Non-gigabit Ethernet vs Wireless N

ducatiti

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 18, 2011
932
153
Which is faster? Reason I'm asking is that I already have a USB Ethernet dongle and don't plan to buy the gigabit adaptor. I will be backing up with time machine via airport extreme and would like to know which is better: 100 base-t or wireless N? Thank you in advance.
 

stevedusa

macrumors regular
Jun 12, 2012
151
3
In theory of speed, 802.11n would be faster.

In real world, depending on how your wireless network condition is, in rare cases, 10/100 Ethernet MIGHT end up being better, but that's a rare case.

I suggest you try to copy 500M to 1Gig amount of data via both methods and do a compair by yourself.

Personally I suggest you go with gigabit as long as the whole route is at full gigabit speed.

Of course there is the disk I/O speed to consider too.
 

ducatiti

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 18, 2011
932
153
In theory of speed, 802.11n would be faster.

In real world, depending on how your wireless network condition is, in rare cases, 10/100 Ethernet MIGHT end up being better, but that's a rare case.

I suggest you try to copy 500M to 1Gig amount of data via both methods and do a compair by yourself.

Personally I suggest you go with gigabit as long as the whole route is at full gigabit speed.

Of course there is the disk I/O speed to consider too.
Thanks for the input. Pardon my ignorance but what would result a faster backup? Gigabit ethernet or Firwire 800?
 

calderone

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2009
3,679
86
Seattle
I have a airport extreme and mbpr on order.
Derp. Missed AirPort Extreme in the original post.

Yes, N will be faster that 100Mbit Ethernet*, however as noted above you will be limited by the disk no matter which you use.

Edit: * based on a late model Extreme and good signal strength.
 
Last edited:

ducatiti

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 18, 2011
932
153
Is there a reason you don't want to spend $29 for the thunderbolt one? I think the expense would be worth the gain in speed.
Honestly, it would only be beneficial for me on the initial backup. Succeeding backups will be minimal and there will also be a powernap backup feature. I don't think it would be worth it for me.
 

rkuo

macrumors 6502a
Sep 25, 2010
603
201
N will be only marginally faster under IDEAL conditions than the 100mbit usb adapter. Thunderbolt Ethernet adapter is nice but those ports are better used for display outputs. USB adapter is fast enough under most circumstances and more flexible.
 

stevedusa

macrumors regular
Jun 12, 2012
151
3
Thanks for the input. Pardon my ignorance but what would result a faster backup? Gigabit ethernet or Firwire 800?
They would be about the same with Gigabit being slightly faster.

However backing up via network vs via local is a bit hard to compair as the route the data being traveled are different.

Honestly if you just want to backup your stuff, I'd stick with local and FW800 interface. Hook it up once you are ready to backup then let it run. Same can apply to the network connection.

Anyway ultimately it all comes down to the disk I/O speed.
 

phyrexia

macrumors 6502a
Sep 3, 2010
611
0
N will be only marginally faster under IDEAL conditions than the 100mbit usb adapter. Thunderbolt Ethernet adapter is nice but those ports are better used for display outputs. USB adapter is fast enough under most circumstances and more flexible.
You're mistaken. Wireless N is much faster (three times faster) in my house than a 100mbit wired connection.

What do you consider ideal conditions? My various devices can saturate anything between from 10Mbps and 1000Gbps.
 

rkuo

macrumors 6502a
Sep 25, 2010
603
201
You're mistaken. Wireless N is much faster (three times faster) in my house than a 100mbit wired connection.

What do you consider ideal conditions? My various devices can saturate anything between from 10Mbps and 1000Gbps.
Really. So you get 300 Mbps down on your wi-fi?

http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wireless/wireless-charts/view

Here is a whole site that reviews wireless devices for a living and they have never gotten anything close to what you claim.

'Nuff said.
 

phyrexia

macrumors 6502a
Sep 3, 2010
611
0
Really. So you get 300 Mbps down on your wi-fi?

http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wireless/wireless-charts/view

Here is a whole site that reviews wireless devices for a living and they have never gotten anything close to what you claim.

'Nuff said.
I get consistent ~25MB/s transfer rates between a MBP (5ghz N) and an i7 PC (1000mbps wired) with a Cisco/Linksys E4200. I compare this to the ~9MB/s real life throughput of a 100mb wired network.

And it's still inaccurate to state a USB 100mbps adapter will provide the same results as a properly tuned N network. I'm sure smallnetbuilder agrees with me.


hypnotoad: Downloads vwilson$ iperf -c darktower
------------------------------------------------------------
Client connecting to darktower, TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 129 KByte (default)
------------------------------------------------------------
[ 5] local 10.13.37.100 port 52633 connected with 10.13.37.149 port 5001
[ ID] Interval Transfer Bandwidth
[ 5] 0.0-10.0 sec 284 MBytes 238 Mbits/sec
darktower:~ vwilson$ iperf -s
------------------------------------------------------------
Server listening on TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 128 KByte (default)
------------------------------------------------------------
[ 4] local 10.13.37.149 port 5001 connected with 10.13.37.100 port 52633
[ ID] Interval Transfer Bandwidth
[ 4] 0.0-10.0 sec 284 MBytes 238 Mbits/sec
 
Last edited:

terraphantm

macrumors 68040
Jun 27, 2009
3,740
552
Pennsylvania
Derp. Missed AirPort Extreme in the original post.

Yes, N will be faster that 100Mbit Ethernet*, however as noted above you will be limited by the disk no matter which you use.

Edit: * based on a late model Extreme and good signal strength.
Disc definitely wouldn't limit you on N or 100mbit. Gigabit should be just enough for a platter-based harddrive.