Airport Extreme-N - Why?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by buckwheat, Feb 13, 2007.

  1. buckwheat macrumors member

    buckwheat

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2006
    #1
    I know what you guys are thinking before I start - another Buckwheat rant. But hey, this one may have some teeth.

    Why would I want the new Airport-N? Apple just forgot all the other stuff in the router that pertains to IP, routing and ethernet. It makes the unit no better than the old Extreme.

    If I connect at 5.4ghz, my Network Utility says I'm at 300bps. THATS fast for wireless. But so what? I get to the router quicker with N, but the entire router is wrapped around 100-bps [not giga-bit] ethernet!

    Apple also made the unit unusable with your non-10.0.x network if you're using a Cable/DSL modem. I'll give the Apple IP guys a 2 on that one.

    Well wait a minute - maybe I can use this N stuff for the hard drive. Makes sense. So I connected the USB drive first to the Macbook Pro and did some throughput tests. Very fast indeed actually. About 200mB/sec (that's Bytes not bits).

    So I connected the same drive to the Airport-N. After the usual permissions snafu that Apple hasn't dealt with, I did the same testing. About 30mB/sec via the fastest N connection available. And the computer sits right next to the Extreme-N.

    So Ok the HDD is a bust, well what about Cable/DSL? Whoooosh - it's off to the router at 300bps, then another slam on the brakes to 1/3 the speed for the Ethernet-Router connection. Then of course Cable is running about 5mbp/s anyway. Oh well, no gain there.

    Well wait a minute I'm told by a die-hard Apple fan. "What about your LAN"? he asks. Ok, I'll take a Linksys "G" router ($39.95) and we'll see. Copied files to/from a Sun array, and I'm getting the usual 30-40mBp/s. "Now" said my friend "Now I'll show you what N can really do".

    He hooked up the Airport-N to the LAN, and we did the same test. Sure enough, the usual 30-40mBp/s throughput. "But how can that be"? he was almost crying. I reminded him it was still 100mb Ethernet on the Airport-N. Apple did not do Gig ethernet on this unit, it would have increased the costs dramatically, almost $1.67 per/unit.

    And besides, Apple said we (consumers) didn't need it, and wouldn't know what to do with it anyway. They didn't want us to hurt ourselves.

    Dang. Another one going back to California. I have GOT to get away from this ordering the day Apple announces something
     
  2. quigleybc macrumors 68030

    quigleybc

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2005
    Location:
    Beautiful Vancouver British Columbia, Canada
    #2
    And I have GOT to stop reading threads like this about products I'm excited about....so what are you saying..? That it sucks? Should I not get it?
     
  3. himansk macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2006
    #3
    may i ask you how you got 200MBps throughput out of a USB hard drive when the connection speed of USB is only 480Mbps (theoretically around 60MBps)? transferring data from a usb hard drive, i get around 13-18MBps for large files(~2-3GB), since usb has really bad sustained throughput.
     
  4. aristobrat macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #4
    I don't believe you.

    I have a mac mini plugged directly into the Airport Extreme. This mini has an external firewire drive that's shared to everyone in the house via SMB and AFP. We have the Perian codes installed on this mini, which means Front Row can play pretty much anything that you drop in the ~/Movies folder. This mini is hooked up to our TV.

    Needless to say, with tvtorrents, this mini is getting a lot of use. Everyone in the house will download an episode (or season) of {whatever} on their own laptop and then using 802.11n to copy it over to the mini.

    With 802.11g, it'd take 2-3 minutes to copy a ~300MB file to this mini. With 802.11n, it takes about 30 seconds.

    I have a dual-mode network setup (an older Extreme/Express WDS network for legacy 802.11g devices). I'll give you screenshots tonight when I'm home of the difference in speed between copying a huge file with 802.11g vs. 802.11n to a device connected over the ethernet.
     
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #5
    I was disappointed too to read the router only had 100BaseT Ethernet but I figure the reason they kept the wired speed down to 100 was because that was all that the internal CPU could handle. If there was a gigabit port then the machine would have to ROUTE packets at that speed the internal CPU would have to work 10 times faster. That would mean they (maybe) couldn't use an ARM processor. (What processors do we typically see inside gigabit capable routers from Cisco and the like?) My guess is the device would cost at least double

    If you want a very capable router that can do "N" and serve files at full or even multiple gigabit speeds and be low cost it's easy to build one. Get a 3 year old PC. Install all the network cards you want for wired and wireless connectivity and then install one of the ultra-small Linux distributions on it. Some even boot off the CD-ROM and run in memory, diskless. OK, you are a full-on Apple fan. You can use either (1) run Darwin rather than Linux on the PC or (2) Get an older Power PC rather then a Pentium PC. Either way you get a darn powerfull router for nearly free.

    I ran one of these for a long time because I needed to have some feature none of the home routers would do (act as a SIP proxy for an Astrix PBX phone system)

    This mirrors my experiance exactly. I find that 100BaseT Ethernet can move data at 10MB per second (best case). So 30 seconds for a 300MB file is right on.

    But wouldn't 1000BaseT have been better? It's 10X faster so you could do the same copy in 3 seconds. (Assuming you had a disk that fast. It would have to by an array.) The point is that Gigabit speeds are as fast is a locally attached SATA drive so you don't need to copy files. With a network this fast the network drive is as fast as your boot drive.

    Give Apple some slack, it is unrealistic to expect them to sell a gigabit speed file server/router/print serer for under $200. Not in 2007.

    I expect the best use of the routers file serving feature will be "Time Machine". This will be an automated backup that runs at (say) 2:00am and we really don't care about the speed as long as it is done by the time we wake up in the morning. My plan is to hook up a small RAID bo and use it as a shared network backup device. For this application I want a low watts/gigabyte ratio My high powered file server sucks 250 watts 24x7. I'd like to shut it down.
     
  6. aristobrat macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #6
    Oh, definitely -- no argument there!

    I think I misread one of the OPs points.

    If he's trying to say when you have multiple 10/100/1000 wired devices hooked into the new Extreme that it copies no faster than the old Extreme, then I agree. 100Mbit/s is 100Mbit/s. Although the obvious solution is to network those devices with a GigE switch, and hook the switch to the Extreme.

    My post above was to point out that if you're copying from wireless devices to wired devices, 802.11n is quite an improvement, and after you factor in the overhead, 802.11n's "300Mbit/s" rate is hardly that, meaning the 100Mbit/s ports don't significantly slow down wireless to wired transfers as wireless can hardly push 100Mbit/s.
     
  7. buckwheat thread starter macrumors member

    buckwheat

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2006
    #7
    You're confusing bits and bytes. Direct USB is as measured [above] - on Macs it's FAST. With both an 802.11 layer and IP tossed in, it goes to about 20% of that as it travels through the Extreme-N and it's even slower processor.

    So no matter. 300mbps to the Extreme-N is worthless, as this little unit will always bottleneck on ANY of it's other interfaces. Apple just didn't engineer around the unit's looks.

    Somebody mentioned gig ether cost. Netgear has a 4port gig-ether Super-G (I think they claim about 120mbps on 802.11) router for $59.95 at BestBuy. I run a FC over IP through one with tremendous throughput.

    If I put the new Extreme-N on the same switch, it just backs down to 100mb, circa 1998 technology and that's that.

    Whomever mentioned the giga PC w/Linux hit the nail on the head. True, you've got to do it yourself, but after a 1/2 bottle of tequila and 1-2 nights it's done. And you're CERTAINLY not locked into one of Apple's three subnets for your LAN.

    Give Apple a break? Well, alright, I'll always give them the benefit of the doubt. I don't hold grudges or otherwise have a bone to pick (other than the displays on 17" pros). It's just this new little wonder-box Extreme-N in reality is a non-event. It's costly, sexy, heavy, looks cool. And for those of us who've spent the $200 or so need to straighten up and swallow it. I'm one too.

    Point is - we've gained absolutely nothing with this piece of equipment. Other than you can look at Network Utilities and see 300bps. It's functionality and practicality is utterly pointless. And it's competition blows it away for 1/4 the cost. Sorry, that's the truth
     
  8. phuong macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2006
    #8

    you mean if you got a GigE switch connected to your modem, and then you hook the AEBS to this switch, the whole system's speed is now reduced to 100?
     
  9. aristobrat macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #9
    Hardly. :rolleyes:

    For mainly wireless environments (like my house), 802.11n devices can now transfer files amongst themselves (and to wired devices plugged into the Extreme) *many* times faster than they did when they were on a 802.11g network.

    I couldn't be more pleased with the performance of the new Airport Extreme router or how easy the AirPort Utility made it to setup a dual-mode network out of my two other older AirPorts. (802.11n on 5ghz, and a separate 802.11g WDS network on 2.4ghz so the slower devices in the house (TiVo, etc) don't slow down the N network).

    And I didn't even have to find multiple WRT54Gs with the correct serial numbers that would allow me to blow away the factory image and replace it with OpenWRT in order to make it all work. :)
     
  10. jeremy.king macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    #10
    Um, no he's not - it seems you are. USB2 is rated at a theoretical maximum of 480 MegaBitsPerSecond (Mbps) or 60 MegaBytesPerSecond (MBps). The fact you claim 200 MegaBytesPerSecond (MBps) throughput on a directly connected drive is well...IMPOSSIBLE!

    Wait there's more!
    Its also IMPOSSIBLE to copy a file at 30-40 MegaBytesPerSecond over a wireless G connection, since Wireless G theoretical max is 54 MegaBitsPerSecond or only 6MegaBytesPerSecond.

    Edit: And more
    Of course here, you really meant Mbps not bps. Big difference!

    Seriously, if you are going to rant. Check the accuracy of any numbers and units you are going to use. Care to revise your initial post?

    I cry BS! Just another toothless Buckwheat rant...

    This "gripe" confuses me too. A wireless N router will NOT make your internet connection any faster - you didn't think it would, did you?
     
  11. himansk macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2006
    #11
    like u say above, u got 200MByte throughput on a usb drive connected to ur mbp.
    i am comparing it to 13-18MByte transfer rates of a usb hdd on my MBP. theoretically usb connection can do around 60MByte of peak transfer rate if u ignore the overheads etc.
    so i am not confused between bits and bytes. my question still remains, how did u get 200MByte transfer speed out of a usb drive?
     
  12. aristobrat macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #12
    Maybe it was part of that Sun array he was talking about. :eek: Not. :D
     
  13. himansk macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2006
    #13
    as far as i know, even the internal sata drive in the mbp cant go over 150MByte/s (theoretical), dont think there is a sataII drive in the mb pros.
     
  14. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #14
    It's simple. Because to Kevin Wifirouterpurchaser, 108 > 54. End of story.
     
  15. jeremy.king macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    #15
    I thought it was 300 > 54 :confused: 5x as fast, and 2x the range.
     
  16. buckwheat thread starter macrumors member

    buckwheat

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2006
    #16
    While you guys were out trying to save face from your "big-N" purchase, you totally IGNORED the bottlenecks on this new unit. Some of you may be living in a dream world, and AWFULLY angry when you're little bubble gets popped. *I* had the balls to admit it - do YOU?

    Suck it up and admit it - the "N" does absolutely nothing for total end-to-end data throughput on THIS ACCESS POINT. NOTHING. In fact, this unit makes it worse.

    Especially for wireless-disk to host speeds. It's so slow moving through the Extreme's little processor, that it is slower than USB by a factor of 5 (1/5 as fast) and 1GB disk IP by a factor of 4 - in other words it's 1/4 as fast.

    Go test it yourself and tell me your results rather than clinching your fists and arguing your theory numbers. Go ahead - tell me the ACTUAL difference between max connect speed throughput between an Extreme router and your networked mount points.

    Please - just tell me those numbers. But you won't. Because you're in a denial mode having just spent $200 on a worthless technology that Linksys, Netgear etc do better with enhanced-G. Not to mention what 1GB ether has already done for years. Apple will catch up with the next release, but this unit is far from it.

    And lastly - how many Enstiens like "kingjr" have moved SCSI-IP traffic to a Mac host? Tossing a tantrum and trying to make this little Extreme box more than it it is, or what you so gleefully (but mistakenly) recommended to others is again, pointless. You're just embarrased - admit it.

    Next post is you'll come up with all sorts of figures you've read about on the internet, and how they're SUPPOSED to work. But which one of you is going to post YOUR results?

    And speaking of enhanced G, purportedly carrying about 150mb/s, I get better throughput through one of those than this "N" machine. Only problem is my beloved Mac's don't (and can't) handle these technologies - yet
     
  17. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #17
    Sorry.. was thinking about something else.

    Code:
    Release Date	Op. Frequency	Data Rate (Typ)	Data Rate (Max)	Range (Indoor)
    Unfinished	2.4 GHz or 5 GHz	200 Mbit/s	540 Mbit/s	~50 meters (~165 ft)
    Specs according to wikipedia.
     
  18. buckwheat thread starter macrumors member

    buckwheat

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2006
    #18
    Well there's your problem - you're trying to outTHINK everyone instead of outDOING it
     
  19. buckwheat thread starter macrumors member

    buckwheat

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2006
    #19
    Mapquest says I can drive from Boston to New York in 4:00 hours. But by the time you leave your driveway and pull into the driveway in NY it will ACTUALLY take you 8 hours.

    So while you're kicking your feet in a tantrum and screaming "Mapquest said I can do 80 mph all the way" and quoting other theoretical numbers, you forgot about the actual, practical, realistic conditions. Both in driving and real-world data throughput.

    You conveniently ignored the one way streets, road blocks, 3-4 wrecks, icy roads, and police chases.

    So you pop up screaming you've just purchased a Mercedes S-600, and the salesman said you'd be faster than anyone else. But we're all using the same roads, now you are pouting mad that the 1987 Toyota pick-up actually beat you to your destination. But you quickly claim you sure looked good getting there in that Merc, just like the Extreme-N looks good sitting on your desk
     
  20. jeremy.king macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    #20
    I'm not the one posting impossible benchmarks, which you still haven't addressed. :rolleyes:

    Here are the facts.
    Wireless N is faster than G.
    Wireless N has better range than G
    AEBS includes a print server
    AEBS includes NAS capabilities
    AEBS doesn't have gigabit - I wish it did.

    It's far from a waste and is quite a nice upgrade for us with plain old Wireless G AP/routers without those capabilities.

    You are right - I am embarrassed - embarrassed that you made it through our educational system not knowing a bit from a byte or how to spell Einstein, embarrassed, or even kingjr3. If you are going to attack me, at least get my handle right!

    Finally, if you are going to make an argument, check your numbers for accuracy.

    This thread is pointless now.
     
  21. buckwheat thread starter macrumors member

    buckwheat

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2006
    #21
    Yes, and Mapquest said I'd be from Boston to NY in 2:58 because the speed limit was increased from 55 to 220 for one mile, between mile marker 301 and 302.

    The traffic jam @ 15mph you go for 10 miles is like the N router's 100mb ethernet and the slow USB disk channel
     
  22. yippy macrumors 68020

    yippy

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #22
    Look, I realize there is a bottleneck without the gigabit ethernet. However, I challenge you to find any router with the same or better features as the airport extreme that costs less.

    You can find wireless n-gigabit ethernet for less (not much though), but find even a wireless-g router with 100BaseT ethernet plus print server, plus any form of NAS support and you will be out of luck.

    Plus, to say that the new Extreme is not an upgrade from the old one in any way is bull.

    You are saying it could be faster. We are saying it is still better than almost anything you can pick up from Bust Buy, hands down.

    About this bottleneck. You are trying to make it sound like a 300mbit wireless network crippled to 100mbits is slower than a 108mbit wireless network with 100mbit wired. That is bull as well. It is the same speed, just not INCREASED as much as it should be, not slowed down.
     
  23. buckwheat thread starter macrumors member

    buckwheat

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2006
    #23
    But that's the point - it's not "hands down". It's at best only marginal. I'll be generous and give the Extreme-N maybe a 2% performance if tuned correctly. Just 2% in what really matters - data from your host to your destination. But in most cases it's downright slower from the ill-engineered bottlenecks, especially in disk I/O.

    Apple had the chance to hit one out of the ballpark and they blew it. Instead they got a double with 2 outs. Everyone that bet on Apple winning the ball game is feeling the hit. I was like everyone else - by reading the marketing slicks I was absorbed and convinced. Until I tried it.

    N is HOW much faster than high-perf G? Not much. N technology will certainly be here. But not in this unit
     
  24. yippy macrumors 68020

    yippy

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #24
    So it doesn't live up to marketing hype, neither does the rest of the competition.

    You say it is slower? Slower than what? USB? Well a direct connection will always be faster than Network attached.

    All I am getting from you is that you are mad that the gains are not as big as you think they should be. Gains do not have to be light and day to be worth it. Even you say it is faster than before. Apple released a product that is better than what they had before, even if marginally, I fail to see how that is a bad thing.
     
  25. buckwheat thread starter macrumors member

    buckwheat

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2006
    #25
    Hey, I'm sorry Enstien kingr. Please accept my apologies for not attacking you politely LOL

    Oh my, you no longer approve. This could be a mess for the whole Extreme-N community [buckwheat hangs head and staggers off the stage, a cohort throws cape over his shoulders. He turns back to the crowd and says into the microphone "That'll be $1.98 please"]
     

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