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Are you using a USB dongle that allows your desktop to receive a Wi-Fi connection? If yes, probably you might have noticed that your internet speeds are slower than expected and in some cases, extremely slower. Sadly, this is a general issue for most USB Wi-Fi dongles.

The causes of the sluggishness of USB dongles

One of the major causes of the sluggishness of USB dongles is other wireless devices.

Wireless devices broadcast data with the use of frequencies, and these frequencies are unseen but they all have their own individual shapes. The predicament happens when two or more devices transmit data using the same frequency shapes that is they are both on the same frequency channel.

Alas, there are limited numbers of frequency channels available in the 2.4 GHz range and the majority of wireless peripherals transmit on 2.4 GHz, as well as Bluetooth, Logitech USB dongles, and more. So because they’re all on the same wireless spectrum, it leads to wireless overcrowding and failure.

So to demonstrate this, below screenshot is what the 2.4 GHz spectrum appears to be like:

You can see that there are only three channels (1, 6, and 11) that do not overlap with one another. So in case you are using multiple devices on the 2.4 GHz frequency, then your wireless internet speeds aren’t best and consumer electronics may suffer majorly from these overlapping frequencies.

Now if two devices transmit on overlapping channels, their transmissions can obstruct with each other, which will result in sluggish act, limited range, and lag.

So the question is why is it this way?

Actually when the 2.4 GHz spectrum first came into use, engineers never expected that the average home would have dozens of different Wi-Fi signals. That’s one of the reason the 5 GHz band was invented 

So we’ve explained three methods you can try to fix the lagging of your USB dongle.

Using a USB Extender

The easiest way to solve the sluggishness of most USB dongles is to use a USB extender. The major use of this is that the USB extenders will let you to relocate the location of your USB wireless adapter.

Not only does channel overlap make dongles to malfunction, it’s also increasing when merged with the radio-frequency-blocking properties of a computer case or metal laptop. Generally speaking, changing the location of the dongle improves the dongle’s performance.

Actually, some dongle manufacturers integrated an extender by default because of this issue. The Steam Controller for instance, contains a weighted extender with a microUSB cable attached.

USB extenders, cradles, docks, and hubs will make an improvement in dongle performance, but the best among them will incline the dongle at a vertical angle, which maximizes the dongle’s coverage to wireless frequencies.

Changing Your Wi-Fi Router Channel

As you see from the diagram, the three non-overlapping channels used by Wireless-N and Wireless-G routers split into 11 different overlapping channels. Even as Bluetooth devices automatically switch their channel to the least-used frequency, many other devices don’t.

Additionally, it’s not possible to alter how dongles broadcast data. The only solution is to change the channel that your router broadcasts on when the conflicts arises. You can change Wi-Fi channels by 

i. Using a Wi-Fi analyzer app to find the optimal channel.
ii. Then log into your wireless router and change to the best channel.

Getting a Dual-Band Router

Actually, getting a new router is one of the most expensive ways, but for apartment-dwellers, I recommended this for you because it has the maximum rate of success in boosting sluggish Wi-Fi dongle speeds.

As stated earlier, most of these routers transmit signals on either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz. The 2.4 GHz band provides three non-overlapping channels, while the 5 GHz band generates a whopping 23 non-overlapping channels. Together with the other advantages of using 5 GHz, you’ll observe a huge improvement in performance.

Nevertheless, you’d also have to make sure that most of your other devices are capable of using the 5 GHz spectrum. You wouldn’t gain at all from using a dual-band router if all are not using it.

Besides, in case you’re facing issues with a wireless adapter USB dongle, then a new router would only be needed in case the dongle itself is also dual-band! Or else it would continue to transmit and receive over similar difficult part of the wireless spectrum.

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