Question Wifi hotspot speed on Samsung A5 2016 slower than in-phone 4G speed -- advice?


Jan 16, 2015

here in my rural area, I'm using my aging Samsung A5 2016 (the EU model, A510F) to create a wifi hotspot over which I connect my PC to the Internet using a TP-Link Archer T2U Plus USB antenna.

Everything works fine, connection is good and stable, but the maximum speed I get on the PC over the hotspot is less than what I get in the phone itself. I've tested many times on, from the same location ofc, same test server, etc., and I'm confident it's not due to speed fluctuation at the carrier.

It seems that, for whatever reason, the hotspot can't go above ca. 60 Mbps down speed (didn't really note the up speed), whereas the phone itself gets up to 100 Mbps, and occasionally I've seen up to 140 Mbps.

Any ideas why?

Both the phone and the antenna have the "n" standard of wifi, which according to paper specs should be faster than this. The 60 Mbps is close to the stated limit of the slower "g" standard (56 Mbps IIRC), so I suppose it's possible the connection runs on this older standard for some reason. However, neither the antenna nor the phone have much in the way of settings (that I could find) where this could be changed.

The connection between the antenna and the phone is solid; the antenna is about 1.2 meters from the phone, aimed more or less directly at it through mostly thin air. The antenna specs say its maximum speed in the 2.4 GHz band is "up to 200 Mbps". (The antenna also supports the faster 5 GHz band, but the phone doesn't, it seems.)

I wasn't able to find any particular speed specs for the phone's hotspot, other than that it's dual-band and capable of a, b, g, n standards. I use no other wifi devices and the nearest neighbor with a wifi is over a hundred meters away, so channel congestion shouldn't be a problem.

I guess mostly what I'd like to know is, is this a problem on the phone side, or the antenna side? And in either case, is it a hardware fault, software issue, or just a performance limitation of the hardware?

I mean, it's not that 60 Mbps is "too slow" for me, but if the phone can get 120 Mbps, it seems a shame not to use it. :) Replacing the antenna would be pretty cheap; the phone, not so much. On the other hand, the phone is really past its prime now, and this would be another addition to my growing list of reasons to upgrade.

Thanks for your advice!

EDIT: I note above the phone doesn't seem capable of 5 GHz wifi, but also that it has a "dual-band" hotspot. I just realized this is a contradiction; the phone should be capable of 5 GHz, as that what "dual-band" usually means.

I do not, however, see the setting to switch between them on my unrooted Android 7.1, even though pictures from newer Samsung phones I've seen online do have that setting in the hotspot menu. Unfortunately, 7.1 is as high as OS updates go on this particular phone. :)
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