802.11ac Time Capsule + Airport Extreme success

mfram

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 23, 2010
1,057
141
San Diego, CA USA
Short story:

I'm seeing about 3.5x better wireless network throughput between the new TC and Airport Extreme compared to my 802.11n laptop connecting directly to the TC.

Long story:

Just picked up the new 802.11ac Time Capsule and Airport Extreme. The goal is to increase my wireless network throughput from upstairs (computer room) to downstairs (entertainment system) so that I can stream high-def movies from a DLNA server. Initial network tests point to big network throughput improvement. My test used my rMBP to perform file copies using different wireless network configurations.

My setup is that the new TC is the wireless access point (but not the network router). The TC broadcasts a 2.4 GHz network and 5 GHz network with two different SSIDs. The AP Extreme sits downstairs to act as a wireless/wired bridge. The AP Extreme is configured to "extend" the 5GHz network which is the default configuration made by the AirPort Config Utility. The components in the entertainment system are plugged into the AP Ex via wired ethernet.

My network throughput test is using a Retina MBP. I copied a large file using 'scp' from my Linux server to the laptop. Using the built-in 802.11n 5GHz on the rMBP, the copy completed at 16.5 MB/s (~132 mbps).

Next, I turned off wireless on the rMBP and used a Thunderbolt/Ethernet adapter to plug the rMBP into the AP Ex. With a wired connection from the laptop with the AP Ex acting as the wireless receiver, I got 50.5 MB/s (~405 mbps) for the copy.

Setup 1:

Linux -> GB ethernet -> TC -> 802.11n 5GHz -> rMBP = 132 mbps

Setup 2:

Linux -> GB ethernet -> TC -> 802.11ac(?) 5GHz -> AP Extreme -> GB ethernet -> rMBP = 405 mbps.

I am assuming that the TC and AP Extreme can talk 802.11ac at the same time the TC can talk 802.11n to other devices. If that's not true then the increased throughput is the result of better wireless antennas in the base stations compared to the laptop. But I don't think 802.11n can get to 400 mbps so I think the Base Stations must be talking 802.11ac to each other.

Also, I am assuming the wireless network is the bottleneck in the copy operation. I believe this to be the case because the my rMBP can write to its flash storage at about 400 MB/s. The file would have been cached on the Linux side, so it should have been in memory on the server. If others get different results over wireless I can try to perform a different network performance test.

The results appear to show that wireless network performance is greatly improved with the new generation of Apple Base Stations.
 

MCAsan

macrumors 601
Jul 9, 2012
4,542
413
Atlanta
I had a similar experience add new extreme as extender (replaced an express). The new extreme gave use 3 bars on ipads where we previously only had 2 bars. Tomorrow I will replace TC with new TC. Old TC will be left in the network with wifi off as a router, USB port provider, and holder of a 3TB drive used by one of our Macs for Time Machine backups. Our other Mac will use the new TC's drive for backup. I like how Airport Utility gives options about how you can introduce new base stations to extend networks and replace other base stations.
 

portishead

macrumors 65816
Apr 4, 2007
1,114
2
los angeles
I'm not sure what it was with my previous AE, but I can tell this new one seems more reliable and better range. I did some transfers from my NAS, and I am getting about the same speeds (15MB/s or so) but the connection seemed more constant.
 

mfram

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 23, 2010
1,057
141
San Diego, CA USA
Wanted to follow up. Last night I verified that my video streaming setup is much more solid.

Old setup:

DLNA server -> GB ethernet -> TC (4th gen) -> 802.11n 2.4 GHz -> BluRay player

New setup:

DLNA server -> GB ethernet -> TC (5th gen) -> 802.11ac 5GHz -> AP Ex (6th gen) -> GB ethernet -> BluRay

Using the old method, I could reliably stream DVD-quality movies to the BluRay player, but I could not reliably stream HD movies. HD would work, but be glitchy.

Using the new method, I streamed an HD movie with no glitches at all. This was my overall goal, so I'm very satisfied with the new setup.
 

mmomega

macrumors 68040
Dec 30, 2009
3,315
1,490
DFW, TX
Short story:



I am assuming that the TC and AP Extreme can talk 802.11ac at the same time the TC can talk 802.11n to other devices. If that's not true then the increased throughput is the result of better wireless antennas in the base stations compared to the laptop. But I don't think 802.11n can get to 400 mbps so I think the Base Stations must be talking 802.11ac to each other.
Depending on the computer and the amount of antennas inside, 802.11n can get to 450mbps. 150mbps/antenna. My 2011 iMac will show a 450 connection rate while my MBA may only show 300.
 

Serban

Suspended
Jan 8, 2013
5,159
920
so with devices like Time capsule ac and new macbook air ac the speed of the wireless connection is almost identically with the wired one??