is WIFI as fast as a regular router?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther) Discussion' started by slipper, Dec 28, 2003.

  1. slipper macrumors 68000

    slipper

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2003
    #1
    i have an airport extreme base station and two computers with the extreme card but its not hooked up yet. i would like to know if the WIFI is significantly slower than a wired system. i didnt setup the airport system in my house yet but i didnt install the card into my ibook. the reason i ask is because this one particular cyber cafe that i go to, i tried using their WIFI capabilities and it was really slow. so i tried going wired with an ethernet cable and everything was so much faster.
     
  2. Daveman Deluxe macrumors 68000

    Daveman Deluxe

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    Jun 17, 2003
    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon
    #2
    Under AirPort Extreme, the highest amount of bandwidth you will ever get is 54 Mbps. By comparison, almost all Ethernet these days is 100 Mbps and some is 1000 Mbps.

    That said, 54 Mbps is still faster than most Internet connections, even T1 connections. It's likely that your cybercafe has the connection speed throttled and was running the 802.11b standard, which is 11 Mbps to begin with. For that matter, the signal strength automatically steps back the connection speed as the signal degrades. Under 802.11b, the typical steps are from 11 Mbps to 5.5 to 3 to 1.1. I'm not sure what they are for 802.11g (which is what AirPort Extreme is based on).
     
  3. slipper thread starter macrumors 68000

    slipper

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  4. Daveman Deluxe macrumors 68000

    Daveman Deluxe

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    #4
    For using the Internet, it ought to be. For local file transfers, it won't be.
     
  5. slipper thread starter macrumors 68000

    slipper

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    Nov 19, 2003
    #5
    ok i was reading some DSL advertisement and it read..."downloads up to 1.5Mbps". from my experience downloading from a 802.11b network which supposedly operates at 11Mbps my downloads were really really slow(dialup slow). while the signal strength was about 3/4 up. As soon as i connected via ethernet cable everything was so much faster. This was all on the same network at an internet cafe.
     
  6. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    #6
    You have to realize that wireless bandwidth is shared. You don't get 11Mbps per user, unless you're the only user on that particular channel. If you've got a lot of people trying to use the internet, and all of the wireless routers are trying to go through one 1.5mbps DSL line, it's going to be quite slow.

    Also, if the internet cafe didn't design their WiFi network intelligently there are going to be a lot of collisions (I believe that's the correct term) because multiple access points may be trying to control the same channels. That drops network throughput significantly.

    Thirdly, if there is even one Windows user on the network with an unpatched box... all the traffic generated by that worm/virus infected computer will bog things down horribly.

    As a home user there will only be a few people on at a time, and you should see much better throughput. I've got a 802.11b network at home, and my daughter and I are both on it simultaneously quite often. It "feels" like I've got sole access to the cable modem - meaning the speeds are such where any slowdowns are at the other end (many/most Webservers are not going to provide your data fast enough to top out your DSL/cable pipe).

    So anyway. Except for computer-to-computer large file transfers within your house, you're going to see the same performance from a wireless network as from a wired one. BTW if you have an 802.11b client on your network, your whole 802.11g network will be pulled down to 802.11b speeds.
     
  7. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    Colly-fornia
    #7
    Yeah, at home the AE won't be the chokepoint, the internet connection will be. The only time wireless sux is for large file transfers, but that's what firewire target disk mode or gigabit ethernet (if you're lucky enough to have a powerbook;) ) is for. Otherwise you will have to settle for the humdrum wired transfer speed of 100 Mbps.
     
  8. JeffTL macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 18, 2003
    #8
    I seem to recall that the Apple Airport Extreme stations, and probably certain others, do not suffer from this problem.
     
  9. slipper thread starter macrumors 68000

    slipper

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    Nov 19, 2003
  10. Dreadnought macrumors 68020

    Dreadnought

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    Jul 22, 2002
    Location:
    Almere, The Netherlands
    #10
    There is another thing... Airport doesn't run at 11MBPS and Extreme doesn't run 54 MBPS either. There is a lot of bandwidth lost in encryption, decryption and so on. The 11 and 54 MBPS are hardware maximums, but the true bandwidth is much and much lower.
     

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