Which drains the battery more: wi-fi or TB gigabit?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by kylera, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2010
    My university's wi-fi seems to have random quality depending on where you go - some parts are just dandy while others make you want to rip your hair out. For the latter, I'm considering on getting a Thunderbolt gigabit Ethernet adapter as coincidentally, there is Ethernet access in the places where wi-fi isn't so great.

    That raises the question, though: would the Air's battery drain significantly quicker when using the TB adaptor as opposed to connecting via wi-fi?
  2. macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    WiFi would likely draw a bit more, but not significantly. Your screen brightness is a much bigger factor than either of those. There are many factors that impact your battery life. See the BATTERY LIFE FROM A CHARGE section of the following link for details, including tips on how to maximize your battery life.

    The link below should answer most, if not all, of your battery/charging questions. If you haven't already done so, I highly recommend you take the time to read it.
  3. macrumors 603


    Wifi uses more than standard ethernet connection.
  4. macrumors 68000


    Jul 23, 2012
    not much of a difference in power consumption at home i use it on ethernet thunderbolt and i can't notice a thing
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2007
    Sydney, Australia.
    If you download the freeware app, Coconut Battery, it will tell you the wattage the battery is drawing.
  6. 2IS
    macrumors 68030

    Jan 9, 2011
    I don't know about TB, but on my 2010 the USB Ethernet adapter uses more power than wifi.
  7. dyn
    macrumors 68000

    Aug 8, 2009
    I think the average use on the laptop makes it nearly impossible to detect because it varies too much. There are too many factors that have an impact on battery use so it is very hard to tell. In real life my battery usage was as I expected when using either wifi or the tb-eth adapter. It's not like it drains the battery considerably. Network cards (both wireless and wired) now have techniques to use less power.

    In this case I'd recommend the adapter simply because it solves the problem of an unreliable wifi connection. That you'll definitely notice. The difference between wifi and the tb-eth adapter concerning battery use is very difficult to notice.

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