WiFi6 Latency vs. gigabit Ethernet

Riptide

Occasional Visitor
I did a little latency testing this morning to see the difference between my onboard (asus tuf x570 plus) gigabit ethernet and WiFi5. Router is a rt-ax86u.

I was seeing about 1-2ms in extra latency with the WiFi option. The concern however is not so much that but the occasional lag spike up to 68-70ms that would happen about every couple dozen packets or so. The antenna and the router were very close together though they did not have line of sight. I was on the 5ghz band.

I've been kicking around the idea of throwing a WiFi6 NIC on the computer either a USB option or alternately a 1x PCIE card.

Are these latency spikes likely to still be an issue in that configuration?
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
What tests did you make to determine this? Do you have an additional spare router you can use? The latency spikes may possibly be minimized and/or eliminated by selecting another Control Channel.

If you're not transferring (a lot of) small files on that desktop computer, then wireless, may be an option.

If you have a spare router with Media Bridge mode and 1GbE ports (or better), this option will easily surpass any PCIe card and/or USB wireless option in the long term for performance, stability and reliability.

Adding a WiFi NIC (via any connection) is a waste of money, IMO.

A router has a much longer usability factor, long term.
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
I use an AX210 NIC/ NWA210AX AP and usually avg 1ms pings and the occasional 12ms ping like you're seeing. It seems that one higher ping is potentially just a handshake between client/server causing the delay.

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Riptide

Occasional Visitor
I was pinging the ethereum mining pool I connect with on my desktop PC as the test. With ethernet it's a steady 50ms with very little if any spike. On WiFi5 I am seeing the 60-70ms spikes pop every 12-24 packets or so.

I guess I really don't know the cause though it seems Tech Junky gets similar spikes with his configuration. I probably should've just set up a continuous ping to the router itself too in order to see if those lag spikes happened there or if they were only coming up once it went outside the LAN. Shame on me for not being more thorough.

I have no spare router to try here. Usage is mainly internet multiplayer games, video streaming, and basic web surfing.

Is the performance of a USB 3.0 NIC going to be better or worse than PCI-E?
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
Is the performance of a USB 3.0 NIC going to be better or worse than PCI-E?
Should be about the same.

Ping the router like I did and you'll see the same results with lower numbers. It's just a WIFI thing and not much to be done about it.
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
Oh, here's a ping from the box that's directly connected to the AP showing it's not an Ethernet issue.

Code:
--- 192.168.0.65 ping statistics ---
64 packets transmitted, 64 received, 0% packet loss, time 64384ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 0.471/0.657/1.413/0.159 ms
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
The USB NIC performance will be worse (depending on many factors, file size is one of them), because it needs to be 'translated' with an additional hop from WiFi overhead, USB overhead, then LAN.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
With no spare router, I would be looking at garage sales, or other sources you 'trust' for a router with Media Bridge capabilities.

How does an RT-AX68U compare cost-wise to the adaptor options you're considering? Keep in mind that the RT-AX68U regularly goes on sale for half price or less.
 

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
Wireless is a shared media. Wire is not. There will always be more latency in wireless over wired. The more devices on wireless the more latency.
 

Riptide

Occasional Visitor
I was hoping to get a wireless USB or PCI-E NIC and completely ditch the wire going from the PC.

Seems like while this was worthwhile to look into the WiFi tech isn't going to be able to match or get close enough (consistently) such that I can justify switching from ethernet. My use case consists of at least one latency sensitive scenario and the lag spikes are a problem there.

I could always pick up an adapter off amazon prime and give it a try then return it should it fall flat on it's face. Sounds like it's probably not worth messing with though.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
With an RT-AX86U as the main router, the lowest latency you will experience is by using the 2.5GbE Port to a 2.5GbE Port to your computer/device.

A PCIe 2.5GbE adaptor, I would be willing to at least test. The wireless adaptor options are not worth spending time on.
 

tgl

Regular Contributor
Hmm ... wi-fi delay spikes every so often are hard to avoid. A spike every dozen or two packets, though, suggests you have an interference or misconfiguration problem. See this excellent SNB article from last year:

Wi-Fi Ping Spikes: Causes and Fixes

The other responses suggesting switching to a hard-wired connection are not wrong if you are after sub-millisecond latency. But if you can tolerate 2-3 ms average ping time with rare spikes to at most 10x that, that's definitely achievable with wi-fi. It may take some fiddling.
 

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