upgrading to wireless N?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Solesk, Sep 16, 2007.

  1. Solesk macrumors member

    Sep 12, 2007
    this might be a stupid question. but i've heard it said that if you upgrade your wireless network that it will only run as fast as the slowest computer on that network.

    so for instance, i'm thinking of a new macbook pro with the wireless n card and also getting a wireless n router. i will also have 3 desktop computers connected through cat5. but i'll have a 5th computer still using an old 802.11b wireless connection. but i really have little interaction with that computer.

    now obviously, if i try to connect to the old wireless computer i can only go as fast as it's connection. but what if i'm transfering files from the desktops that have a faster connection into the laptop? will i get wireless N speeds since the 5th, slow computer, is not part of the transfer?

    on that same note i'm thinking of upgrading my 10/100 router to a 10/100/1000 router. do all my desktops on the network need new network cards? or can i upgrade only the two that will be transfering with each other the most? it would be pointless to upgrade 2 of the machines if the 3rd keeps the whole network still at 10/100 even though it's not involved in the process much.

    i'm fairly confident that it only slows to the slowest computer involved in the transfer, not to the slowest computer on the network, even if it's sitting idle. but my searches on google mostly just turned up questions about a router to the outside and gigibit switches for internal traffic.

    anyway, possibly stupid questions that i didnt know the answer to.
  2. macleod199 macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2007
    Whenever the 802.11b computer transmits anything I imagine the network will back off into compatibility mode for a little while (seconds?), so I'd avoid running anything on it that sends out periodic network requests (which may be almost impossible at this point).

    As for the 10/100/1000 question... it probably depends on the quality of the device. A cheaper device would probably just run internally at the highest possible common speed. You'll probably want to look for one that specifically says on the box whether it can handle multiple different speeds internally, as it would involve increased component complexity (and therefore manufacturing cost).

    Actually, another option is to get a gigabit switch to connect just the two fast machines, then have the uplink port going to your current router. Since you're buying a new piece of hardware anyway, the only extra cost is the power/space of running both.
  3. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    In compatibility mode, the maximum transfer rate from an n device will be 130mbps. The b device will still transfer at 11mbps.

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