Slow WLAN speeds


I have a desktop [a Compaq SR1732IL] and a laptop [Studio 1555]. I have an ADSL2+ Wi-Fi router, which is my gateway to the internet.

My desktop is connected to the router via Ethernet. I don't use DHCP and my IP settings are:

IP Address: [laptop] ; [desktop]
Subnet Mask:
Default Gateway:

I've networked my laptop and desktop by putting them under the same workgroup. But when I transfer files from my desktop to my laptop, the file transfers happen at around 1.76 MB/s. I was given to understand that Wi-Fi has transfer speeds of 54 MB/s. Why are my transfers almost 40 times as slow?

A few more specs:

Desktop: Windows XP MCE x86 ; Inbuilt ethernet controller [Realtek]
Laptop: Windows Vista x64 ; Intel 5100 Wi-Fi link

any help would be appreciated
Things are slow depending on the quality signal strength you are getting. Wired networks are much more reliable for ovbious reasons. Packets floating through the air are more likely to "collide" & fade out before they reach thier destinations or arrive at the wrong destination all together, so data ends up needing to be resent until its been transmitted in full. Your computers must authenticate to each other so you get access for even copying the files. As the file transfers get bigger it takes longer. Your gateway also has to encrypt/decrypt traffic on protected networks. If your desktops on the the LAN of your gateway it must route the trafic from the WAN to the LAN. 54Mbps is the maximum speed for the 802.11g specification, but it doesnt mean your traffic is always going at that speed. Its more or less a "wow" factor, nothing more than what it is supposedly "capable of", but as you can see the reasons above can play a big role in speed.