PC's internet connection suddenly slow

Hey all!

So, weird thing I've noticed recently. I put together a brand new PC a few months ago, and everything had been going swimmingly until this week, when suddenly I noticed my internet speed was taking a noticeable downturn. Like, my download speeds were in the single-digits this evening.

So here's the complicating factor. Due to the vagaries of my living situation, I'm on a shared WiFi connection, and the router is not anywhere near me. But I haven't had a single issue with speed in the last few months, until these last few days. Moreover, my PS4 is on the exact same WiFi network, and when I speed test it, it's getting downloads of 40 MB+, while my PC is topping out at a blistering 12 MB this evening.

I'd initially assumed this was happening because other people on the network were using various streaming services, but I've been living here for several months now without any problems until recently, and the fact that my PS4 appears to have none of them despite, again, being connected to the exact same WiFi network has me scratching my head.

This is particularly problematic because, like many people now, I work from home and my work is entirely web-based. But suddenly, out of seemingly nowhere, I've gone from completely normal speeds to abhorrent ones. I didn't even notice anything until I tried to play Streets of Rage 4 online with a friend, and my connection was hitching so much the game was basically unplayable.

This computer is brand-spanking new, so I'm hoping it's not a hardware issue, but it's very weird. Literally the only major change I can think of that's occurred in that time is me installing Grammarly for work.

Any ideas? Or could it genuinely just be the extra 15 feet between where my PC sits and where my PS4 sits?

EDIT: Sat around and did some troubleshooting this evening, and while I'll try reinstalling the driver for my WiFi Adapter, web surfing seems to have come back to normal speed? It's all very weird.

EDIT v2: Ah, I think I might need to get off the WiFi and get a MoCA Adapter.

Weird. Mentioned the problem to my landlord, she confirmed that she'd been having slow internet speeds as well, and reset the router. My PC still is maxing out at 20 MB on speed tests, but my phone (again, on the exact same WiFi Network) clocked in around 40-60 MB.

Could be some sort of interference.
Wired is always preferred as I am sure you know.

Is the access point supporting multiple b/g/n SSIDs with the same name? It sounds like your PC might be picking the "wrong" SSID. If it's megabits, not megabytes, 12 is right around the max for 802.11b.

But I haven't had a single issue with speed in the last few months, until these last few days. Moreover, my PS4 is on the exact same WiFi network, and when I speed test it, it's getting downloads of 40 MB+, while my PC is topping out at a blistering 12 MB this evening.

As deftly says, checking that you're on a 5GHz channel would be an excellent idea.

I don't like using wireless at all, when it's possible to avoid it, because it's inherently prone to outside signal interference. You can be bopping along like normal, and someone else can stomp all over your bandwidth, totally messing up your throughput, and about all you can do is to maybe switch channels.

5GHz is less crowded, so it's usually a better option. Much of this because it doesn't penetrate walls nearly as well; you should typically try to go through no more than one wall with a 5GHz signal. If you have to go through more, it can substantially impair the total bandwidth available. And having remote, lossy clients on a network slows down everyone else, too, while the network retransmits. At 5GHz, you have to be more careful with router placement, but in exchange, the reduced penetration also means reduced interference from others. A 5GHz signal is often a lot better than the standard 2.4GHz.

If you can limp along a few more months, the FCC just approved a new set of frequencies for WiFi, which is being called "6E" by industry. There's WiFi 6 already, which uses the same 5.8GHz band as everything else, but then the FCC just opened almost the entire 6GHz band for indoor usage as well. (WiFi 6 and 6GHz are just coincidental naming; regular WiFi 6 without the E does not transmit on that band.)

Getting a 6E router and client would almost certainly rule out the possibility of interference from other people for a good while (since nobody will have that hardware yet), and because the 6GHz signal doesn't penetrate quite as well as the existing 5.8GHz, is less likely to be interfered with in the future. (In any given house, you can treat it the same, but you won't see as much signal from any neighbors that eventually deploy it too.)

Two downsides there: it will be a few more months until 6E hardware hits the shelves (and with COVID, it could be longer) and the first hardware to arrive will probably be quite pricey.

MoCA, as you mention, might be another option, or powerline, or even running regular Ethernet. Anytime running actual network wire is a realistic option, IMO, that's always the way you should go.

If you can limp along a few more months, the FCC just approved a new set of frequencies for WiFi, which is being called "6E" by industry. There's WiFi 6 already, which uses the same 5.8GHz band as everything else, but then the FCC just opened almost the entire 6GHz band for indoor usage as well. (WiFi 6 and 6GHz are just coincidental naming; regular WiFi 6 without the E does not transmit on that band.)

Be sure to read the fine print warnings about the corona virus risk ;P

If we could see into that spectrum, an antenna on a WiFi router would probably be visible only in a dark room. The LEDs on the front panel would be much brighter.

If 6GHz signals do affect COVID, just stay at least an inch away, and you should be fine.