Should I buy an Airport Express: Gigabit vs. 802.11n

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by krye, Apr 16, 2008.

  1. krye macrumors 68000

    krye

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    USA
    #1
    I had to move the Mac Pro from the living room to the bedroom. Now I have the task of getting the machine on the network. Should I run ethernet from the living room to the bedroom? Or go 802.11n?

    What's faster? I mean, up until now the Mac Pro was plugged into a 802.11G 5 port 10/100 router. The wireless was for my MacBook. The Mac Pro was plugged in wired and does not have an Airport Extreme card. However, since the switch is 10/100, I guess the Mac Pro has never really been running at Gigabit speeds. I guess Gigabit is only good is you have multiple machines and a Gigabit switch. Other than that, they're all talking to each other at 10/100. Since I only have the MacBook and the Mac Pro, I will never be able to take advantage of Gigabit. I'd run a wire, but it's going to be a big pain, and I'll only been running at 100M.

    So, should I spend $50 on an AirPort card for the Mac Pro and get it up to 802.11n speed? And replace my 10/100/802.11G router with the $99 Airport Express? Since 802.11n is supposed to be 540M, and I assume I've only really been running at 100M, I'll see a speed increase, yes?
     
  2. Flynnstone macrumors 65816

    Flynnstone

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    #2
    I recently upgraded from a 10/100 to a gigabit switch.
    My Macbook is either connected to my network either by my Airport Express or the gigabit switch. I have used my Macbook to ingest video from my miniDV camera. Then I copy it to my Power Mac G5 with attached big o drive.
    This is the only time I really see the difference in speed between gigabit and 100m.
    I prefer wired networks. Seems like less hassle to me.
    I had a Xyzel wireless router/dsl modem before I used my Airport express. The Xyzel was a piece of junk from a wireless point of view.
     
  3. krye thread starter macrumors 68000

    krye

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    #3
    Yeh, but if I only have one Mac connected to the switch, does Gigabit make much sense? I'm mean, I probably bottle-neck at the cable modem anyway. The MacBook is out since the Airport card is 802.11b. And I don't need a super fast connection in the house for that.

    I just can decide. It makes sense that 802.11n is 540M and my switch is 100M that I will see a 5x speed boost. But run a wire for free, or spend $150 on an Airport card and Airport Express?
     
  4. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #4
    Real world 802.11n is barely faster than 100BaseT and if you are more than a room or two from the router is slower than 100BaseT. Gigabit ether is WAY faster than 802.11n

    If you only have one Mac connected than the whole thing will run at the slowest speed.

    It has been observed by various tests of the AEBS that the gigabit router is slightly faster at 802.11n than the non-gigabit. Something to do with internal ether routing on the AEBS. Don't know if this carries over to the Express.

    Either way you are probably better off with your current setup.
     
  5. Flynnstone macrumors 65816

    Flynnstone

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    #5
    What about moving your wireless router to the bedroom?
     
  6. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #6
    One other question. Do you access the Mac Pro from the MacBook or are you simply using the network to connect to the internet? If its the latter than your cable modem will be the limiting factor.
     
  7. krye thread starter macrumors 68000

    krye

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    #7
    I'm not even counting the MacBook since the light use it has doesn't require anything faster than the current 802.11b card it has.

    My main concern is it's going to be a pain in the ass running a wire to the bedroom. And I'd prefer going wireless for the easy installation, but only if it's faster than my current 10/100 router. As I said before, since it's only one computer I'm dealing with, so Gigabit doesn't make much sense. Since I can only pull data as fast as the cable modem can sent. The wireless router now is tethered to the cable modem, which can't really be moved. If I move that to the bedroom, then I'll have to run coax to the bedroom, which defeats the purpose.
     
  8. krye thread starter macrumors 68000

    krye

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    #8
    ....errrrr! I think I'm going to just have to bite the bullet and run a damn cable. I guess I'll be up in the attic tonight.
     
  9. Flynnstone macrumors 65816

    Flynnstone

    Joined:
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    #9
    I don't know the speed of your cable modem. The fastest I've ever seen, personally, is 600kbyte/s. This is < 10 megabit.
    802.11b is fine. I don't think you'd see a speed difference.
     

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