How big of a deal is 802.11 n

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by tim2006, Jan 30, 2007.

  1. tim2006 macrumors 6502

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    #1
    how much better is reception, battery life, etc
     
  2. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #2
    Varying reports...

    Battery: Intel claims there is a substantial benefit for battery life. But think about battery life this way: if you turn 802.11g off completely on an iBook... you get back maybe 20% extra battery life? Like you get 5.5 hours instead of 4.5 hours. You certainly are not going to do any better than that.

    Range: Supposed to be a huge improvement, like a factor of three, I think? Probably going to be somewhat limited in the way the existing systems are limited -- speed and distance are inversely related. So you might get a signal much farther away but you will not get 600 mbps speeds 100 m from your router. Other thing is that it's in the same frequency spectrum as 802.11g, so the same physical barriers that block 802.11g will continue to block 802.11n... practically speaking, you might get better reception throughout your home, and you might might be able to do with less remote units if you're patching together your network with multiple routers extending the main one.

    Speed: Raw throughput is about 10x 802.11g. You are not going to see that with internet connections, though, for a long, long time, because your 802.11g is already faster than your network connection in most cases. Understanding this is probably the single most crucial thing about figuring out whether you need 802.11n. The only place you will see an advantage is intranet transfers -- transferring or streaming a file from one device to another on your home network. For this, the benefit will be massive. For instance why Apple TV needs it.

    You can take a look at this white paper, for instance, if you want real technicals.
     
  3. macjonny1 macrumors 6502a

    macjonny1

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    #3
    One other consideration is that your whole network will need to be the 'n' standard if you are going to experience the full benefits. For example, if you have an 'n' router and two 'n' computers and then another laptop with 'g' connects to your network, your whole network will slow down.
     
  4. Freyqq macrumors 68040

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    Dec 13, 2004
    #4
    supposably..currently there isn't a standard N yet, so networks aren't fully compatible yet. Therefore, an apple N card only works well with other apples with N cards. 2$ isn't much, but I wouldn't upgrade unless you were on an apple network.
     
  5. Bibulous macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Isn't 802.11b still almost twice as fast as my "high speed" 5mbs cable connection at home? If so, unless you transfer files around or have multiple computers using it, your not using 802.11 b, n or g at full speed?
     
  6. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #6
    You don't have to pay the $1.99 if you're getting the new AirPort Extreme basestation. The card update is included.

    Supposably? It's supposedly. ;)
     
  7. macjonny1 macrumors 6502a

    macjonny1

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    #7
    Apple is using the same draft n standard that was just ratified

    So, presumably all future cards should be using that standard as well. Pre-n cards by linksys or belkin or the like developed previously may not work with it due to interoperability. I would assume that all products developed from this point forward would use the same standard apple adopted. From the article, the future products from intel and the like will use it.
     
  8. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #8
    I think the issue again is being careful about the relationship between speed and distance. When you are in ideal conditions...maybe even most conditions, yes, 802.11b is not a limiting factor for your internet activity. But the farther you are from your router, or the less ideal the conditions are, it becomes slower, and rapidly so (think about a graph of f(x) = 1/x^2... I think that should be an approximately valid analogy, since it should go like surface area).

    So with 802.11g, you buy yourself some "crush space" that allows you to have non-ideal conditions and still get speed. With 802.11n, you may truly buy yourself more of that crush space. But only if you're in a situation where your 802.11g signal quality is a limiting factor for internet traffic already. Which, for most of us, it isn't.
     
  9. redmeister macrumors 6502

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    Jan 26, 2007
    #10
    id say its a big deal but we will just have to wait and see for sure

    g,b,n,x,a,z haha a year from now we'll be in all kinds of different letters constantly upgrading
     
  10. aswitcher macrumors 603

    aswitcher

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    #11
    I am looking foward to what I hope will be improved reliability and stability provided by N.
     
  11. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #12
    What would you do in this scenario?

    I've got an older Airport Base Station (pre-extreme, "snow"), which seems to demand resetting every few days when it drops our internet connection. I'm afraid it's giving up the ghost. I currently use it wirelessly only occasionally with one PowerBook. Our other Macs and printers and one PC are wired to a switch. The Base Station is located distant enough from our home office that the low signal level precludes using Airport for other wireless purposes, so otherwise, it functions as a router.

    I am thinking of replacing the "snow" Base Station with either a "g" Extreme Base Station (currently available from Apple as a refurb for $99), or waiting for the "n" version. New desktop Macs with wireless "n" are probably in our future, maybe this year.

    Will the signal strength of the new "n" Base Station make it possible for me to get rid of the wires, if we buy new Macs with wireless "n" later this year? Or could I improve the performance of the wireless network sufficiently by buying the current and less expensive "g" Base Station?
     
  12. aswitcher macrumors 603

    aswitcher

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    #13
    I think you need either a G with one of those antenae extenders thingies...or an N basestation. Personally, I would get the N for the future.
     
  13. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

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    Jan 6, 2004
    #14
    i would go for one of the new ones IJ, its going to last you longer, ideally and though if you have a Wireless G computer on the network, it'll be bumped down to that, its more future proof too. and its smaller and more compact. and if new macs are in your future soon, then i'd say yes spend the bit more for it.
     
  14. atari1356 macrumors 68000

    atari1356

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    #15
    This is true... however, keep in mind that having a "g" on your "n" network doesn't affect other benefits of the "n" standard. So, you still get the extended range.
     
  15. macjonny1 macrumors 6502a

    macjonny1

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    #16
    From the apple footnote, range will be affected as well:

    (1) Based on a comparison with Apple's 802.11g products. Comparison assumes AirPort Extreme network with 802.11n-enabled computer. Speed and range will be less if an 802.11a/b/g product joins the network.
     
  16. steve_hill4 macrumors 68000

    steve_hill4

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    #17
    This is draft n, not apple draft n. Any other router you have that say 802.11n draft on it will work to that same speed and distance, assuming all computers are also 802.11n.

    Nice to have, but better to upgrade all in one shot.
     
  17. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #18
    You've nearly got me convinced. ;)

    The problem I'm having is the report (as above) that if even one "non-n" device is included in this network that it will drop both the speed and range of the "n" Base Station to "g" or "b" levels.
     
  18. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

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    #19
    yes it does, but you're current one is a 'b' standard, you're powerbook will be on the 'g' standard, which is what the network would drop down to, this will still give you better range than you're current base station while having the 'n' in there for future upgrades. if you're buying a new mac it'll have the 'n' standard and you'll have a 'g' powerbook, so you'll be operating at 'g' speed and range, true. but just remember that when you go to upgrade your powerbook to a new laptop that it'll have the 'n' standard, and if you got the extreme base station refurbed, that would then be your limiting factor and would need to be upgraded.
     
  19. vansouza macrumors 68000

    vansouza

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    #20
    I do not understand the drop down thing

    My WPN824 b and g wireless router plays fine with b and g equipment ... I do not experience any drop down to the b standard. The g PCs and Macs scream and the Tivo units on b crawl along.. but the network is fine... I guess I missed the point... :confused:
     
  20. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #21
    It's a nice sentiment, but it would not be true, if history is an example.

    Different brands of modems and wireless equipment released prior to a standard have rarely worked together.
     
  21. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #22
    Since the PowerBook isn't used on the network full-time anyway, it appears that nursing the old Base Station along for another month or so makes the most sense, and holding out for the new "n" Base Station. Thanks for the info and advice!
     
  22. sblasl macrumors 6502a

    sblasl

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    #23
    This is from xlr8yourmac.com http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/

    iMac C2D owner reports 802.11n Enabler solved 802.11g performance problem - Jonas, a reader that reported low performance with his C2D iMac (20in) in yesterday's news Airport Extreme 2007-001 update feedback today wrote the 802.11n Enabler ($1.99 at apple store - see earlier post below) solved it:

    " Mike, great news! Installing the airport 802.11n enabler on the iMac 20" C2D solved all speed issues! I now get the full 10MBit DSL speed over airport (was 4Mbit) and I get 3.1 MB/sec speed when copying files over the network (before I only had 0.5 MB/sec). This is all with WPA2. Just for your info: before I installed the update I tried disabling the encryption on my router, and the speed didn't change. (reply to a previous post below from another iMac owner)
    greetings from germany,
    Jonas "
     
  23. sblasl macrumors 6502a

    sblasl

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    #24
    The Buffalo WZR-G300N AirStation is a fantastic product

    [​IMG]

    I bought the Buffalo WZR-G300N AirStation specifically for my MacBook Pro C2D and my Wife's MacBook C2D.

    I have not had time to do any specific benchmarking, but observing my Wife and her "surfing", I can see, and she commented on the smoothness and speed of web pages loading.

    The WZR-G300N AirStation is a fantastic product, when lots of people were experiencing problems with connections etc., before and after the recent update, we never had any problems.

    The WZR-G300N AirStation is WDS friendly with the Airport Express and does not require and 3rd party firmware to make it work, you just configure with appropriate MAC addresses and your up & running.

    I am going to purchase a Buffalo Wireless-N Nfiniti Dual Band Gigabit Router WZRAG300NH when they are released in February so that I can continue to use my Airport Expresses for AirTunes to the home theater without degrading the "n" network.

    [​IMG]
     
  24. djejrejk macrumors 6502a

    djejrejk

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    #25
    I dont think you are correct about this.. If I connect a B device to my g network it does not slow to 11mbps. Only the g computer should be affected.
     

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