Real-world difference between wireless N and G networks?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by smiddlehurst, Jun 3, 2010.

  1. smiddlehurst macrumors 65816

    Jun 5, 2007
    Hey everyone, just wondering if you could help me out on a network question. I've currently got a 8022.11g network with 10Mb cable internet connection running at home which handles a couple of Macbooks, a PS3, Wiii, iPod Touch and, of course, my shiny new iPad. I'm about to add a Mac Mini which will basically be a 24/7 server mainly for streaming video via Air Video and doing USB syncing for all the iDevices.

    What I'm currently considering is sticking in an Airport Extreme at the same time. Wireless time machine would be very handy and the ability to seperate out my friends wireless access from the main network when they come round is good for peace of mind. My big question though is whether or not I'll see / feel any performance increase on the devices connected to the network, specificaly the iPad. Obviously when the Mac Mini goes in there's going to be a fair amount of traffic which isn't going to help matters but if I'm going to sell it to the wife ideally she needs to actually feel the benefits in daily use.

    Anyone out there used their iPad's on both g and n networks? And if so did was there any performance difference whatsoever?

    As always thanks in advance for any and all help / feedback / comments :D
  2. WilliamG macrumors G3

    Mar 29, 2008
    N 5Ghz is faster if you're not too far away from the router. G 2.4Ghz is faster if you're a further away from the router. You'll have to try both and see how you do. I stick with G 2.4ghz for this reason.
  3. smiddlehurst thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 5, 2007
    Heh, considering the house we're currently in a) is rather small and b) has internal walls seemingly made of Kit Kat wrappers I'm not too worried about range. But there is a noticeable difference between N and G on the iPad then?

    Sorry to be asking that question but no matter how much you read up on the subject there's nothing like getting real world info (especially on wireless bloody networking where every review site and magazine seems to change their opinion on a daily basis).
  4. WilliamG macrumors G3

    Mar 29, 2008
    Everyone's experience will vary. I suggest you try both and find out.
  5. undrpsi macrumors regular

    Mar 28, 2010
    Gastonia, NC

    late last year I had just a "G" network with a single router up. I have an iMac (mail/print/desktop use), 5 notebooks (not all used at once), XBOX 360, Wii, and some misc. low bandwidth devices (weathernet system..etc).

    For Christmas we added 2 more XBOX's (ad hoc Modern Warfare network for me and the boys - don'tcha know). Lagged constantly.

    I have the 7 meg cable subscription...replaced the "G" router with AEBS (Apple Extreme Bas Station) Dual Channel (seperate G and N radio's) and added an AE (Apple Express) with N capability. I upgraded the XBOX's to "N" wireless.

    - "G" footprint has doubled because of the AE being used to extend the network.
    - Lag is infrequent but still there (but can be caused by TW cable and/or XBLA gamer server probs)
    - The music streaming capability of the Express is surprisingly useful.

    When the system works great. There are still times when everyone has something up on the net or heavily using the print server that can cause a slowdown. (Remember this is also when 3 XBOX 360's are going full bore playing MW2 either online or across the network). The "N" is NOT supposed to extend range...just be faster when it's in range. The AEBS with dual radios is (supposedly) the best choice for multiple units since it will hand off "G" only access to one radio while keeping the "N" radio channel free. That means it won't (or shouldn't) slow the whole system down to "G" speeds (which is what I was led to believe happens when an "N" network has "G" equipment accessing it).

    YMMV - wildly!

  6. MacAddiction macrumors member

    Aug 1, 2007
    Same for me. I was just on the Apple boards about the same issue. I did speed tests on both networks with my iPad and actually had better time on the G network (because there is one little thin wall in between).
  7. smiddlehurst thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 5, 2007
    Thanks for that, pretty much ties in with what I'd expected (although I rather suspect an AEBS will extend my range if only because I'm currently using the cheapest G router my cable company could thrown in for free).

    I've taken the plunge and ordered the current Airport Extreme (thank you education discount), give it a try and if it doesn't improve at all (or if my iPad decides it doesn't like it and sulks) it can always go back. What I will try and do if I get time is a bit of testing side-by-side with my current G router. Uh, well, one at a time with the other firmly powered down rather than having them compete for space but you know what I mean.

    Currently I think it's going to be worth it just for seperating out the G and N networks as all my computers (including iPad) have built-in N network cards and all the entertainment devices end up on the G network. Should be handy for several ideas I'm currently mulling over for my rig going forward. Plus guest network access is incredibly useful to me, especially as more and more of my friends bring wireless-enabled devices (phones and netbooks / CULV laptops mostly) over and want internet access. I'm also considering upping the Internet speeds (mainly because I'm starting to download more content from iTunes and Virgin Media caps downloads in the evening to 1.5GB or thereabouts on 10Mb, 3GB on 20Mb) which would be pushing dangerously close to what I could realisticly expect as a max from a G router and I have the option of a 50Mb service as well.

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