How to find a wireless network adapter’s speed in Linux?

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How to find a wireless adapter‘s speed in Linux? ethtool does not show the speed of the wireless adapters.

For finding the configured speed of wireless adpaters in Linux, you can use the iwconfig tool.

iwconfig: configure a wireless network interface

For example, to find the speed of the wireless adapter wlp8s0:

# iwconfig wlp8s0
wlp8s0    IEEE 802.11bgn  ESSID:"Your AP"  
          Mode:Managed  Frequency:2.437 GHz  Access Point: 08:5B:0E:66:DF:27   
          Bit Rate=58.5 Mb/s   Tx-Power=16 dBm   
          Retry short limit:7   RTS thr:off   Fragment thr:off
          Encryption key:off
          Power Management:off
          Link Quality=65/70  Signal level=-45 dBm  
          Rx invalid nwid:0  Rx invalid crypt:0  Rx invalid frag:0
          Tx excessive retries:4  Invalid misc:1084   Missed beacon:0

Here, the “Bit Rate=58.5 Mb/s” shows the speed.

Of course, you need to benchmark to find how the actually speed is. The rate here is the link’s current rate.

Eric Ma

Eric is a systems guy. Eric is interested in building high-performance and scalable distributed systems and related technologies. The views or opinions expressed here are solely Eric's own and do not necessarily represent those of any third parties.

3 comments

  1. I believe something is mixed here. You say:

    «Here, the “Bit Rate=58.5 Mb/s” shows the speed.

    Of course, you need to benchmark to find how the actually speed is. The rate here is the hardware limit.»

    But I believe that’s actually the current link speed. You can test this by issuing the same command a few times while the wifi link is at rest and under load. I get different results, which is why I’m saying this.

      1. Hi Eric,

        Cool, thanks for confirming it.

        And by the way, in the meanwhile I think I figured out a way to show the hardware limit, if you have NetworkManager CLI installed:

        nmcli dev wifi

        This will show you several columns with properties of your wifi adapter, including one titled “RATE”, which I believe is the hardware’s maximum speed. I say “I believe” because I can’t find anything in the documentation that explains what each field is but it is definitely a fixed field with a much higher value on my hardware than what I get with iwconfig or iwlist.

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