Do I really need 802.11n?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by GSMiller, Nov 22, 2007.

  1. GSMiller macrumors 68000


    Dec 2, 2006
    I have broadband which is currently 3MB/s, the fastest speed possible (with my plan). I'm going to be buying a wireless router in a few months when I get a MacBook and have been looking at the Airport Extreme, however it is a bit pricey for me. So my question is do I really need an 802.11n wireless router with my 3MB/s internet connection, or will an 802.11g router suffice?
  2. je1ani macrumors 6502

    Sep 19, 2007
    I have 8mb/s ($50 a month) and I use the UFO apple wireless router and i get UBER fast downloads...
  3. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2007
    I think you'll be happy with g, until you start downloading actual files (not just streaming or email or other net tasks), which is when you'll notice speed boosts with N
  4. JeffTL macrumors 6502a

    Dec 18, 2003
    Unless you have a really fast Internet connection, you won't notice the difference except when moving large files across your network to your other computers.
  5. ob81 macrumors 65816


    Jun 11, 2007
    Virginia Beach
    Depends on your in house network. I use an Apple TV along with a desktop and laptop, and it has done wonders since I upgraded a few weeks ago. I get faster downloads also
  6. JFreak macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2003
    Tampere, Finland
    Some hardcore gamers have reported that N-spec wireless has lower latency than B/G-spec. Difference is supposed to be huge, because gamers could not accept the old spec wireless latency but are just fine with the newer N-spec wireless operation; but that's all hearsay because I have not been able to test it myself as my older ZyXEL wireless base station / aDSL modem combo does not support it.

    And because of that, I don't even know whether my 2.2GHz MBP has N-spec enabled or not.
  7. scienide09 macrumors 65816


    May 5, 2007
    It should. Aren't all the new MBPs 802.11n configured?

    More general question about buying an AEBS: are they fairly future-proof? I'm considering one myself. I know that a cheaper 802.11g router will suit my current needs, but I'm thinking that in one or two years, I'll need to upgrade anyway.
    I'm in much the same boat as the OP as my current ISP gives a 5MB/s maximum, so right now I won't be able to use the AEBS to its full potential.
  8. bigiffo macrumors member

    Jun 16, 2007
    Not all new macs come with N-spec enabled. You can buy an 802.11-N enabler off The enabler also comes with any new airport extremes.
  9. Italchef macrumors 6502

    Nov 3, 2003
    Maple, Ontario
    This could be too basic an answer for your needs, but with my Airport Extreme Base Station and my new iMac connnected to Rogers High Speed Internet(cable internet) I get pretty fast downloads. I've hit speeds in excess 750kb/s. I don't know how good that is but it seems pretty good to me on a wireless network.

  10. Stampyhead macrumors 68020


    Sep 3, 2004
    London, UK
    My understanding is that all MBP's that come out after the 2.33Ghz machines (but not including those ones) have N already installed. The N software update was aimed at the 2.33 machines, which could support it but did not ship with it.
  11. Canerican macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2006
    I would get it, it is a good bit faster and if you download larger hosted files binaries and such (if you catch my drift) N will save you loads of time.
  12. mmendoza27 macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2007
    Actually, 802.11n doesn't matter for your 3 MB/s internet connection. I have a 8 MB/s connection and I get the same download speeds with 802.11g and 802.11n.

    802.11n has a theoretical max is 248 Mbit/s, while 802.11g is 54 Mbit/s. Both can fully sustain your 3 MB/s connection at max speed. Now, you may get better distance with "n", but they will both be fine and suffice.

    Where you will truly see the difference is transferring files from one computer to another via your network, or are streaming high-def video content from one Mac to another. That's why people are commenting on better speeds with their Apple TV, because 802.11n can put out more. I can stream a 16 GB file to my external airdisk in about 3 hours (802.11n) while it would take double the time with 802.11g.
  13. GSMiller thread starter macrumors 68000


    Dec 2, 2006
    Thanks for the responses. I will use it for basic surfing on my MacBook, no gaming, no sharing of large files, none of that. I'll still have my iMac connected to the internet via ethernet too.

    Any suggestions on 802.11g routers? I used to have a Linksys WRT54G or something like that and it was horrible; most worthless piece of garbage I've ever used. I was constantly having to unplug it because the connection would hang.
  14. mmendoza27 macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2007
    I had a D-Link 802.11g router and it worked pretty good. Dropped it to get the Airport Extreme and I gotta say the Airport Extreme is pretty buggy... I'm not dissin' Apple but it hangs quite a bit.

    D-Link has pretty good routers, I've always heard good things of Linksys (which is weird because your experience is different) and don't really like Belkin routers. My cousin has a Netgear which isn't too bad.

    I'd say D-Link or Netgear.
  15. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2007
    Seriously? I was just about to suggest that one. In my experience–and I think I'll get backup on this–it's the strongest G router out there. IMO linksys is the best company for the router (apple beats it in the extra options–air disk, print server built-in).

    Oh well, go for a D-Link if you don't like linksys.
  16. GSMiller thread starter macrumors 68000


    Dec 2, 2006
    Thanks for the responses, but yea my WRT54G was crap. It was fast and had good reception but it would continuously just stop working for no apparent reason, the longer I had it the worse it got. I sold it on eBay for less than half of what I paid for it.
  17. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    D-Link and older Linksys G are generally good. I've NEVER had good luck with NetGear.

    Routers with B are too old / susceptible to interference, and generally require frequent reboots.

    With any router, to have it work better, you NEED TO UPDATE to the latest firmware!
  18. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    When I got my 20" aluminum iMac (with 802.11n) I bought a D-Link "n" router for something like $80. It has performed admirably. I have a (theoretical) 7mbps ADSL connection, and it was nice to see that I was able to download 500-600 kilobytes per second over the wireless. The signal has been good throughout the three stories of the house (router is on the concrete floor at the very bottom, and I have good (if a touch spotty) signal from the top floor bedrooms. I intend to fix the router to the wall, near the ceiling of the first floor, which should help a bit.

    A "g" router doesn't cost a whole lot less than an "n" router (if you're buying a brand like D-Link) so I'd say go for it.
  19. odinsride macrumors 65816


    Apr 11, 2007
    Hardcore gamers using Wireless?

    Thanks for the laugh :D
  20. Mark W. macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2007
    Hello everyone (this being my first post here :),

    I'm currently in the market for a MacMini IC2D (to replace the AppleTV as my media station connected to my B&O audio/video system), but I just noticed that it still ships with 802.11g. As I currently have an iMac and a MacBook in my home network (both IC2D with 802.11n), I'm suddenly not so sure about doing this upgrade now (as I understand the whole network speed will be set by the slowest component; i.e. the MacMini would drag also the n-savvy iMac and MacBook down to g-speeds...). Hence I have three questions:

    1) Will the software based n-enabler that Apple offers be able to upgrade the MacMini firmware so that it supports the n protocol just as if it was delivered this way in the first place, or will the current MacMini for always be able to support the g protocol only?

    2) Are there any solid rumours about the MacMini being upgraded to support the n protocol in the very near future, or is the general concensus here that Apple will not bother with the n protocol at all for the MacMini?

    3) My internet connection is 24 Mbit/sec (in theory, in practice I don't know how fast/slow it actually is...), and I'm not really shuffling a lot of files back and forth (whenever I need to transfer large chunks of data I find it just as easy to move an external hard drive between them...). Is my concern about the n protocol therefore practically irrelevant, or will it turn out to be a major mistake not to have an n-savvy MacMini in a couple of years..?

    Many thanks in advance for your advice!

    Mark W. (Sweden)
  21. rmwebs macrumors 68040

    Apr 6, 2007
    I'm on G and have only found it to be a problem when moving files between computers...I dont do it a lot but it took about 45 minutes to move a 600MB file and I had a full connection on both systems.

    I also find that G can have a poor signal frequently. I am sitting in the room above my router as I type this and I've only got half a signal.
  22. aswitcher macrumors 603


    Oct 8, 2003
    Canberra OZ
    N is the future. Better bandwidth, range, less interference.
  23. DoFoT9 macrumors P6


    Jun 11, 2007
    yes i agreegree totally.

    to the OP: do u need 2 do file transferring between computers? if so i would def go N. i currently only have G and it is pathetically slow, especially while ripping DVD's to hard drives. hoping tht i can put gigabit throughtout the house soon tho :)
  24. clyde88 macrumors newbie

    Dec 4, 2007
    guys would i need this if my internet was 21MB/s?

  25. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    Don't buy N yet, it's not even a standard right now. There's no guarantee an N card and an N router will work with each other. The final standard should be released at the end of 2008, expect the first real, standardized N devices at the beginning of 2009

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