Airport Extreme Base Station: Difference between Gigabit & non-Gigabit ethernet?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Veritas&Equitas, Sep 25, 2007.

  1. Veritas&Equitas macrumors 68000

    Veritas&Equitas

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2005
    Location:
    Twin Cities, MN
    #1
    I'm looking to get the AEBS for my apartment. However, will the newer model of AEBS make a difference with the gigabit ethernet if both my fiancee and my laptops are wireless? Isn't the principal difference is that the gigabit is that much faster when going hardwired through the router?

    I'm going to plug in a hard drive for wireless access, along with a printer. Having a gigabit connection shouldn't make a difference when using these things right? (assuming the hard drive and printer are USB)

    I guess since I don't plan on being hardwired into the ethernet connection with either her Macbook or my Macbook Pro, the gigabit connection shouldn't matter correct? There isn't anything else that I should necessarily need the newer model with gigabit for is there?

    Thanks for the advice...I'm just looking to make sure of this before I take the plunge...

    P.S. What would be the main reason for using either 2.4 ghz or 5 ghz? I can't figure out why one is better than the other?
     
  2. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    #2
    Gigabit is the same as non-gagbit as far as wireless is concerned. The 5GHz mode is away from all the interference of the 2.4GHz band (like cordless phones). The downside is that it does not pentrate walls and floors as easily.
     
  3. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Location:
    Cascadia
    #3
    According to MacWorld, the Gigabit version also performs faster over wireless. Their test showed the "Fast Ethernet" model getting 90 Mbps over wireless, while the Gigabit model managed 140 Mbps.

    The biggest differences between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz are:
    Interference (If you have lots of stuff at 2.4 GHz, then the 5 GHz band will have less interference. I happen to have 5 GHz cordless phones that knock 5 GHz mode out, but 2.4 GHz mode works just fine.)
    Speed (2.4 GHz mode doesn't support 'channel bonding', while 5 GHz mode does. This means that 5 GHz mode is capable of significantly faster performance.)

    To use 5 GHz mode, you have to have an 802.11a or 802.11n-enabled computer. For Macs, all Intel models have -a or -n. (The non-n card in my original MacBook Pro *DOES* do 802.11a; and all of the -n models can do 5 GHz -n just fine.) And, obviously, you'll only see the speed improvement if you have -n computers. If your computers don't have -n, then the only reason to use 5 GHz is if it has less interference for you.
     
  4. Veritas&Equitas thread starter macrumors 68000

    Veritas&Equitas

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2005
    Location:
    Twin Cities, MN
    #4
    Thanks for the replies so far, but what you quoted even make sense? It seems that the only thing different is the ethernet connection, how should that affect the quality or throughput of the wireless? I don't understand how that works? Thanks!
     
  5. plinden macrumors 68040

    plinden

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    #5
    I've also read reviews that showed the gigabit AEBS is faster in wireless than the previous version.

    Remember, the data is no longer wireless once it's picked up by the AEBS. If the circuitry can't handle more than 100Mbps then even wireless N isn't going to get any faster.
     
  6. Veritas&Equitas thread starter macrumors 68000

    Veritas&Equitas

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2005
    Location:
    Twin Cities, MN
    #6
    Thanks for the reply, however, isn't wireless N 108 mbps, so if we both have C2D machines with N (she Macbook, me MBP) it should take advantage of this >100 Mbps circuitry?
     
  7. plinden macrumors 68040

    plinden

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    #7
    Wireless N's theoretical maximum is about 270Mbps. But like all the other wireless protocols, you'll never get anything near that. And something - most likely the 100Mbps wired ethernet circuitry - was holding back the previous generation.

    Still, 90Mbps for the original AEBS is still 4-5x faster than wireless g in the real world (I never get better than 20Mbps), and also compares favorably with other recent wireless n routers (see Arstechnica - they promised to add the next gen AEBS to the review but they haven't yet) and 140Mbps is much better.

    Edit: by the way, I really don't know a lot about it, so I'm maybe showing my ignorance, but it's my understanding that using the 5GHz band allows for more and wider channels, and also has less interference from other devices like cordless phones than the 2.4GHz.
     
  8. Tracer macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    #8
    Can you even buy the non-gigabit version?

    If you saving a lot then go for it.

    Otherwise the Gigabit will suit you fine.

    Tracer
     
  9. plinden macrumors 68040

    plinden

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    #9
    You can get refurbs for $139. But yeah, I say get the new version.
     

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