How slow is 802.11b ?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by londonweb, Sep 16, 2005.

  1. londonweb macrumors 6502

    londonweb

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2005
    Location:
    london
    #1
    Being new to mac having just bought an iBook g3 from ebay, I'm finding out good things (and not so good things) quite fast- today I discovered I can't put an Airport Extreme card in my ibook, I have to get an original airport card which costs twice as much and runs on the slower 802.11b standard. My question is- How much slower is this older standard than the current 802.11g. I'll mostly be using it for internet access with occasional file-swapping with my PC- my main concern is that the internet will be slower...before I shell out a frankly offensive amount of money for an obsolete piece of equipment, what do people think?

    many thanks
     
  2. TheMonarch macrumors 65816

    TheMonarch

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    Bay Area
    #2
    Very. But more than fast enough for internet.
     
  3. londonweb thread starter macrumors 6502

    londonweb

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    Sep 14, 2005
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    london
    #3
    Any idea what it;s equvalent wired speed would be?
     
  4. Heb1228 macrumors 68020

    Heb1228

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    Virginia Beach, VA
    #4
    802.11b is rated at 11Mbps, whereas g is rated at 54Mbps. A regular ethernet connection runs at 100Mbps.
     
  5. TheMonarch macrumors 65816

    TheMonarch

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    #5


    Not sure what you're asking here, but if my math is correct its, 9x slower than wired. or about 780k per sec (actual).
     
  6. jer446 macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 28, 2004
    #6
    yes but i dont believe you will be using all 100 when just browsing the internet.. it is more than enough for just internet browsing.
     
  7. Heb1228 macrumors 68020

    Heb1228

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    Feb 3, 2004
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    #7
    The only difference you'll see is in file sharing between computers. Your internet connection probably never gets as high as 3Mbps.
     
  8. londonweb thread starter macrumors 6502

    londonweb

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    Location:
    london
    #8
    This is true- the highest download speeds I ever see are around 200Kb/s over the net. However I would be seriously disappointed if I was limited to anything this slow when transferring files between computers.
     
  9. VanMac macrumors 6502a

    VanMac

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    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    Rampaging Tokyo
    #9
    The 'b' standard is more then enough for any net activity, and likely more then any bandwidth you have (less you have some fibre optic T1 or something).

    80211.b is not bad for file transfers at home. If your doing a lot of it, with rather large files, then you might get annoyed after a while. YOu can then string some cat5 cabling around for 100Mb, or get 80211.g
     
  10. James Philp macrumors 65816

    James Philp

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2005
    Location:
    Oxford/London
    #10
    I see this thread being confused by the bit/byte conundrum:

    Communication speeds are almost always quoted in bits (i.e. a 0 or 1) per second. (To make them sound LARGER!) - This makes sense. (You are told how many "0"s or "1"s the thing can chuck out/recieve in a second.)
    However; your computer will tell you download speed in bytes per second, as a byte is the smallest amount of useful data a computer can handle.
    A byte is a string of 8 bits i.e. 00110010.
    This is why your 54kbps (kilo-bits per second) actually gives you download speeds of roughly 10x less (best I've got is sort of 8 kilo-bytes. (Also because a kilobyte is actually 1024 bytes, not 1000 bits like a kilobit)

    So getting back to it:
    I have a iMac (G4) with an airport express card in it and a PowerBook G3 (Pismo) with a Linksys 802.11b card inside. (also does "g" but the slot in this old machine can't handle the bandwidth)
    I have the iMac running a airport network to the PB, sharing files, internet and printers.
    For example:
    I just transfered a 24 MB file in 12 seconds on a "b" network - I get that as 2 mega-bytes per second, but you could get faster.

    The upshot of all this:
    If you want to primarily use your airport card to share the internet 802.11b is likely to be as fast as you'll ever need. If you are going to want to connect to other computers and transfer around GBs of documents, b will not be fast enough, but wirelessly it's the best the old iBooks can do! - making this whole thing a bit moot.

    As you can see from my example you could transfer a large file (~100MB) in a minute or less, which I find fine for 95% of the time. In the rare occasion that I may need to transfer a file lager than, say, 250MB, I'd pull the crossover cable out, although the time it takes to do that and configure a temporary local wired network would probably be longer that I would save just using 802.11b!

    A special case:
    If you use your computer a lot for video editing, 802.11b (or standard "Airport") will most likely not have the bandwidth to stream your iMovie (or other) project to your remote laptop.
    Also, 802.11b will not be fast enough to stream audio to an airport express-connected Hi-fi. (You need a "g" network, as stated somewhere in the Apple sites.)

    Also note:
    All speeds are likely to increase if you set up a proper wireless network using, say, an airport express or extreme base station.
     
  11. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

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    Aug 24, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    i regularly hit 1MB/s with my airport express an my ibook g3, /me loves 8Mbit.
     
  12. londonweb thread starter macrumors 6502

    londonweb

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    Sep 14, 2005
    Location:
    london
    #12
    Thanks everyone for all your advice- I'm feeling a lot happier about the prospect of it all now. If I hadn't bought an ibook with a duff ethernet port on it then I wouldn't even be in this situation (hazards of buying on ebay). ta ta
     
  13. Demon Hunter macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    #13
    Ha, I was always wondering about that!! Thanks James. :D
     
  14. texlaw04 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2005
    #14
    I realize that lots of people have commented, but I wanted to add my two practical cents. Unless you have internet I/O exceeding the typical broadband (for example, Verizon FIOS in select US markets), your internet connection per se should not appear to be slower through an 11 mbps connection. I had hoped that the "g" router I bought to replace a beat-up old D-Link might perform a little better due to being a newer piece of hardware, but no such luck. Sometimes spending more money really doesn't help.

    Now, as for transferring files, I/O seems to be limited by iffy in-home Wi-Fi connections. I've operated a Wi-Fi network at home for several years (both Mac and PC) and I had only a minor gain upon switching to the "g" standard. For hardcore file transfers and major software downloads with a notebook, you're better off leaving a short ethernet cable attached to your router and temporarily plugging in your notebook if you're concerned.

    Another factor you should consider is the I/O the websites you view can support. I have a 500kb connection, in theory, and I have yet to get over 400kb on even the fastest sites (a handful, to be sure).

    I would just buy what works for your machine. Until your get something like a 15mbps (almost 2mb per sec) connection, I wouldn't worry.
     
  15. ammon macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2005
    Location:
    Colorado
    #15
    Go gigabit and never look back!!! For file sharing it is faster than my hard drives can go!

    But I don't think you can get that in a iBook. :eek:
     

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