Does Airdrop interrupt other connections?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Lion (10.7)' started by Nuckinfuts, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. Nuckinfuts macrumors 6502

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    #1
    I have lion DP4 but only the one mac in the house so I can't really test this but does an Airdrop file transfer interrupt other connections? such as your networked connected to a router which connects out to the internet.

    My apologies if this has been asked but in searching for Airdrop, only threads bitching about Lion not being on a disc and not being good enough for $30 came up :rolleyes:
     
  2. mrapplegate macrumors 68030

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    #2
    Airdrop interrupts your connection just as much as transferring data between computers wirelessly does. You see a slowdown until your 500MB file is transferred.
     
  3. Nuckinfuts thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    That's not exactly an "interrupt" but you're saying that the wireless card in my macbook can be connected to two networks?

    See there's where I'm confused, Jobs said that Airdrop forms an ad-hoc connection with other macs, eliminating the need for a router, but most wireless cards only support one active network at a time or so I've seen.
     
  4. mrapplegate macrumors 68030

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    #4
    It will slow your network down as much as transferring a large file via wireless does. Nothing more. Nothing less.
    I have not tested with other Macs not connected to my wireless network.
     
  5. Nuckinfuts thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #5
    ... Jobs said ad-hoc which means no network... are you trying to say that if a network is present it uses that instead of creating an ad-hoc connection?
     
  6. baryon macrumors 68040

    baryon

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    #6
    I don't get this either. You can't be connected to two networks at once. If airdrop bypasses the router, it's creating its own Ad-Hoc network and connecting to it, so that's 2 connections at once... I have no idea how it's possible.
     
  7. mrapplegate macrumors 68030

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    #7
    I'm saying I have not tested it. My clients are all connected to the same wireless network, I have not tested that part of it. I used Airdrop with other Macs and it so happens they are all connected to the same network. Your post reminded me the I have not tested the part where it says, "With AirDrop, you can send files to anyone around you wirelessly — no Wi-Fi network required" according to the feature page.

    I can only comment on any apparent slowdown when using Airdrop when both computers are connected to the same network.
     
  8. Takuro, Jun 18, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2011

    Takuro macrumors 6502

    Takuro

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    I think there's a ton of misunderstanding going on, so let me chime in (I took a few classes and wrote papers on wireless networks, so I might know a few things):

    1) I've read online that Airdrop does indeed require devices to be on the same local wireless local area network (WLAN.) However, if you're using two machines that aren't tied to a wireless network (for example, two iMacs that have wired Ethernet for outbound internet access, so their WiFi cards are free), they can turn on their wireless cards and establish a temporary ad hoc network for file transfer. However, if the two devices already have an established WiFi network that they use, chances are they have to be on the same network for Airdrop.

    2) In the context of WiFi, I have never ever heard of a single wireless radio connecting to two different networks. Assuming you have one of the newer wireless cards that uses multiple antennas (this is called a MIMO system if you want to Google it), it's possible technically but still seems highly unlikely. Usually, when a wireless card has redundant antennas, its used to transmit data to a single network at greater speeds (providing two channels for communication) rather than to communicate to two different networks.

    3) For those of you who say ad hoc mode isn't technically a network, it is. Any time computers communicate over a medium, whether it be copper wire or radio waves in the air, it's a network. "Ad hoc" just means no single wireless access point (AP) is required to negotiate communication between devices. The devices themselves directly negotiate the terms of communication without any AP present within the network.

    I hope this helps. In summary: Airdrop can work if two devices aren't already on a wireless network, otherwise, they must both me connect to the same network.
     
  9. tkermit macrumors 68040

    tkermit

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    #9
    This is how Apple describes it:
     
  10. mrapplegate macrumors 68030

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    #10
    Thanks. I'm not much of a writer, and that explains it best.
     
  11. Nuckinfuts thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #11
    Thank you
     
  12. CyBeRino macrumors 6502a

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    No, they require an active wifi connection. AirDrop doesn't use the local network at all, so it won't work at all if you have wifi disabled (it just tells you to turn on wifi).

    It can be done. This requires mostly that the radio be able to switch very quickly between channels, and the card itself keep up with that fact. MIMO, btw, is used for something else entirely; such cards have more than one antenna but still only one radio.

    Exactly. To be exact: ad-hoc is the opposite of having infrastructure in place.

    Nope. It actually uses something called Wi-Fi virtualization, which basically turns your wifi interface into two wifi-interfaces, each able to use a different network. This does require that your hardware support such usage. I believe the earlier Mac minis don't, for instance. On those, AirDrop either won't work or will only work if not already connected.
     
  13. Takuro macrumors 6502

    Takuro

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    Ok, well thanks for clearing it up. I admit I was doing my best to describe wireless networks using the traditional conventions that have been used since the 90's. Since only newer devices are compatible with Airdrop, I had a feeling that Apple was using some sort of recently-devised bleeding-edge technology that would allow for multiplexing (fast switching) traffic, but I had never known about it before. You learn something new each day, I guess. :p
     
  14. frunkis54 macrumors 65816

    frunkis54

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    #14
    i have 2 networks at home so connected each of my macs to differnet networks and tried using airdrop it worked awesome. i didn't think to try to do anything else while it was transfering though. i will have to install lion back on the other mac and give it a whirl
     

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