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Old Dec 19, 2012, 10:52 AM   #1
chilady1
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Wi-Fi or Ethernet

I just got my first iMac couple of weeks ago. I purchased a mid-July 2011 iMac from a seller on Craiglist. Love the machine and it is practically brand new.

In the beginning while transferring docs, etc, I had the iMac on the Wi-Fi at my home. Once the transfer was complete, I switched over to the Ethernet connection from my old PC.

Just wondering, how many folks use the Wi-Fi option with their iMacs vs. the Ethernet connection. The machine was very fast on the wi-fi connect and was actually thinking of running the machine that way as opposed to the Ethernet.

Thanks for any replies.

P.S. Might seem like a dumb question but I always associate wi-fi with laptops, not necessarily desktops.
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 10:58 AM   #2
mlamb64150
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It's not a silly question at all

Providing your iMac is within reasonable distance and preferably in the same room as your router, you may as well use Wifi.

Unless you have a very old router, the transfer speeds won't be bottle-necked so you won't see any massive difference in speed unless you are doing huge data transfers.

If you're doing any crucial backups/system restorations it doesn't hurt to have it plugged into Ethernet for that extra piece of mind. Wifi certainly isn't like the old days when it was prone to dropouts and disconnects.
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 11:01 AM   #3
Brian Y
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It's not a silly question at all

Providing your iMac is within reasonable distance and preferably in the same room as your router, you may as well use Wifi.

Unless you have a very old router, the transfer speeds won't be bottle-necked so you won't see any massive difference in speed unless you are doing huge data transfers.

If you're doing any crucial backups/system restorations it doesn't hurt to have it plugged into Ethernet for that extra piece of mind. Wifi certainly isn't like the old days when it was prone to dropouts and disconnects.
Wi-Fi will be much slower than gigabit ethernet. I can get around 80Mbps real life speed via Wi-Fi using an AirPort extreme. A gigabit connection will run rings around that.
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 11:01 AM   #4
blueroom
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Wired Ethernet always.

Use WiFi only on portable devices.
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 11:05 AM   #5
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Ethernet always.
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 11:15 AM   #6
lordgaino
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Originally Posted by blueroom View Post
Wired Ethernet always.

Use WiFi only on portable devices.
+1. All my computers are wired up via ethernet on homeplugs.
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 11:23 AM   #7
theluggage
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Originally Posted by chilady1 View Post
The machine was very fast on the wi-fi connect and was actually thinking of running the machine that way as opposed to the Ethernet.
What do you use your home network for? Does your hub/router support Gigabit wired ethernet or is it just 10/100? Is your hub/router within easy cable reach of your iMac?

If you're mainly accessing the Internet using one computer, then your internet connection will be the bottleneck so any speed gain from using wired Ethernet will be irrelevant. Even streaming to Apple TVs etc. is generally designed to work fine with WiFi speeds. So if WiFi is working for you, stick with it.

If you are often file-sharing between two or more machines then I'd try and keep as many as possible plugged into the wired Ethernet, and also make sure that everything (including the router) supports Gigabit - if not you'll probably want to get a Gigabit switch and 'cascade' that from your router rather than use you router's internal hub.

Generally, if there was a wired Ethernet port within range, I'd use it, but for surfing the web on a single machine, WiFi is fine.

NB: Do features like AirDrop actually work with wired Ethernet? I've come across some mac-to-Android sync applications which don't.
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 11:26 AM   #8
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Every stationary device of mine is on a GigE switch. They're just not that expensive. Never ever use a hub (awful things).

Takes some work getting all the wiring laid out but well worth it.
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 12:53 PM   #9
BSoares
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I actually have both on. And set the order to use Ethernet first.

Why wifi too? When it's off my Apple TV can't stream stuff from the iMac. With that on it goes back to working fine.

But I have Ethernet on top so the iMac itself uses that. Seems to work fine.
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 01:37 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by theluggage View Post
What do you use your home network for? Does your hub/router support Gigabit wired ethernet or is it just 10/100? Is your hub/router within easy cable reach of your iMac?

If you're mainly accessing the Internet using one computer, then your internet connection will be the bottleneck so any speed gain from using wired Ethernet will be irrelevant. Even streaming to Apple TVs etc. is generally designed to work fine with WiFi speeds. So if WiFi is working for you, stick with it.

If you are often file-sharing between two or more machines then I'd try and keep as many as possible plugged into the wired Ethernet, and also make sure that everything (including the router) supports Gigabit - if not you'll probably want to get a Gigabit switch and 'cascade' that from your router rather than use you router's internal hub.

Generally, if there was a wired Ethernet port within range, I'd use it, but for surfing the web on a single machine, WiFi is fine.

NB: Do features like AirDrop actually work with wired Ethernet? I've come across some mac-to-Android sync applications which don't.
Come on.. I know you americans live in the stoneage when it comes to connectionspeed but i cant imagine you can find a 10/100 router other than in the junkyard?

And no the internet connection wont necessary be the bottleneck especially when it comes to sreaming since the responsetime on wirless will always add 30-40 ms at least (even with dot n tech and even with the coming standard) to the first hop (your gateway). And apple usually has really crappy wireless card so the wireless bottleneck is almost always the card and not the ieee standard

I do agree with you that for surfing it is definately fine.
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 02:28 PM   #11
theluggage
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Come on.. I know you americans live in the stoneage when it comes to connectionspeed but i cant imagine you can find a 10/100 router other than in the junkyard?
What I said was check that your router has Gigabit. If its a couple of years old and/or the no-name router that came from an ISP odds are that it is only 10/100.

Here's a couple still on sale (this is definitely not a recommendation): http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/belkin...91863-pdt.html, http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/tp-lin...91897-pdt.html

Cheap NAS boxes, routers and other 'domestic' products (cough!) are still often 10/100.
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 03:13 PM   #12
chilady1
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Originally Posted by theluggage View Post
What I said was check that your router has Gigabit. If its a couple of years old and/or the no-name router that came from an ISP odds are that it is only 10/100.

Here's a couple still on sale (this is definitely not a recommendation): http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/belkin...91863-pdt.html, http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/tp-lin...91897-pdt.html

Cheap NAS boxes, routers and other 'domestic' products (cough!) are still often 10/100.
Thanks all for the comments and suggestions. Also recommendations on routers as I have the stock router that came from Verizon when we did the FiOS upgrade and honestly, it SUCKS!

We are definitely in the market for a new router!
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