Is it better to use ethernet or airport wifi

Discussion in 'iMac' started by silva78644, Feb 9, 2011.

  1. silva78644 macrumors member

    Jul 29, 2010
    On my imac. Im jus wondering. what are the pros and cons.
  2. tjb1 macrumors 68000

    Aug 26, 2010
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Ethernet is going to be faster than the wifi. Really no reason to use wifi when you have ethernet available besides not having to run the cable.
  3. MacHamster68, Feb 10, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2011

    MacHamster68 macrumors 68040


    Sep 17, 2009
    just for example when i use airport on my cor duo iMac to watch a online movie at 720 p i get stutter an frame losses all the time but if i use ethernet even 1080 p online videos run without any stutter and there is nothing wrong with either router or airport and the distance is less then 10 meters , airport just not fast enough for a stable signal especially if you have more then one wireless computer/laptop or whatever connected

    so its better to use that thin wire then the air ;)
  4. chachawpi macrumors member

    Feb 7, 2009
    I can't imagine ever using WiFi on a desktop unless you were trying to steal your neighbors internet. It's staying put so run the cable.
  5. skiltrip macrumors 68030

    May 6, 2010
    New York
    Might be a silly Q, but you can still stream to AirTunes while using ethernet right? My understanding is it's not streaming directly from computer to Airport Express, but everything happens through the network/router right?
  6. Agizor macrumors newbie

    Feb 6, 2011
    I've got a wireless N switch about 10 feet behind me with no walls in-between, now while it may be easily possible to run an RJ-45 from my desktop to the switch, I would think running wireless N at that point-blank range would be pretty much the same. Now of course there are other factors to consider, but yeah, straight wire will always be the _best_ solution, but I feel like wireless N with a properly configured switch will render results quite similar.
  7. paduck macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2007
    That's correct, the router passes the data to the Airport Express for AirTunes. I am currently doing it with three Airport Expresses and two Apple TV's and a wired desktop.
  8. paduck macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2007
    Wireless N can't keep up with Gigabit ethernet. However, what you are probably really concerned with is data flowing to and from the Internet, so your speeds are probably not more than 20 Mbps. Since theoretically 802.11g is 54 Mbs, then you don't even need 802.11n. Realistically of course, it doesn't perform to spec, but it should still be sufficient to send sustained data. I could get about the 20 Mbps line spec using 802.11g in my house with two floors separating me from the router. There is great benefit to having no wires if you aren't pushing lots of data locally.

    Here is a case where 802.11n is better than wired - the Apple TV has 802.11n, but only a 100 Mbps ethernet port. If I put the Apple TV right next to my Airport Extreme and wire in the computer, then I can get transfer speeds of about 90 - 120 Mbps - something I couldn't get via wired. However, I have gone to wired for that as well. Why? Sustained transfer speeds around ~90 Mbps to the Apple TV thirty feet from the router. You just can't do that with wireless unless the ATV is right on top of the router.
  9. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    Years ago I had 10base2 (coax) Ethernet running around the house. Those wires are still in place. I now have gigabit Ethernet, but frankly some locations are just to difficult to run wires to. So I've got three desktop Macs connected via 802.11n. My video is 720p and I have no issues.
  10. gdeputy macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2008
    New York
    It's true that wired is faster but I still regularly achieve download rates of 1.2MB/sec on WiFi which is blazingly fast, and if I'm downloading from a dedicated server like ATI for example I can download an 80MB file in a little under a minute.

    If you prefer clutter free desktop (which I do) theres no need to run a wire, I highly doubt I'll see much if any benefit unless i'm sharing files within my own network, in which case you can actually utilize the speed difference.
  11. JRoDDz macrumors 68000


    Jul 2, 2009
    How did you manage to eliminate the power cord? :D
  12. RuggedPro, Feb 10, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2011

    RuggedPro macrumors regular

    Sep 19, 2010
    5GHz Wireless N:


    My plan from my ISP is for 30mb/s.

    File transfer, wire. Internet, if you can pull numbers close to your advertised speed then it's not needed.

    Back to file transfer. I'm running the cisco e4200 which advertises 450mb on 5GHz at 290ft. Only 2 wireless cards on the market are compatible with that speed but when I finish the system, I should theoretically be able to stream 1080p ISO files seeing as only 100mb true bandwidth is needed. The e4200 300mb speed has been amazing so far. I could probably pull it off or get close with those speeds. WNDR3700 from netgear is another good router for consideration if this stuff matters to you. E4200 runs very hot and it's USB NAS external drive support is slow but no routers have figured that feature out yet.

    Same router, same computer. My 2.4GHz wireless N speed is 7.7mb/s down 3.5mb/s up with a ping of 175ms. Interference on the 2.4GHz band makes a big difference. Couple that with 5GHz wider "road"; even with lower signal strength, choose 5GHz whenever you can.

    Some common 2.4GHz electronics that can interfere.
    Xbox controllers
    Portable phones

    Summary: In general, wired will be the fastest option but technology is/has catching/caught up enough to make that difference negligible in all but the extreme cases.
  13. iMikeT macrumors 68020

    Jul 8, 2006
  14. fpnc macrumors 68000

    Oct 30, 2002
    San Diego, CA
    In most situations even 100Mb wired ethernet is going to perform better than 802.11n. File transfers on a local network are always going to work better on ethernet but as has already been mentioned if your primary concern is download/upload to the internet then 802.11g/n will probably be good enough. However, if you are lucky enough to have an ISP that can give you more than 40 to 50Mbps then I'd go strictly with wired ethernet (or even less than that if you are restricted to 802.11g).
  15. chachawpi macrumors member

    Feb 7, 2009
  16. panzer06, Feb 11, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2011

    panzer06 macrumors 68030


    Sep 23, 2006
    For most people wifi g or n is more than enough if you have the 6-20mb Internet connections common in the us. However, GBe using the Ethernet port is better if you have multiple systems or local network storage that supports the higher speeds. File transfers or streaming on the internal LAN will be much faster wired assuming your switches and other endpoint devices all support GBe.

  17. Shivetya macrumors 65816

    Jan 16, 2008
    I used ethernet only once on my iMac, when transferring the old one to the new one. Other than that all my computers are on wireless. Why? Simple, my modem and router are upstairs in that office and my main iMac is down stairs. I don't want to be stuck where the modem is.
  18. paduck macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2007
    I did a 2.71GB file in 53 seconds yesterday to my home server over Gig-E. That's for a single file. Time Machine backups are pretty speedy locally. That's why I have it wired. G or N wireless from two floors away still let's me saturate my Internet connection at 20 Mbps, but with a desktop wired straight into the wall, there is no reason to use the wireless on that computer. It is useful for the laptop and iPhone though.
  19. jonnymo5 macrumors 6502

    Jan 21, 2008
    Wired is always better. Chances of lost packets are much much lower.
  20. bigus7674 macrumors member

    Jan 4, 2005
    there is a difference..

    My girlfriend and I have Verizon FIOS 50/50 and her computer was really lagging when going online. I called Verizon and spoke to the Tech department; essentially with wireless, their advertised speeds are not guaranteed because for every device that you have connected via wireless, it takes away available bandwidth.

    To test this, the tech had me test the upload / download speeds: from my girlfriend's Toshiba laptop (approximately 15-20 ft from the wireless router) it was showing an average of 7.8Mbps down / 6.9Mbps up; my iMac (approximately a foot from the wireless router) was getting an average of 10.2Mbps down / 9.8Mbps up.

    She then had me connect the iMac to the router via ethernet...what a difference! It shot up to about 35.4Mbps down / 28.7Mbps up.

    I'm sure part of the issue is a combination of the number of wireless devices we have (2 printers, Wii, laptop, iMac) and any potential interference to the 2.4Ghz frequency, but just wanted to illustrate the fact of how different the speeds can be between wireless and wired.
  21. RuggedPro macrumors regular

    Sep 19, 2010
    Interesting my tests were similar but not completely. 2.4GHz performance in particular differs greatly.

    Also, I couldn't tell what wireless cards he was using?
  22. chachawpi macrumors member

    Feb 7, 2009
    Intel Wi-Fi Link 5300 AGN mini-PCIe cards.
  23. RuggedPro macrumors regular

    Sep 19, 2010
    Cool. Thanks. Off to research. Smallnetbuilder is an awesome resource.

Share This Page