Which WIFI setting is better?

imorton

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 21, 2010
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Hi Guys & Girls...

I just got a new Rocket Hub (MF275R) for mobile internet, and it works beautifully... :)

The only confusing part is whether I should be connecting to 2.4 GHz or 5 GHZ wifi.

The 2.4 GHz setting seems to have higher SNR and slower transfer speed, yet the 5 GHz setting has higher lower SNR yet higher transfer speeds.

My Macbook Pro (2011) is used for web browsing, email, the odd video (Youtube) and Backblaze backups, etc.... Nothing really intensive that I can tell.

Which should I connect to... the 2.4 GHz or the 5 GHz...? (I attached the screenshots with info below).

Thanks, IAN.

2.4 GHz-cropped.jpg
5 GHZ-cropped.jpg
 

jerryk

macrumors 603
Nov 3, 2011
6,109
3,087
SF Bay Area
If the hub is very near your computer, 5GHz is the way to go. If there is a wall or more distance than 2.4GHz might work better. Also, 5GHz has more non-overlapping frequencies, so less interference for other access points.
 

snaky69

macrumors 603
Mar 14, 2008
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All my routers are dual bands and my MacBook Pro chooses the strongest/fastest signal by itself. Are you using different SSID's?
 

Howard2k

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Mar 10, 2016
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It depends. The 2.4GHz space is likely to be FAR more crowded, but the signal propagates better given the same transmission strength than 5GHz.

In actuality you'll need to try both and see. If your place is pretty small and your wifi reaches, likely the 5GHz.
 
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imorton

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 21, 2010
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The Rocket HUB (mobile internet) is either across the room (8ft), or I can place it within 2ft of my Macbook. The HUB is using LTE to the cell towers and I have a strong signal, so I am getting 40-50Mbs DOWN, and 40Mbs UP.

I wasn't aware that the MB would choose the fastest frequency when it has a choice between 2.4 or 5 GHZ

I realize that if I place it within 2ft of my MB, I may as well just use ethernet since I am using a Hengedock docking station. I presume ethernet will be the best of all the three options, and offer me the best speed & reliability. I can use the wifi portion of the HUB for iPhones etc....
 

Howard2k

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Mar 10, 2016
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For those speeds and that range it likely won't really matter which one you choose.
 

Mr. Retrofire

macrumors 603
Mar 2, 2010
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www.emiliana.cl/en
Hi Guys & Girls...Which should I connect to... the 2.4 GHz or the 5 GHz...? (I attached the screenshots with info below).

Thanks, IAN.

View attachment 631054 View attachment 631056
Use 802.11ac @ 5 GHz. This supports 40 and 80 MHz wide channels and has a backwards compatibility layer, which is compatible with your 2011 MBP (5 GHz and up to 450 MBit/s). The new signal modulation of 802.11ac increases the throughput, especially on longer distances (less IP transfer errors). For the best possible speed tell your router, that he should use DFS (Dynamic Frequency Selection).
 

imorton

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 21, 2010
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Hi, the Rocket Hub is a 802.11 b,g,n and doesn't have AC.

I guess I am a few years behind the WIFI technology curve... :)
 

Mr. Retrofire

macrumors 603
Mar 2, 2010
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Your 2011 MBPro doesn't have an AC-capable wifi card either.
Nonetheless, his 2011 MBP works via the 802.11ac backwards compatibility layer which supports also the 802.11n standard.

smallnetbuilder.com said:
From:
http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wireless/wireless-features/32512-does-an-ac-router-improve-n-device-performance

...What I found has changed my advice about AC routers and N devices...

...with best case improvements over 400%...
802.11n or 802.11ac devices (a smartphone, tablet, ...) use less power to transmit data to your 802.11ac router. This results in a longer battery life.

Btw, Apple 802.11ac hardware (AirPort Extreme) provides also the same compatibility, speed and battery life improvements.

arubanetworks.com said:
Page 28 in
http://www.arubanetworks.com/pdf/technology/whitepapers/WP_80211acInDepth.pdf

...802.11ac has a number of features for co-existence, but the main one is an extension of an 802.11n technique: A multipart RF header that uses 802.11a and 802.11n modulation.

Non-802.11ac equipment can read these headers and identify that the channel will be occupied for a given time, and therefore can avoid transmitting simultaneously with the very high throughput frame.

Although 802.11n defines a greenfield mode for non- backwards-compatible operation, it has never been implemented in practical networks and all 802.11ac APs are expected to run in mixed mode*.

The main differences between 802.11n and 802.11ac are the new, wider channels used. If an 802.11ac device started transmitting in 80 mhz, older 802.11 stations in the vicinity would not be able to recognize the transmissions or decode them. adding an 802.11n-like preamble solves this problem.

but the stipulation that 802.11ac operates only in the 5-ghz band, not at 2.4 ghz, makes it easier, as only 802.11a and 802.11n need to be accounted for as legacy, not 802.11b...

*802.11n and 802.11ac on the same channel with different channel bandwidths
[doublepost=1463173093][/doublepost]
Hi, that appears to be a misprint, as the web interface only shows 802.11 bgn, and no ac anywhere..... :(

Maybe my iPhone6 has AC, but I seriously doubt my 2011 MB Pro has any 802.11 ac
Probably a firmware issue!?
 

imorton

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 21, 2010
275
22
Mr Retrofire, thanks a lot for the info... Lots of things in there to consider.

For now, I have found that the Rocket Hub (LTE mobile internet) has a better signal when placed next to my Macbook, versus being on the other side of the room. Since it is so close to my MB, I decided to use the Ethernet port (Cat5e cable) to connect it directly to my laptop.

I imagine both will be fast & solid, the 802.11n & the Cat5e Ethernet connection.

IAN.
 
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joe-h2o

macrumors 6502a
Jun 24, 2012
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2.4 vs 5 GHz have pros and cons to each:

2.4 GHz:
+ longer range (longer wavelengths penetrate walls and obstacles better)
+ compatible with pretty much all Wifi devices
- crowded spectrum combined with long range means it is susceptible to interference from neighbours
- shares spectrum with other common wireless devices (cordless phones, microwaves etc) so can cause interference

5 GHz
+ higher bandwidth
+ less crowded spectrum, wider channels, no overlapping channels
- shorter range, and prone to blockage by walls etc
- not all devices have a 5 GHz radio (although most new stuff does)

For a consumer device at home I would suggest that you use the 5 GHz band if you can connect to it reliably. It has higher bandwidth than 2.4 and is less prone to interference. If your AP is a long way away though then there's no harm in using 2.4 GHz. Either of the two is likely to give you better speeds than your internet connection can manage, but 5Ghz will likely be faster for internal networking (although again, depending on your equipment, you might see better throughput between two wireless devices that are on different frequencies (i.e., one on 2.4 and one on 5) rather than both being on 5 GHz depending on the hardware in your router.

If your internet connection is 200 Mb or above and you want to be able to have the full bandwidth available consistently to your connected device then you likely want to use 5 GHz if possible since 2.4 GHz wifi is limited to 20 MHz wide channels (in practice, since going to 40 MHz wide will occupy over 80% of the spectrum and likely be impossible [and rude] to do in a home environment) so even in the best case scenario, you're looking at about 200 Mb throughput with a good signal if you have three spatial streams with no interference.
 

imorton

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 21, 2010
275
22
Thank you very much for the condensed Pros & Cons of 2.4 & 5 GHz

I can see that they are both usual and each one has their usage in "home networking"... :)

I wonder if my 100MB/s ethernet connection is a limiting factor versus using Wifi? I see that my Ethernet connection in networking is set to "automatically" chose the best configuration & speed.

Ian...
 

Howard2k

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Mar 10, 2016
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It's actually 100Mb/s, not 100MB/s, and yes it's a limiting factor quite possibly. In an uncontested wifi environment with 802.11ac you'll spank that 100Mb/s connection. But if you're Internet connection is only 10Mb/s then it doesn't matter too much.

I have a NAS at home which as a Gigabit connection to my 802.11ac router. But my home Internet access is only 40Mb/s down and 10Mb/s up. So the high speed is useful when transferring to and from the NAS, but if I'm transferring to the Internet then either wired or wifi are fine, since the Internet connection is the limiting factor.

It sounds like you have 802.11n? But I would identify the slowest connections you have and then determine where the traffic is flowing to and from.

Or just leave it, use wifi, it's easy. :) 5GHz if it works. 2.4GHz if not. If you are mostly just surfing the net then it's likely to be a wash.
 
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