On paper, most modern streaming players have the same Wi-Fi capabilities. Whether you buy a Roku Ultra, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Apple TV 4K, or the new Chromecast, you’ll be getting a device with dual-band Wi-Fi 5 (aka 802.11ac) support, which should provide a speedy connection on most recent wireless routers.
But specs don’t tell the whole story. This week, Roku released a new version of its Roku Ultra streaming box, and it came with an unusual claim: Despite no change to the Wi-Fi chip inside, Roku says the new Ultra offers 50 percent more range than last year’s version.
My Roku Ultra review did indeed find some modest connection speed gains for the new model, but it also made me wonder how the Ultra compares to other streaming devices. So, I decided to go further down the rabbit hole, comparing real-world Wi-Fi speeds on the new Roku Ultra against several streaming players from Roku, Apple, Amazon, and Google.