Slow Airport Extreme Wi-Fi - how can I fix it?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by zen, Mar 5, 2014.

  1. zen macrumors 68000


    Jun 26, 2003
    Apologies, but I don't know much about wi-fi.

    We have 76mbit fibre broadband, and a great connection to the box on our street, so we get the full speed at the jack in the wall.

    However, I use an Airport Extreme to create a wi-fi network, and from just a few meters away (with no walls or anything in the way), my download speed is just 40mbit.

    I've got the last of the big flat Airport Extreme base stations, before Apple changed them to the new cylinder model. The 5Ghz is off, I think, as there is no check box in 5Ghz network name.
  2. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    If the walls are thick, that could be an issue, but you could try changing the channel on you AE...Go into the settings box of the Aiport and choose a channel higher than the one you are on.

    If the Mac's and IOS devices are capable of 5GHZ then it might be worth enabling that too...It gets you away from local interference.
  3. zen thread starter macrumors 68000


    Jun 26, 2003
    Thanks, will try the 5 Ghz channel, and also will change the channel of the regular network. I have a feeling that the last time I turned 5Ghz on, speeds dramatically reduced.

    There is a cordless telephone near the base station - I guess there may be interference from that, reducing the speed? Hence changing the channel might be worth a shot?
  4. Curun macrumors 6502


    Sep 10, 2013
    Wifi can be annoyingly complicated.

    76mbps is an odd number, you sure? Its usually more round and even; e.g. 50, 100, 300,1000, etc...?

    What are you using to speed test?

    A Mac/PC hardwired to the wall jack, 76mbps?
    A Mac/PC hardwired to the Airport, hardwired to the wall 76mbps?
    A Mac wireless to Airport, 40?
    An iPhone to airport, 40?
    An iPad to airport, 40?

    IMacs/Macbooks for a looooong time have been MIMO and should link at 150+ over 2.4GHz and give you better than 40.
    An iPhone is going to max out around 40. Single stream.
    All iPads before the Air are single stream and will cap around 40.

    Your AirportExpress is more than enough. Its got MIMO, 5ghz, etc. Dad has one for his 100/100 link and we easily hit 100.

    The 5GHz blank... its not usually a checkbox. Bt default it mirrors your 2.4ghz name. I prefer a different name so I can see in iPad at a glance which I'm connected to; e.g. Home and Home_5.

    Your wireless phone can interfere, should interfere only when actively used, if even then.
  5. zen thread starter macrumors 68000


    Jun 26, 2003
    Tell me about it!

    Yes, that's the plan offered by my provider - 76mbps. Their cheaper plan is 38mbps. I have no idea why those are the speeds offered.

    Yes to all of the above.

    Interesting, thanks!

    Yeah, this is the same here - there is a checkbox, and a blank field. When I check the checkbox, the blank field is autofilled with my current network name, with 5Ghz added to the end of it.

    I have switched this on now... and now my Mac gets 71mbps! Downstairs (i.e., with a floor and walls in the way), my Macbook Pro gets 68mbps.

    So... problem solved! I've switched my Mac mini, Macbook Pro and Apple TV to the 5GHz network, and even with all three connected the speeds are up in the 60s. We have three iPhones and an iPad, which I'll leave on the standard network, and also a PC gaming rig which doesn't recognise the 5GHz network anyway.

    I remember trying the 5GHz network several years ago and finding it as slow as hell... but I guess new machines and various Airport firmware updates in the meantime have solved the issues?

    I am now very happy. Thanks for the help, you guys!
  6. Curun macrumors 6502


    Sep 10, 2013

    Just know that 2.4ghz while slower, and the band is more prone to interference. It does go through walls and have a better range.

    For 5GHz, shorter range and more attenuation through walls... There is more channel spacing, so less interference, and Airport should double the channel with to 40mhz which is where the speed boost comes from.

    Set your 5Ghz to channel 149 or higher. FCC power restrictions in lower channels.

    Link speed is raw bits before error correction and protocol overhead which use up a bunch of the bits. Your typical, application layer, run will be 60-70% of link speed.

    This is why a 2.4ghz, single stream 72mbps link... Tops speedtest around 40mbps.

    MIMO should raise this to 144(often called 150 link)mbps link

    5Ghz doubles both those numbers.

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