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Understanding Fixed Wireless Internet Speeds

Many factors affect the internet service you purchased from AT&T and influence the actual internet speed you experience at any given time. Learn what factors influence your internet speeds.





Internet service levels & speeds

Your Service Capability Speed is the rate at which we deliver internet traffic to and from your home. Many factors affect the internet service you purchased from AT&T and influence the actual internet speed you experience at any given time. Data and content you send or receive travels many paths before reaching its final destination and being returned back to you:
  • Through various Internet Service Provider (ISP) networks used by websites to send you content.
  • Between your connected computers and devices and your modem or gateway.
  • Through the wiring in your home.
  • From the AT&T Network to the internet, which has millions of private networks.

Take a minute to learn how various factors impact your internet speed.

Internet service options
AT&T offers many internet service options, each of which has a different service capability speed range. The term speed is commonly used as a shorthand way to describe the capacity at which a particular broadband internet access service can transmit data. This capacity is typically measured in the number of kilobits, megabits, or gigabits that can be transmitted in one second (Kbps, Mbps, or Gbps).

Some applications like a short email without attachments or basic Web browsing don’t require high service capability speeds to function optimally. Other activities like transferring large data files can be performed faster with higher-speed services. Your service capability speed may not be suitable for some applications, particularly those involving real-time or near real-time, high-bandwidth uses such as streaming video or video conferencing.

Learn more about the current speed ranges offered by AT&T or get more information about our broadband internet access services.

Factors impacting Internet speed

To get the best experience for the internet service level you have chosen, be sure your devices have the ability to support the speed you are trying to obtain and manage the number of devices sharing your internet access at the same time.

Type of devices or equipment
Internet devices come in all shapes and sizes, from desktops to tablets, and smartphones to smart televisions. Each of these has a maximum internet speed it can reach, and it might not be as fast as your possible internet service level. For example, if your laptop only supports 100Mbps and you have 1Gbps internet service, your laptop will not be able to reach the maximum speed.

Number of devices
Multiple devices sharing your internet connection at the same time, whether wired or Wi-Fi, can affect your internet speed. Also, watching multiple HD TV streams at once in the highest tiers of service may reduce the maximum bandwidth available for internet uses.

Home network
Once your gateway connects to the AT&T network, you have access to the internet. Many factors inside your home affect the rate you send or receive internet data.
  • Age of wiring inside your home or apartment
  • Distance between the gateway and your device
  • Age and type of gateway
  • Number of devices connected to the gateway

You can access your AT&T Internet through a wired Ethernet connection or a Wi-Fi connection.

A wired connection, using a Cat5e or Cat6 cable, plugged into the Ethernet port on your gateway, provides the best performance consistently.

A Wi-Fi connection gives you the flexibility to move throughout your home but isn't as fast as a wired connection. You get the best Wi-Fi signal closest to your gateway and with fewer devices running.

Other networks and websites you visit
Even though you have purchased a specific service speed and the AT&T network is highly reliable, it is important to note that the websites you interact with may not provide their services at the same speeds. Things to consider as you surf websites:
  • Websites may not have the same network speeds as you.
  • Website server capacity can impact your internet speeds.
  • Website owners may use other ISPs to deliver content back to you. These network serving arrangements can also impact your internet speeds.
  • Visiting sites during their peak hours may also result in slower speeds.

Additional impacts on internet speed performance and speed test results
As noted, there are many factors including customer equipment, connection type, network issues, and internet usage that can affect service speeds and speed test results. In addition, protocol overheads, such as IP overhead in IP technology, diminish internet speed and speed test results. Overhead(s) means the various control and signaling data (e.g., transmission control protocol (TCP)) required to achieve the reliable transmission of internet access data.

Tools & troubleshooting

The AT&T Speed Test is available to help you measure your throughput speeds and gauge the maximum performance of your internet service at the time of measurement.

Operating your device over a wired connection delivers the best speed. Testing speed over a wired connection ensures you have the most accurate reading of your AT&T High Speed Internet service. Wi-Fi delivers good, but slower speeds due to the wireless technology.

Visit the AT&T Internet Speed Test to see how quickly you are transferring data to and from the internet.

Optimize your speed
If you've found your speeds aren't performing as you like, learn how to optimize your connection.

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