What speed *should* my wifi be?


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 10, 2011
On our wifi network, we have a MBP 17", an iPad (first gen), and a wii. That's it. We're currently using an old, cheap router.

When the MBP is directly plugged into the router via ethernet, online speed tests show that it gets (approximately) the speed our ISP promised: ~15 Mbps download, ~3 Mbps upload.

When you unplug the MBP and use it on the wifi network, speed tests show dramatically slower results. I suspect that in addition to being old, the router is somehow broken.

If we were to replace the router (most likely with airport extreme base station), would anyone know approximately what speed levels I should expect when running on wifi? My understanding is that it's still somewhat slower than when directly connected, but I'm just wondering how much slower?

Thank you for any information/insights. :)
Nov 28, 2010
The AEBS can sustain around 15 MB/s via a wireless LAN if you use an 802.11 N network.
That is 120 Mbps, which is more than enough for your internet connection.
With my iMac and MBP all using an N network spread by the AEBS (2009) edition, and an internet connection with 1.2 MB/s download speed, I am as fast with the wireless LAN as I would be with Ethernet (wired LAN).

Btw, just click on the AirPort / WiFi icon in the Menu Bar while holding down the OPTION / Alt key and see, what the Transmit Rate and PHY Mode is.


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 10, 2011
simsaladimbamba, thank you for that information. That's exactly what I was looking for.

blueroom, thanks for sharing that site. Should be useful as I go router shopping here in a bit... :)


macrumors 65816
Jul 26, 2011
My "ancient" AEBS "g" network consistently downloads between 10-15mbps, so you can expect even faster downloads with a newer "n" AEBS.



macrumors regular
Oct 14, 2008
New York City
Just for a little more reference, I use the latest Airport Extreme (5ghz) and I can tell a difference when using wireless vs ethernet direct connection, but it's very slight. You would be well served by an N capable router.
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