Consumers using Wi-Fi at home tend to lose an average of 30 percent of download speed and face an increase in latency of 10-20 percent, according to a new study from research firm Epitiro.

The study found that consumers may find on-line game play, VoIP telephony and video streaming unsatisfactory when using Wi-Fi while downloading large files such as MP3s, videos and programs will take longer.

Our data shows that connectivity over Wi-Fi degrades broadband performance considerably in typical circumstances. said JP Curley, CTO, Epitiro. Consumers who are experiencing performance issues with Wi-Fi should take steps to improve their home environment or connect directly via wired ethernet.

Many Wi-Fi routers share the same default communication channel, causing interference in urban areas, and lead to dropped connections or slow service. Consumers can improve services by selecting a different modem channel.

Wi-Fi speeds will also be affected by physical barriers such as walls, doors and furniture, as well as interference from other devices in the same frequency range including television remote controls, microwave ovens, garage door openers and cordless phones.

However, Epitiro has also discovered that web page download times are virtually the same using Wi-Fi or wired connections, indicating that consumer Quality of Experience (QoE) is not always directly related to speed. Web pages download times are less susceptible to changes in line speed as the many artefacts that comprise web pages are relatively small in size.

From Nov. 2010 to Feb. 2011 Epitiro monitored the performance of 14,001 panellists in UK, USA, Italy and Spain. Fifty-six percent of the survey group connected via Wi-Fi, 44 percent via wired ethernet connection.