11n wireless networking

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by gettingmy1stmac, Feb 1, 2008.

  1. gettingmy1stmac macrumors member

    Jan 20, 2008
    Harrison, AR
    I'm buying a macbook and just curious if the macbook's 11n wireless networking is backwards compatible with 11g and 11b networks.

    Anyone know?
  2. Mindflux macrumors 68000


    Oct 20, 2007


    BUT, if you are in backwards compatibility mode you don't get anywhere near the theoretical speeds of a full 5GHz N based network.
  3. tuneman07 macrumors regular

    Nov 25, 2007
    Hey not to hijack the thread but I'm wondering about the whole wireless N thing. I am looking to buy a Macbook soon and I have very fast cable internet, so am I going to want the Airport Express router? Is it going to have faster real world performance? Don't know if the 180 or so is worth it for the router and I can't seem to find much info on it.
  4. jjasonwrght macrumors member


    Jan 12, 2008
    Well it depends really.

    The frequency can only go as fast as it can, but the farther you are away (and not like a few meters, I'm talking like a few rooms/floors) you'll see a little bit of a slow down.

    The only difference it can make is its strength, so if you have something thats going to allow you to be really far away, chances are you'll never be that far away. So that would solve the signal strength problem.
  5. aross99 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2006
    East Lansing, MI
    Unless you have a VERY fast Internet connection (> 10Mb), 802.11n isn't going to make your internet any faster - the internet is already (probably) slower than 802.11b at 11Mb/sec.

    What 802.11n will do for you is improve your networking speed to other devices on your network (especially wired ones), and will will give you a larger wireless range on your network.

    When I went from 801.11g to 802.11n, I also found that I could use my MBP much farther away than I could before - and with better speeds, since the speed decreases if you get far enough away.

    If you have other active 802.11g or 802.11b devices on your network, they will also effect the speed of your 802.11n connection. Although again, if all you are doing is surfing the net, you probably won't notice.

    I use 802.11n on my MBP, and I don't notice any real change when 802.11g devices (like the iPhone or older laptops) access the network.

    If you can go ALL 802.11n and get an Airport Express Base Station, you can go with a higher 5Ghz Airport frequency, which will only support 802.11n, and will get you out of the 2.4Ghz band, where you get interference from cordless phones, Microwaves, etc. Less interference = faster speeds...

    Try Option-Clicking the Airport icon in your menu bar, and you will see the current speed (and other info) of your Airport connection (I think that is the key combo).

    802.11b should be up to 11Mb
    802.11g should be up to 54Mb
    802.11n should be up to 200Mb+
  6. tuneman07 macrumors regular

    Nov 25, 2007
    Now I'm kinda confused- I currently use a PC with a G card and it says 54mbps right now. As for my internet speed, I believe it is 500K (5mb?) So if I were wired instead of wireless for the connection I could theoretically get 500 mbps but my wireless card is limited to 54mbps?
  7. GfPQqmcRKUvP macrumors 68040


    Sep 29, 2005
    You seem to be very confused, let's try to get this sorted out.

    Your PC has an 802.11G card in it (which is also backwards compatible with 802.11B interfaces) and you are picking up signal from an 802.11G wireless device. Because of this, you are connected at 54 mbps, although your real throughput maxes out at around 22 mbps. Let's ignore that for now.

    If you were wired, your internet surfing would be faster, although not a lot faster, because you are not using near enough internet bandwidth to be maxing out your wireless network.
  8. tuneman07 macrumors regular

    Nov 25, 2007
    Ok, I think I am figuring this out- My internet connection has the potential to provide data at 500MBps, my G wireless card has potential to handle 54 of those 500, and the N card has potential to handle 250 MBps. Correct me if I'm wrong :) but thanks for the help.
  9. GfPQqmcRKUvP macrumors 68040


    Sep 29, 2005
    I don't know where you're getting the 500 figure from. Your internet will probably be around 5mbps, your G card can theoretically handle 54 (but will only do 22 max) and the N card has the potential to handle 250mbps (I don't know what the actual is). Either way, your limiting factor is your internet speed, not your wireless.
  10. mankar4 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 23, 2007
    the mbps figure given by internet companies is not "megabytes", it's "megabits", so you actually have to divide that value by 8 (correct me if i'm wrong).

    Secondly, wireless network and internet connection are not like two pipes to your computer, they are more like an electrical circuit. Just because your wireless connection is bigger than your internet does not mean you are getting your full internet- in fact, you will always have faster internet if you plug directly into your modem. The bigger the wireless connection, the less "resistance" there is for getting internet to your computer. In other words, faster wireless is always better to get faster internet. I can easily tell the difference when I'm on wireless g and n.

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