What To Know
- The internal components of a computer, such as the CPU, RAM, or SSD, do not affect the Wi-Fi internet speed (download and upload speed).
- External factors like the placement of the router, the technology of the Wi-Fi connection (e.g., Wi-Fi 6), the number of devices connected to the network, and the use of a VPN can impact Wi-Fi speeds.
- The actual internet download and upload speeds are determined by the service provided by the Internet Service Provider (ISP) and the user’s selected internet plan.
This article targets the heart of the misconception about CPU, RAM and SSD affecting Wi-Fi speed, steering you towards a seamless gaming setup by examining what truly impacts your Wi-Fi’s download and upload capabilities.
Ready to clear the air? Let’s zoom into the details.
- How Do CPU, RAM, and SSD Affect Website Performance?
- What Affects Wi-Fi (Internet) Speed?
- What Affects Download & Upload Speed?
- Wrapping Things Up
How Do CPU, RAM, and SSD Affect Website Performance?
Now that we understand that a computer’s CPU, RAM, and SSD will not affect its Wi-Fi speed, let’s discuss how these components will affect website and browser performance.
A CPU (or Control Processing Unit) is a computer’s core and controls some of the most important tasks, such as handling programs’ information and implementing calculations.
The CPU works in four stages: fetching, decoding, executing, and storing.
- Fetching the instructions from the RAM’s memory.
- Decoding these instructions to the machine language (i.e. binary) so that they’re readable by the CPU.
- Executing these instructions so that the computer can complete certain tasks.
- Storing the execution results in the RAM’s memory so they can be retrieved later.
The CPU repeats these steps, known as the fetch-execute cycle, millions of times per second. These four steps are the foundation of your computer’s functionality and do help web browsers run smoothly, but do not affect Wi-Fi speed.
RAM (or Random Access Memory) temporarily stores a computer’s data and allows it to be accessed at high speeds.
In turn, this process allows the programs or apps that are actively working to access the data they need. For instance, your computer will fetch the data it needs from the RAM when you’re surfing the internet on a web browser.
The more RAM your computer has, the more tabs you can open and use on a web browser without lag. The minimum amount of RAM needed for your web browser to fully function is 4GB, but many computer models have 8GB, 16GB, or more.
The RAM will reset each time the system reboots, like when you restart your computer.
Unlike RAM which temporarily stores data, the SSD (or Solid State Drive) permanently stores data using flash memory.
The flash memory stored inside an SSD is electronically and silently written, transferred, and erased, allowing it to quickly and efficiently store and retrieve data.
Due to SSD’s efficiency in processing your computer’s programs, like its web browser, it is slightly more expensive than HDD.
CPU, RAM, and SSD all help your web browser achieve faster speeds, but they do not affect your Wi-Fi or internet speed.
What Affects Wi-Fi (Internet) Speed?
As discussed, CPU, RAM, and SSD will not affect your Wi-Fi speed, but some external factors will:
- The router’s placement
- The technology
- The number of devices connected to the internet access point (router)
- Whether or not you’re using a VPN
The Placement of the Router
Routers have a limited range and their signals can be further obstructed by signal-blocking materials, like concrete or metal.
For instance, your Wi-Fi speed will slow if your router is in another room, especially if your home has thick, concrete walls.
So, try moving your computer and router closer together, and place them in the same room if possible.
Check out our article What Materials Can Block Wi-Fi Signals? to learn more about which signal-obstructing materials can decrease your Wi-Fi speed.
Older Wi-Fi technology is less efficient and tends to be slower than newer models. For instance, Wireless-N (802.11n) and Wireless-AC (802.11ac) are slower than Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax).
Wi-Fi 6 is the latest wireless connection technology and comes with several improvements, namely a faster internet speed on personal electronic devices. This makes it the ideal choice for remote workers, gamers, avid streamers, and more!
Refer to the comparison table below to see how older wireless technologies compare to their newer counterparts. Wi-Fi speed is measured in Mbps, which stands for megabits per second. The more Mbps your router supports, the faster it will be.
|Wireless-AX (Wi-Fi 6)
Multiple Devices Connected to One Internet Access Point (Router)
Your Wi-Fi speed will be significantly decreased if you share your router with several other people or have multiple devices connected to it at once.
A connected device must have a certain amount of bandwidth to perform online activities. Online gaming and streaming require more bandwidth than other activities, such as scrolling through Facebook.
Furthermore, devices consume bandwidth even if they’re in standby mode.
So, try to limit any high-bandwidth activities to one device and disconnect other devices from your internet access point.
A VPN Might Cause the Wi-Fi (Internet) Speed to Slow Down
A VPN (or Virtual Private Network) encrypts your data before sending it to the VPN servers. While this VPN protocol is effective at keeping your data private, it will inevitably slow your Wi-Fi speed since the data must go through extra steps.
We did a test to demonstrate a VPN’s effect on your Wi-Fi speed. We measured our Wi-Fi speed when the VPN was enabled, and then again when the VPN was disabled.
The results demonstrate that VPNs have a significant impact on Wi-Fi speed, possibly even reducing it by more than half.
Wi-Fi Speed With a VPN Turned On
Wi-Fi Speed With a VPN Turned Off
What Affects Download & Upload Speed?
Download speed measures how quickly data is sent from the internet server to your device (e.g. computer, smartphone, tablet).
Upload speed measures how quickly this data is transmitted from your device to the server.
These speeds will dictate how quickly you can send and receive information and are directly determined by your ISP’s (Internet Service Provider) set bandwidth. Depending on your ISP’s internet plan, you will have access to different Wi-Fi speeds. Naturally, higher speeds tend to come at higher prices.
So, if you’d like access to the fastest internet connection possible, you’ll more likely have to pay for a premium plan.
Additionally, different internet connection types will boast various download and upload speeds, with older connections typically being slower and newer connections being faster.
Wi-Fi Speed Tests
Now that you understand what affects your Wi-Fi speed, it’s time to test your router’s speed!
Websites like Speedtest.net will measure your Wi-Fi’s download and upload speed, in addition to its ping rate. If your Wi-Fi is slow, try the methods listed above to quicken it. Then, test your Wi-Fi speed again.
Wrapping Things Up
Your computer’s CPU, RAM, and SSD will affect how smoothly and quickly your computer and its programs run, but it will not affect your Wi-Fi speed. Even the fastest computers in the world will still struggle to load online content if their Wi-Fi connection is weak.
The main factors that will affect your Wi-Fi speed are your router’s placement, which wireless connection technology your router has, how many devices are connected to your router, and a VPN connection.
Your router’s upload and download speeds are dictated by your ISP and current internet plan, with pricier plans boasting faster speeds.
If you’re unsure how fast your Wi-Fi is, use an online speed test to measure its upload and download speeds.
Did you know which factors affect your Wi-Fi speed?
Let us know in the comments below!
Yesenia Achlim is a technical copywriter and editor with a focus on AV equipment. She aims to break down complicated topics and make technology accessible, no matter your technical expertise. When she’s not teaching you how to replace a projector lamp, you can find her reading and baking.