consider higher speed plans in order to accommodate everyone.

Astound offers ultra-fast internet plans that can be customized to your household’s needs.

When searching for internet speeds, look for the highest Mbps or Gbps for the fastest connection. Discuss your internet needs with your internet service provider to ensure you get the perfect plan for your family

Understanding WiFi vs internet speeds doesn’t have to be complicated. Your internet speed dictates how fast your internet connection is and your WiFi setup brings that speed into your home.

With Astound, you can always choose your speed according to your needs and upgrade at any time – whether you have an increase of devices or users

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*Internet speeds may vary & are not guaranteed. Certain equipment may be required to reach advertised speeds. DOCSIS 3.1 modem with 2.5GE physical LAN port is required for 1 Gigabit speeds and higher. See for why speeds may vary. To view Astound’s FCC Network Management Disclosure see Modem required for Internet service. No contract required. Subject to availability. We substantiate that the cable modem equipment provided, and the configuration of such cable modem, meets the broadband speeds advertised when attached to a wired connection based on SamKnows testing procedures.

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