Ethernet vs AirPort network question

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by g-boac, Dec 28, 2007.

  1. g-boac macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
    #1
    Is an ethernet connection faster than an airport connection? In other words, if either of my Macs (either a MacBook or an iMac) are talking to an AirPort Extreme base station, is the conversation (uploads or downloads) faster if I'm connected via an Ethernet hardline instead of a wireless AirPort connection?

    If I leave the AirPort turned on, and I am also plugged in via an Ethernet hardline, which connection is the default / takes precedence?

    Is there any harm or disadvantage to leaving the AirPort on while connected via ethernet cable?

    If connected via ethernet cable, is there any reason I would want to leave the AirPort on? For example, can the MacBook talk to the iMac via a wireless AirPort connection directly, without having to go through the AirPort Extreme Base Station?

    Thanks for your help -- any answers to ANY (or all) of the questions would be extremely helpful! Finally, I'd be grateful if anybody can provide any actual specs -- e.g., bandwidth speeds for a wireless vs wired link between a mac and an AirPort Extreme base station.

    thanks!
    Mark
     
  2. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #2
    Yes, ethernet is many times faster than Airport (ethernet runs at 1000 or 100 mbps depending on the devices, while Airport has a maximum throughput of 54 mbps).

    You won't lose anything by leaving airport on except battery life on portables.
     
  3. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Mar 23, 2005
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    Indianapolis
    #3
    Ethernet: 1000 Mb/s
    Airport: 130 Mb/s (802.11n)

    Ethernet has precedence over Airport.
     
  4. WildPalms macrumors 6502a

    WildPalms

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    Honolulu, HI
    #4
    Just curious...can you show me where ethernet traffic has precedence over wireless traffic?
     
  5. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    Adelaide, Australia
    #5
    Ethernet also retains a more reliable connection as it effectively doesn't get affected by interference.
     
  6. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #6
    I've done some fail over testing at work.
     
  7. WildPalms macrumors 6502a

    WildPalms

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    #7
    Eidorian: So...you're saying that if the ethernet traffic is saturating the router, no wireless traffic will go through?
     
  8. g-boac thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Oct 7, 2007
    #8
    Thanks Eric! Quick question - how can I tell whether the ethernet device is 1000 or 100 mbps?

    Also, what is the bottleneck in the typical internet connection? The cable modem/internet service?

    thanks!
    Mark
     
  9. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #9
    I was talking about the Mac and not the router.

    I was wondering if you were replying to me...
     
  10. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    Location:
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    #10
    The device will usually say in specifications on the box, for example (or some products, such as routers, will have it written above the port).

    Most products being manufactured today are gigabit (1000 mbps).

    The bottle neck will almost always lie with the internet connection (the exception being really slow wireless networks).
     
  11. g-boac thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Oct 7, 2007
    #11
    Actually I was replying to both of you guys!! So to make sure I understand you correctly, the AirPort that both my Santa Rosa MacBook and iMac have is an 802.11n, with a maximum throughput of 130 Mb/s. The ethernet connections they have, have a maximum data rate of 1000 Mb/s?

    And historically, the maximum data rate for 802.11b was 54 Mb/s correct?

    thanks!
    Mark
     
  12. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    Apr 27, 2005
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    San Francisco, CA
    #12
    Correct, assuming you have the later Airport Extreme Base Station which includes gigabit ethernet ports (if this is the wired router you will use between the two computers).

    802.11b is 11 mbps, 802.11g is 54 mbps
     
  13. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Indianapolis
    #13
    I find my 802.11n fine most file transfers between my computers from my laptop.

    Then again I rarely move more then 500 MB.
     
  14. WildPalms macrumors 6502a

    WildPalms

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    #14
    Same. Most of my traffic is small in short bursts. Apart from streaming iTunes music :D
     
  15. g-boac thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Oct 7, 2007
    #15
    Bottleneck Question

    To make sure I'm understanding all that you guys have taught me so far: does this mean that I should not see any difference in web surfing or internet file download speeds, regardless of whether my iMac is connected to my AirPort Extreme base station by wire via Ethernet or wirelessly via 802.11n?

    In other words, no matter how fast the data transfer rate (1Gbps-ethernet or 130Mbps-802.11n) between the iMac and the AirPort Extreme Base Station, the slow point in my system is at the cable modem (4 Mbps for our home connection)?

    (I understand what the numbers above are telling me; I am trying to correlate the theoretical to the actual, physical results I can expect to see during use.)

    One more question - how do AirPort Extremes multitask when several Macs are talking to them? In other words, if my MacBook and my iMac are both talking to the AirPort Extreme via 802.11n, does the bandwidth get split (e.g. 65Mbps max to each computer)? If the iMac is connected to the AirPort via Ethernet, does that leave all 130Mbp/s available to the MacBook?

    thanks!!
    Mark
     
  16. yippy macrumors 68020

    yippy

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #16
    That is essentially true although you might get a little better latency via ethernet (less delay but speed the same). Only important in online gaming.

    About the precedence. Everyone is almost correct. You can set the order your system tries to use its connections in System Preferences. But you can change/confirm this by going to (in Leopard, don't remember off hand for Tiger):

    System Preferences->Network then click on the gear under the left hand column and choose "Set service order...". This will show the order your computer will try to use an interface and allow you to change that order. Top is first.
     
  17. uzi macrumors newbie

    uzi

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2007
    #17
    As with all sources of radiation, it's a matter of intensity(energy), time of exposure, and distance from the source with regards to your
    DNA. It a game of statistics.

    Uzi
     
  18. g-boac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
    #18
    Yippy - thanks a lot! this was very helpful to know, and not apparently obvious just by looking at the menu.

    Thanks to all for your replies so far!

    regards,
    Mark
     

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