If wifi is 54mbps, why so long to transfer a file?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by ss957916, Sep 7, 2009.

  1. ss957916 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2009
    I Handbraked a Dvd on my partners MacBook and wanted to transfer it onto my mbp, so did so using our wifi network (by doing the whole file transfer drop box shenanigans). But the 1.01GB file took an hour to transfer! Surey it should have taken a matter of minutes? I would have expected Bluetooth to have been quicker in fact.

    Was that the best/quickest way to transfer large files mac to mac?
  2. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    54Mbps = 6.75MBps at it's absolute theoretical maximum. WiFi will never hit that speed.

    Bluetooth would take so much longer.

    Speed sounds about right.
  3. yetanotherdave macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2007
    Bristol, England
    Depends on where the copy was initiated, other traffic on the network, signal strength on both computers, whole bunch of variables.

    You can improve transfer times by using 1) wireless N 2) connecting directly mac to mac instead of via a router 3)ethernet 4) firewire 5) usb stick.
  4. ss957916 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2009
    Could you explain that further?
  5. yetanotherdave macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2007
    Bristol, England
    54 megabits per second, divide 54 by 8 (8 bits in a byte) to get your speed in megabytes per second. 54/8=6.75.

    And that's the maximum throughput. All sorts of environmental factors limit the speed.
  6. soLoredd macrumors 6502a

    Mar 12, 2007
    On my Airport N network, I can get 7-9MBps when transferring from my MBP to Mac Mini. If I put the computers next to each other, it reaches about 10MBps. I never realized how faster N is to G.

    I find though its easier to just keep an ethernet cable in my laptop bag. So quick and easy. I just queue up several HandBrake encodes on my MBP and transfer to the Mini with ethernet.
  7. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    By ethernet cable if gigabit, by fw cable otherwise.

    You're getting about 2.8 megabytes per second trasfer by wifi, which is probably typical in most environments.
  8. whooleytoo macrumors 603


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    It has been answered above, but just to add further:

    Files & disk sizes are almost always measured in multiples of bytes, designated by a capital "B" in the units. E.g. Kilobytes (KB), Megabytes (MB) etc.

    In communications, it's more common to use multiples of bits (where 8 bits = 1 byte), designated by a lowercase "b". Kilobits per sec (Kbps), Megabits per sec (Mbps).

    For various reasons, a wireless connection rarely delivers the maximum throughput for very long; ~22Mbps is probably a typical throughput for a 802.11g Wifi connection; or just under 3MB copied per second; right about what you're seeing.

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