What's faster between a thunderbolt to gigabit ethernet and Wi Fi connection

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Sekelani, Jun 29, 2014.

  1. Sekelani, Jun 29, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2014

    Sekelani macrumors 6502


    May 26, 2012
    I'm thinking of purchasing this product


    Is it faster than a Wi Fi connection? I have this mac :

    15-inch: 2.0GHz

    with Retina display

    Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz

    8GB 1600MHz memory

    256GB PCIe-based flash storage1

    Intel Iris Pro Graphics

    My mac supports thunderbolt 2, I'm hoping for a faster internet connection.
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    When you say "better", do you mean faster or more stable? The limiting factor in your internet connection speed is most likely your connection to the ISP, not your internal network bandwidth. Both Wi-Fi and wired networks support speeds that are likely much higher than your ISP offers.
  3. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

    Oct 9, 2007
    Under almost any conditions, gigabit ethernet will be faster than WiFi.

    Both are almost certainly much, much, much faster than your internet connection though.

    So if your traffic consists of things coming from or going to the internet, it really doesn't matter if you use WiFi or Ethernet.

    If you have data going from one device in your home to another device in your home (like copying files from one computer to another) than ethernet is an advantage.

    Most important question: what kind of internet access are you paying for? Most people in the US and Canada have service that's 5 Mbps or less.
  4. Donfor39 macrumors 65816


    Jul 26, 2012
    Lanarkshire Scotland
    I want to purchase a similar product

    waiting for an answer from a ebay seller

    not sure if the thunderbolt '2' ports make a difference with compatibility:eek:
  5. Sekelani thread starter macrumors 6502


    May 26, 2012

    By better I mean faster and more reliable.


    I'm in Australia. I have a maximum of about 15mbps download but only get 8mbps when downloading. I saw a couple of reviews that thunderbolt to gigabite is faster than Wi Fi.
    I thought this could be a good way to get closer to my 16mbps


    I thought it would since it's twice as faster as the previous generation.
  6. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    It won't help your internet connection. That's the speed the data is coming into the house. If you can get 15Mbps that doesn't mean you WILL get 15Mbps. Things like distance from the ADSL exchange and services between you and the exchange as well as the physical condition of your line govern how fast your internet is.
  7. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Your laptop supports the 802.11ac WIFI standard, which can reach up to 1.3Gbit/s

    Of course, it depends on the WIFI router that you are using — but if its a more or less modern one, you should expect the speeds of around 300Mbit/s or so. One way to find it out is to click on tour WiFi icon while holding the option key — it will show you the current WIFI connection rate. If its quoted over 16Mbps, you won't see any substantial improvement from using the wired connection.

    I think its much more likely that your internet simply does not deliver 16Mbps — the ISP would often advertise their services as 'up to x', but they don't promise to deliver 'x'.
  8. Sekelani thread starter macrumors 6502


    May 26, 2012

    Mmm. Okay. Thanks.
  9. alex0002 macrumors 6502

    Jun 19, 2013
    New Zealand
    Even if your ISP was providing 100Mb/s over fibre, there would be little benefit in Gigabit Ethernet over 802.11ac WiFi.

    The main reason to prefer Gigabit Ethernet would be to take advantage of fast local network based storage a.k.a. NAS or local network backup systems.
  10. Sekelani thread starter macrumors 6502


    May 26, 2012

    So in essence. Would it be advisable for me to get it?
  11. Meister, Jun 29, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2014

    Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    Like mentioned the difference lies in stability.
    Ethernet is always faster and more stable than wireless.

    I use my macbook on the road and on my lap. So no cable for me.

    If I would use my macbook mainly on a desk ethernet is the way to go!
  12. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

    Oct 9, 2007
    If you have other computers or devices (phones, tablets) and you share large amounts of data with them (multi-gigabyte files) then yes.

    Otherwise no real point.
  13. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Your internet connection is the bottleneck, so either should work for that. Computer to computer or computer to NAS network would benefit with the ethernet adapter.
  14. Intelligent macrumors 6502a


    Aug 7, 2013
    What? in Sweden the average internet speed is 46/MBs
  15. Modernape macrumors regular

    Jun 21, 2010
    Skype video is smoother over an ethernet connection compared to wifi, I know that much from experience, so the packet loss rate may be lower, but as others have said, the speed will not be affected.
  16. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

    Oct 9, 2007
    The United States and (even more so) Canada have our population spread out over a HUGE territory that has to be wired.

    Sweden is 449,964 km2
    The USA is 9,826,675 km2
    Canada is 9,984,670 km2

    However, my figures are a bit out of date. Canada is now up to 9.7 and the US to 10.5. Faster speeds are available (I have 150 Mbps) but can be quite costly.


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