Home broadband users are losing 30 per cent of their download speeds by accessing the internet using a wireless connection, according to a report from network measurement firm Epitiro.
The company found that Wi-Fi use also increases latency by between 10 and 20 per cent.
Home computing services that might appeal to business users, such as VoIP calls and video streaming, could perform at unsatisfactory levels as a result.
"Our data shows that connectivity over Wi-Fi degrades broadband performance considerably in typical circumstances," said J P Curley, chief technology officer at Epitiro.
"Consumers who are experiencing performance issues with Wi-Fi should take steps to improve their home environment or connect directly via wired Ethernet."
Epitiro carried out one million tests among 140,000 home users and found that, where problems existed, it was because their modem shared a common default communication channel which, when used in urban areas, could lead to dropped connections or slow service.
Interestingly, although speeds fell by around a third, Epitiro said that the quality of service did not degrade at the same rate. For example, a fall in speed of around 30 per cent resulted only in a 17 per cent slowing of page load times.
Interference can come from microwave ovens, audio-video equipment, baby monitors, cordless phones, Bluetooth connections, games consoles and even fluorescent lights, according to Epitiro.
The company added that users could improve services by choosing a different modem channel or, more radically, change to an ISP that can provide a reliable service.
"Consumers should be selecting ISPs based on their ability to provide reliable service," added Curley.
Wired connections in the UK average 8.2Mbit/s, and wireless connections 6.1Mbit/s.
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