MacBook Air flash drive affecting internet speed.

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Jefe's MacAir, Nov 21, 2010.

  1. Jefe's MacAir macrumors 6502

    Nov 21, 2010
    Hello. I'm a new member here and I have a question. I did do a quick search before posting my question below but was unable to find what I was looking for. My apologies if it has been covered before.

    First some background.
    My name is Jeff and I recently purchased a MacBook Air 13" 128GB. I've owned a first gen iMac. I currently own a iPad, a iPod Classic 80 GB, and a iPod touch.

    I live in Colorado and use Comcast cable internet. Recently we've had some problems with internet speeds. I decided to go to and test our internet speed. I was troubled to see how slow our connection was. Under 10 and sometimes under 5. The trouble seemed to be only on Saturdays. After many tests w/ I decided to compare the MacAir to my wife's PC. I was a bit surprised to see the PC get more than double the speed of the Mac.

    After comparing speeds with some other peeps on another forum I frequent it seems the MacAirs and iPads download information much slower than PCs and full blown Macs.

    My question is: Does flash drive memory download information slower than the traditional hard drives found on PCs and larger Macs?

    Thanks for the help and again I apologize if this subject has been covered before. I look forward to participating on the forum.
  2. bcaslis macrumors 68020

    Mar 11, 2008
    No, the flash drive is much faster than a hard disk. Second, neither has anything to do with download speed.

    How is the PC conected? If it is ethernet and you are using Wifi then that might be the difference. What wifi methods does your base station support? 802.11G is much slower than the newer 802.11N protocal. The MBA supports both.
  3. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Sounds like WiFi is the issue. Is your PC connected via Ethernet port? What kind of router do you have? Having a wired connection is always a bit faster than wireless because the wireless signal is never or very rarely 100% due to obstacles (walls, furniture), thus wired may yield a better performance.

    There have also been some reports about bad WiFi in iPads and MBAs so that may have some effect as well. MBA is only made of aluminum and that is known to weaken the WiFi signal.

    My parents' PC downstairs always gets ~10% better speeds than my iMac upstairs, just because it's wired.
  4. OSMac macrumors 65816

    Jun 14, 2010
    No it's not the flash drive, seems to be the OSX Air network drivers.
    In Windows via bootcamp on the Air the wireless speeds are faster.

    I find both the iPad and Air have slower wireless speeds than other wireless devices.

    For Internet use it's generally not an issue as the Internet connection is slower, but for streaming TV , from a local computer I notice the speed.
  5. bcaslis macrumors 68020

    Mar 11, 2008
    The MBA connects on my 5GHz 802.11n network just as fast as a MBP. It's not slower.
  6. Jefe's MacAir thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 21, 2010
    I guess I should have been more explicit.

    The wife's PC is a laptop. We are both running on the same wifi connection.
    Doing tests side by side, alternating as not to affect the download speed by overwhelming the wifi or modem (not sure that would even be a problem).

    When testing, the laptop PC was getting nearly twice the speed as the MAB.

    I realize that w/ flash drive you can access the memory faster but was wondering if downloading information may be slower to the flash drive compared to a traditional disk drive. Again I had a friend do similar tests w/ similar results. His MAB and iPad, both on wifi, downloaded slower than his Mac Pro desktop, which was hardwired to the modem, and his wife's laptop PC which was connected by wifi.

    I tried turning off the firewall on my MAB and that really didn't seem to speed the downloads up at all. I also tried using Google Chrome browser instead of Safari with no improvements to speed of downloading.
  7. FAsnakes macrumors regular

    Jul 26, 2007
    +1 not to mention that you're more than likely introducing an additional computer to your environment.

    Example: if you have a 10m pipe, that 10m is distributed between the computers in your network..
    Pull everything off of your network, reboot your modem, your router and re-test with the Air as your only computer connected to your router then compare.
  8. Mosco macrumors regular

    May 26, 2002
    Something is def wrong with the macbook air. There have been a couple threads about this already but I am seeing extremely slow Wifi in certian places.

    I have Fios 25/25 internet and 2 wireless access points in my house. Right now I am sitting about 10 feet from the one on the first floor and speeds are great. However, the same distance from the second one, and its almost unusable.

    My iPad and my old Macbook both are fine when connected to this access point. It's just my new 11" Air.
  9. nobackup macrumors member


    Apr 19, 2008

    did you run the test on battery and on mains power ? if so was there and difference ?

    me thinks that this might be an over agressive power saving type thing ... which personally i find good if it ups my battery and keeps the heat down :)

    loving the 11" been together 3 weeks now... thought the 11 might be 2 small but ... have been trying to buy a 13" for the past 2 weeks, but just cant seem to convince my self to go back up again.. :D

    If I want to power DL then my 27" iMAC... also loves to be touched :cool:
  10. FAsnakes macrumors regular

    Jul 26, 2007
    Just for kicks i just ran a speed test through the Air..


    Honestly, i would think the air would be on of the last things i would check if i was having internet speed issues...

    - gl
  11. a2applegirl macrumors regular


    Jun 16, 2010
    I just did speedtest with my 15" mbp and my 11.6" air. The air came in at 18.51 Mb/s download and 2.88 Mb/s upload. The mbp came in at 17.66 Mb/s downloand and 2.88 Mb/s upload.

    I think its your router. Reboot it and see if you get a better connection.
  12. Jefe's MacAir thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 21, 2010
    I appreciate the replies.

    I had a Comcast tech come by and check out our system. Everything seems to be to spec w/ the cable and modem.
    I'm just at a loss as to why our PC laptops would download at almost twice the speed as the MAB and iPad. Even his Droid phone would download faster.

    All testing was done over wifi. We even disconnected all other wifi receiving devices.

    Is there something in the AirPort settings I might need to tweak?

    Should I consider purchasing a new wireless router?
  13. rw3 macrumors 6502a


    May 13, 2008
    DFW, TX
    What brand is the Comcast stuff? Are you using your own wireless router or the Comcast provided?
  14. Jefe's MacAir thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 21, 2010
    When you say reboot do you mean reset? If so I've done this to both the modem and the router.

    I'm not the most computer savvy guy around.:eek:
  15. Jefe's MacAir thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 21, 2010
    My own. It's ZyXel.
  16. mackworth macrumors member

    Aug 4, 2008
    I can tell you something is seriously wrong with the macbook air wifi. It's something environmental, but whatever it is makes it dog slow over wifi.

    "Why is the internet so slow?" -> My gf in reference to using the air in our bedroom.
  17. MikeinJapan macrumors regular

    Apr 23, 2010
    I have no problems with the Air via wifi (g). It share the network with a PC, mac mini and PS3.

  18. FAsnakes macrumors regular

    Jul 26, 2007
    Have your computer replaced then..
    You'll more than likely have the same problem.
  19. FAsnakes macrumors regular

    Jul 26, 2007
    Holy ****.. That's an awesome upload speed.
    Good for you. .

    When i was in Tokyo my internet connection was awful. ;(
  20. robby818 macrumors 6502a

    May 2, 2007
    I see it too on two MBA 13" and one 11". Wifi is slow. I've used the MBA's at Starbucks, Coffee Bean, work, and home. Just FYI, my previous 13" 2010 MBP was faster but still slower on all of these networks than my previous ThinkPad x61s. But the difference between the Airs and the MBP is noticable. Seems like a wifi issue. I use Firefox which is slower than Safari but still something is not optimized.
  21. a2applegirl macrumors regular


    Jun 16, 2010
    Yes, I meant reset.
  22. dmelgar macrumors 68000

    Apr 29, 2005
    I've seen faster speeds on an 11 MBA vs. a 13" MBP sitting right next to it. Anyone else seeing faster speeds? I was running both at the same time. I don't know if it was a priority thing, somehow the 11 was getting higher priority.
  23. MikeinJapan macrumors regular

    Apr 23, 2010
    100mb fibre optics is pretty much standard now. I actually find that the SSD is better at keeping up with the speed than standard HDD. I have to limit the download speed on the mini or it chokes.
  24. linkandzelda macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2010
    Theres one thing i can think of. I remember having a DSi with an aluminium case on it. I used to play games online but the signal was poor like one bar. Then i removed the case and was getting 4-5 bars! The MBA and iPad are also aluminium (i think) so maybe its stopping the wifi signal for most users.

    If its not that as ice seen some similar tests (the MBP is also aluminium...) then its some other metal interference in the house between the router and bedroom.

    Hope it helps,
  25. MikeinJapan macrumors regular

    Apr 23, 2010
    That is why the wifi cards are behind the screen to help with the wifi.

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