Is wireless internet slower than Ethernet?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by crazydreaming, Oct 2, 2005.

  1. crazydreaming macrumors 6502a

    crazydreaming

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT -Westminster College
    #1
    I've been saying all along to people that surfing the web, downloading, etc is not any slower via a wireless connection compared to a direct Ethernet connection.

    I'm starting to wonder though as people are saying they have noticed a slight increase in speed when downloading things over the Ethernet connection compared to wireless...

    IDK, just wondering.
     
  2. dotdotdot macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    #2
    Depends on:

    -the connection quality
    -the location of the router
    -how many users are on the wireless network
    -your setup

    Generally, the speeds are about average, but Wireless is never faster than ethernet.
     
  3. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #3
    In my experience, even under the best possible conditions, wireless has much higher latency than ethernet which can dramtically impact the perceived speed when surfing.

    It's not too bad but ethernet returns ping times to my router of around 4-10ms, WiFi 50-500ms.
     
  4. belvdr macrumors 601

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    Aug 15, 2005
    #4
    Unless you're still running on an old 10Mb hub.. :D
     
  5. steelfist macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2005
    #5
    it won't really affect even a bit as long as the transer rate between the router and the computer is still faster than the router to dialer to internet speed.

    for example. 10mbps cable router and 1mbps internet service= 1 mbps internet speed.

    2 mbps wireless router and 1 mbps internet service = still 1mbps internet speed.
     
  6. jeremy.king macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    #6
    Or any device that is 10mb on an unswitched network...Your network is only as fast as your slowest device.

    Steelfist hit the nail on the head, even on a "slow" 10baseT (10 Mbps) connection, you won't notice since most cable highspeed internet providers range in the 3-6 Mbps range, with most DSL providers being even slower.

    Once Electric company ISPs make it to market, then you will need to worry about it since these connections may be able to support 170 Mbps, in theory...
     
  7. Le Big Mac macrumors 68020

    Le Big Mac

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #7
    Is there any reason cable modems couldn't be this fast as well, given time/technology?
     
  8. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #8
    Any connection will be limited by the ability of the cable to transmit the signal. Cable internet usually uses fibre optic cabling to neighborhood 'hubs' which convert to a Frequency Modulated signal that travels down the copper coaxial cable (TV cable) into the house. Higher bandwidth connections depend both on developing encoding technologies to fit more bandwidth into the copper cable (the fibre optics are generally not a limiting factor), and the pole-top hubs having the ability to move this new signal from fibre to coax. (new 'modems' will be required in the house, natch')


    Remember too that the wireless performance (11 Mbs, 54 Mbs and whatever) is purely theoretical. Actual performance never meets the potential, and degrades with distance, traffic and interference. As mentioned earlier, raw throughput is also not the only measure of speed -- latency plays a big part, as does encryption and error correction.
     
  9. ChrisBrightwell macrumors 68020

    ChrisBrightwell

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    #9
    Or 100+ Mb wireless.

    I wonder what the system overhead is for wired vs wireless.
     
  10. LimeiBook86 macrumors 604

    LimeiBook86

    Joined:
    May 4, 2002
    Location:
    Go Vegan
    #10
    Normal high-speed internet speeds usually do not go over 10mbs. So an original AirPort card (802.11b @ 11mbs) and an AirPort Extreme card (802.11g @ 54mbs) should give you roughly the same internet speed. The thing is 802.11g cards give you a higher quality signal strength and a longer range usually. If your going to be sending huge files from one computer to the other either use 802.11g or a wired Ethernet (100mbs at least) I'd chose the ethernet wired connection ove the wireless since it would be speedier. But, remember your not always going to be having the highest speed possible, most of these speeds are clocked under the best condition when everything is working correctly.

    So if you just want to go online to chat and surf wireless 802.11b is fine, but if you need to download/upload files or send files to another computer on the network you should use a wired ethernet connection and look into a good ethernet switch. (You can also go to the 802.11g for 54mbs or read about some of these Pre-N routers)

    But, if you send files over your network constantly you should look into running wires and upgrading your network cards for a gigabit ethernet compatible network...but that's if your really going to send files over a network a lot, and I mean a lot. ;):D
     
  11. crazydreaming thread starter macrumors 6502a

    crazydreaming

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT -Westminster College
    #11

    That's what I always thought
     
  12. ChrisBrightwell macrumors 68020

    ChrisBrightwell

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    #12
    This is true, to an extent, but I still wonder if there's more hardware (or software) overhead associated with wireless than there is with wired.

    I know an encrypted wireless link has more overhead than an unencrypted one (which is why I favor MAC filters -- they're good enough :)), but I'm not sure about wired vs wireless.

    I should do some tests.
     
  13. ITASOR macrumors 601

    ITASOR

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Location:
    Oneida, NY
    #13
    On testmy.net's speed check, I get around 4800 on wireless and 5400 wired. No difference is noticeable. I use wireless.
     
  14. madmax_2069 macrumors 6502a

    madmax_2069

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2005
    Location:
    Springfield Ohio
    #14
    wired is faster than wireless cause wireless receives impuritys in the signal sutch as static, walls, power lines, wireless phones, witch is why it makes the ping bigger. wired dont have sutch impurity's is more of a pure signal witch will resault in less packit loss and better ping cause its a direct connection to the router or modem.so yea wired is faster than the wireless unless you put the wireless device right next to the wireless router. but thats not why wireless was made for
     
  15. belvdr macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    #15
    I was only referring to the wired vs wireless debate.

    Yeah, what that person said.
     

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