I've found 5 Ghz Wifi that works in Windows XP

Discussion in 'Windows XP Hardware' started by Kithylin, Nov 17, 2021.

  1. Kithylin

    Kithylin

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    Hello there. I'll probably be posting in the forums here a lot but for my first thread I wanted to contribute some hardware knowledge to others. I recently picked up a 2005 XP-Era convertible tablet computer from HP at a thrift store for $5 as is and turned out it works great. The onboard WiFi works in it just fine but it was only WiFi-G @ 2.4 and I was hoping for better. I took a leap and bought this one off Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PB1X4CN/ I can confirm that there are drivers for it on the TP-Link website for Windows XP 32-Bit. Also if you extract their driver package into a folder with winrar/winzip there are "Basic drivers" in there (Deep in a sub-folder) that will let us load just the basic drivers WITHOUT having to load their crappy 2nd party WiFi control software. This USB adapter works 100% with modern WiFi 802.11-AC / MIMO routers and it connects to my router at 433 Mbps on the 5 Ghz band. It degrades down to 155 Mbps at about 200~300 ft away from the router but that's normal (I need to Invest in a 802.11-AC MIMO MESH network later.. that would solve that part). But in general this works 100% and it's cheap. It's also USB 2.0 too and it gets full speed 5 Ghz @ 433 Mbps over USB 2.0 too. Which is a big deal because most older XP era machines probably won't have nor support USB 3.0. I am using this daily on my old HP tablet laptop and it works perfectly fine 100% with this machine running XP-32 & SP3. The only drawback is it seems to use 450ma / 0.45 amps of power constant when in use which has cut in to the battery time on the machine so that kind of sucks but oh well (The USB 2.0 spec allows up to 500ma / 0.5A of power by the way)
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2021
    Kithylin, Nov 17, 2021
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  2. Kithylin

    Samir

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    Neat find. I don't think I've looked for a usb 5ghz adapter for any of my xp machines as I'm mostly wired and consider wireless pretty much for convenience only.

    TP-Link does a great job of supporting older platforms since they use chipsets that do the same, and they actually even have an AC1900 usb nic which should be even faster and it specifically has xp support on the driver page:
    https://www.tp-link.com/us/support/download/archer-t9uh/
     
    Samir, Nov 18, 2021
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  3. Kithylin

    Kithylin

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    On this subject there is something I don't quite understand and maybe someone can help me. This same TP-Link Nano AC600 that I linked first in this thread can and does maintain 12~15 MB/s over WiFi with my ryzen 5800X system running windows 10. So I know it can do it. And that's with it stating it's connected at 433 Mbps over 5 Ghz. But when I connect it to my older HP tablet computer using XP-32 + SP3 it still says it connects at 433 Mbps over WiFi (Just like on the 5800X computer) to the same router but only gets 6~7 MB/s over network transfers. Is this a limitation of XP? The onboard WiFi-G @ 54 Mbps on 2.4 Ghz only manages 100~112 KB/s which is just awful and I can barely do anything over wireless with it. This TP-Link one is a lot better but I'm still not sure why it's running at less than half of the speed it should be running at in XP. Also that one you linked up above, the Archer T9UH is faster, but that's something that sits out on a desk and connects via a wire. It's not very practical for use in a XP era laptop.
     
    Kithylin, Nov 18, 2021
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  4. Kithylin

    Samir

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    So generally most modern 64-bit systems will be able to transfer 2x as fast as older 32-bit systems in my experience. Also, because during the xp era cpus were not as powerful, the cpu in that HP will be important to know as well. On a lot of my older xp era laptops, even with a PC Card gigabit NIC, they top out at 300Mb/s, which is roughly 30MB/s or usb 2.0 speeds. But usb 2.0 on these older systems is even slower due to the usb overhead. If you really want to see what that xp era machine should be doing, run some wired tests--that will give you a benchmark to work towards. And you might be surprised to find it as low as 50Mb/s as I have 2x win7 era laptops that do just that, lol.

    While the picture shows it with a stand, it actually can connect directly to a usb port--not the 'prettiest' thing, but when you are needing function, form comes second...;)
     
    Samir, Nov 18, 2021
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  5. Kithylin

    Kithylin

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    I've already replaced the hard drive in this old laptop and upgraded it from an old spinny mechanical IDE drive (So very slow!) to a SATA SSD with a mSATA-to-Laptop-IDE adapter thing (So much faster! It really did help A LOT!) and that works great (I'll write a new thread about that on the forums here soon) and I have verified it can now sustain a full 84 MB/s reads and writes on this laptop, so the storage can do it. I have connected one of my 16 GB USB 3.0 flash drives to this XP laptop and I can verify that it can copy over it's USB 2.0 ports at 28~30 MB/s into it's main storage just fine. And it can hold 45~50 MB/s over wired gigabit with it too. But for some reason this Wifi thing in this laptop only gets 6~7 MB/s. It's a Pentium-M CPU @ 1.7 Ghz and even with all this other testing (wired gigabit, usb 3.0 flash drives) the CPU never gets maxed out to 100% so that's not the issue. Even over WiFi the CPU doesn't max out either. It's a rather perplexing thing to me.
     
    Kithylin, Nov 18, 2021
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  6. Kithylin

    Samir

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    Gotcha. So the root cause is the same thing that plagues wireless--it's wireless and is susceptible to any and all forms of radio interferance. Not only that, but 5ghz is affected more by walls and solid objects so that hurts as well.

    The source of the wireless signal can also play a part, but distance usually solves this or adding other access points, which is easy enough if you've already done so much work to that laptop. :)
     
    Samir, Nov 18, 2021
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  7. Kithylin

    Kithylin

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    I wish it was that easy but I'm more inclined to think it's something to do with Windows XP that I don't yet understand. I'm sitting here in my bedroom and I can connect this TP-Link usb wifi thing to a USB hub at my desk that goes to the 5800X computer and get 15 MB/s on it then pull it out and plug the same thing into this old laptop running XP (Sitting in the middle of the same room) and plug it in there and get 7 MB/s. It's so odd. I can even go open the hall closet and stick the laptop up within 3ft of the router with no obstructions in the way (clear line of sight) and it's still 7 MB/s on the XP laptop. Oh well. It is what it is.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2021
    Kithylin, Nov 18, 2021
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  8. Kithylin

    Samir

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    If this is just a speed test for megabits, then there may be something to it, but if this is again hard drive speeds, then it's smb1 versus smb2/3, which is much faster.

    What I would do to diagnose this is set up a wired system to be an iperf server (iperf.exe -s) and then run iperf on the laptop and desktop and see if increasing the parallel streams maxes them out to the same speed (-P). If you hit a limit on xp that's not on the ryzen, then it's either an xp/cpu limit, which I still believe is an issue as my Dell D610 units all use that same Pentium M and it's not strong enough for full gigabit even the 2Ghz version.
     
    Samir, Nov 18, 2021
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  9. Kithylin

    Kithylin

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    Thank you for your reply I will look into that and try some things. And it's not just for a speed test. I plan to use this tablet computer thing to try and teach myself how to draw eventually (I'm still waiting and researching for some decent drawing software that works with XP, I found something but need to save up and buy a license) and I want to sometimes play some basic older games on it (Half-life 1 works great on it for example). So I would like to be able to grab stuff off my file server while on WiFi sometimes so I would like WiFi to run as fast as possible while still maintaining a low profile adapter stuck in the thing. I'm probably maxed out as it is.

    EDIT: I've set up iperf as you suggested and tested the machines and found out that the XP laptop with this USB wifi thing can sustain a full 15~16 MB/s over wifi if I use iperf with 4 streams running for 60 seconds. So it is possible to run it at full speed on this old laptop with this wifi adapter in this thread, just for multiple connections and not a single connection. So that's neato. Thank you for educating me. I learned something new tonight. :) So this means if I want to copy big files over WiFi into this XP laptop that I need to split them up into 4x files or so and it will come over to the laptop faster. The more we know. :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2021
    Kithylin, Nov 18, 2021
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  10. Kithylin

    Samir

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    Ah, gotcha. If you want a pretty good free drawing program, look at gimp portable.

    Great work! Glad to see you were able to isolate that it's not the connection, but simply the number of streams/threads (a common issue with xp).

    And if you're copying big files like that, using robocopy can help because you can manually set the number of threads to be used--as high as 128--while the default 8 will probably work great for you. ;)

    And since I forgot robocopy isn't really made for xp (I think there are some xp versions out there), there is xxcopy instead which I believe can do the same thing.
     
    Samir, Nov 18, 2021
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