Can I upgrade Wifi speeds with a USB dongle on a 2012 Air?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by rbf1138, Jun 24, 2018.

  1. rbf1138 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    #1
  2. BrianBaughn macrumors 603

    BrianBaughn

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    Feb 13, 2011
    Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland
    #2
    Download speeds from the internet? What speed are you getting now with the 802.11n wifi that's built-in?
     
  3. rbf1138 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Dec 22, 2007
    #3
    Using speedtest.net, on wifi with gigabit internet, I get about 100-200 down.
     
  4. Mrbobb macrumors 601

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    Aug 27, 2012
    #4
    Assuming there is no environmental constrains, if USB dongle talks 802.11ac and u have a compatible Access Point, it should.
     
  5. flyinmac macrumors 68040

    flyinmac

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    Sep 2, 2006
    Location:
    United States
    #5
    The USB 2.0 port has a maximum throughput of 480Mbits/sec. Assuming only one device is using the bus.

    The more overhead you have in other processes going on, and add some other USB devices, and your throughput is going to drop.

    Realistic expectations are an average of 300Mbits/sec.

    So you’re never going to get actual Gigabit speed using a USB dongle.

    Your current performance drop is likely from the theoretical maximum of 300 Mbits of your wireless network (Some say 600 Mbits / and other’s advertise Gigabit WiFi).

    But, realistically, 300 Mbits per second is what you can expect from a great “N” connection over wireless.

    Now you have other factors... you ad noise of other emissions in the building. Lights, microwaves, phones, etc. everything emits noise. And this makes it harder for your signal to stay clear.

    Then there’s collisions of packets. And then you have other Wi-Fi devices also pulling data (even if it’s just maintaining an inactive communication).

    So then you get what’s left. Your signal navigated through an obstacle course and finally got to your computer and transmitted what you asked for.

    It took it a while to make it through the mine field. And there’s your slower 200 Mbits/sec transmission speed.

    Stay on wired when possible. Don’t waste money on a dongle. It’s not going to ever give you Gigabit over USB.
     
  6. BrianBaughn macrumors 603

    BrianBaughn

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    Feb 13, 2011
    Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland
    #6
    That's pretty good for "n". How much more speed, if any, you get with an "ac" USB dongle will depend on the modem, router and dongle.

    I searched the reviews on that Amazon link for "macbook" and the results didn't seem very positive.
     
  7. Bazza1 macrumors member

    Bazza1

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    May 16, 2017
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #7
    I had a USB > Ethernet adapter and it was fine on my 30Mbps service, but then I got a deal on 500Mbps, and the adapter couldn't get anywhere near that - typically 50-80Mbps (on wi-fi, 150-180). Had to go to the Thunderbolt gigabit adapter to get the speed expected.
     
  8. KGB7 macrumors 6502a

    KGB7

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    Jun 15, 2017
    Location:
    Rockville, MD
    #8
    You should see up to 533Mbps on 5Ghz band at 80mhz.
    I’m guessing you need a better AC WiFi router.
    Take a look at Asus routers. I’ve been using AC68 for many years with great success.
     
  9. rolandopr macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2018
    #9
    I have a 2012 MacBook Pro 15 retina and I upgraded the Wifi n card to ac from a 2013 model, It was $25 on eBay!
     
  10. KGB7 macrumors 6502a

    KGB7

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    Jun 15, 2017
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    Rockville, MD
    #10
    You can’t upgrade it on Air. :rolleyes:
     
  11. rolandopr macrumors newbie

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    Jul 12, 2018
    #11
  12. doubletap macrumors regular

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    Jan 2, 2009
    Location:
    Ashburn, VA
    #12
    You can upgrade the wifi card in a 2012 MBA with one from 2013 or 2014. I just did it.

    Granted, the replacement card is longer and therefore the screw will be useless to hold it in place. Also the antenna leads need to be removed from the metal clip that's attached to the left hinge in order to get them to reach the longer card.

    Faster wifi plus the ability to unlock my MBA with my watch is pretty sweet. Not bad for a 6 year old computer.

    EDIT: oh, and the best part is that it cost $3.45 for the ac wifi card.

    dt
     
  13. Audit13 macrumors 68030

    Audit13

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    Apr 19, 2017
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    #13
    If you need to extend the antenna wires, you can use an antenna wire from a cell phone. The cellphone connector fit perfectly on my early 2015 Air's wifi card.
     

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