Wi-Fi or Hard Wire?

AstroDrew

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 23, 2015
140
50
Bay Area
I was watching one of those early review of the ATV4 on youtube last night and the reviewer said that the new ATV4 would be better on the Wi-Fi connection than hardwired (ethernet). Is this true?

The reason I'm asking this because I'm planning to put the ATV4 in the master's bedroom because it's closer to the modem where I can hard wire it. But if it's true that Wi-Fi will have better performance then I'll put the new ATV in the living room and move my 3rd gen ATV in the bedroom.
 

CaptTCS

macrumors regular
Jan 13, 2013
106
72
Bainbridge Island, WA
I have always hard-wired my Mac Mini (Media Server) and my ATV. Those two, my cable modem, Airport Extreme, Receiver/BluRay player, and big Surge Protector strip are all stored in my media cabinet. Very convenient.

Just 1 Power wire & 1 Coax going in and HDMI & Power for TV coming out. Vey clean.
 

April Knight

Suspended
Jul 24, 2011
345
138
Olympia, WA
I just so happen to run a wire to my entertainment center for my PS4 and Wii anyways, so I'll go with wired. But honestly, if you have a decent Wi-Fi router with ac, and your ATV4 gets a good signal in your home, it's just as good (practically speaking).
 

Kaspin

macrumors member
Jan 15, 2015
72
31
Theoretically speaking, the 802.11ac WiFi has more potential available bandwidth than the 100BaseT ethernet connection.
Practically speaking, the video streams are probably only 35-40mbps and you'll never "max out" either connection. In general, ethernet tends to be more reliable overall.
 

Grumpyman

macrumors regular
Dec 28, 2013
101
44
I have one hard wired and one on wifi. the one on wifi is upstairs and much further from the router.
dont notice a difference at all between them.
 
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Rigby

macrumors 601
Aug 5, 2008
4,737
3,684
San Jose, CA
I was watching one of those early review of the ATV4 on youtube last night and the reviewer said that the new ATV4 would be better on the Wi-Fi connection than hardwired (ethernet). Is this true?
No. What the reviewer probably meant is that the 802.11ac Wifi radio in the ATV4 can theoretically achieve higher bandwidth than the 10/100 Ethernet port. But (1) that is only true under ideal circumstances (i.e. low interference and good signal strength), and (2) the Ethernet bandwidth is more than enough for any video content the ATV can stream.

In practice, you are often better off using Ethernet because it cannot be affected by radio interference. But if you have good Wifi reception, both work equally well for what the ATV can do.
 

whodatrr

macrumors 6502a
Jan 12, 2004
672
490
We have several ATVs floating around, both wifi and wireless. both perform just fine.

However, if you have one close to a microwave oven or something else that provides interference, wired is better. It's not a huge issue as ATVs tend to buffer anyhow.
 

AstroDrew

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 23, 2015
140
50
Bay Area
I actually watched this youtube review

Check around 3:35 where he mentioned that because the ATV4 retained the 10/100 ethernet port that the unless you have gigabit connection wifi will be faster....to be honest I'm kind of confused on what he said.
 

timmahh

macrumors newbie
Jul 8, 2015
21
13
Los Angeles, California
I actually watched this youtube review

Check around 3:35 where he mentioned that because the ATV4 retained the 10/100 ethernet port that the unless you have gigabit connection wifi will be faster....to be honest I'm kind of confused on what he said.

Wired Ethernet on the ATV4 can achieve speeds up to 100 MBPS (though due to network overhead, it will never actually achieve 100 MBPS throughput). If your router has gigabit ports, it won't matter, because the ATV4 can only hit 100 still. Wireless AC, however, can range anywhere from 150mbps up to >2GBPS depending on the spec of and the frequency of the WiFi network (2.4 or 5 GHz). Wireless AC has significantly more bandwidth available to it, assuming your local WiFi network isn't complete crap due to other networks in your neighborhood competing with yours. This is great for local streaming and performance, i.e. MacBook airplay to ATV.

The real bottle neck is going to be encountered for people when they go from their router to their DSL or Cable modem. A lot of modems still have a 10/100 port as well, if your internet speed is >100 MBPS, then having a 100 mbps cap on your modem port is obviously a problem. You'd want to ensure you are using a modem that is certified with your provider and gives you the fastest speed to the router, and that your router gives you the fast speed to your devices, i.e. everything is gig for hardwire and AC on wireless.

On 720/1080 content things should be fine (I have an ATV2 hardwired and it's fine), the hardwire route may be a slow down for 4k content, but... hey that's not an issue! :)
 

AstroDrew

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 23, 2015
140
50
Bay Area
Wired Ethernet on the ATV4 can achieve speeds up to 100 MBPS (though due to network overhead, it will never actually achieve 100 MBPS throughput). If your router has gigabit ports, it won't matter, because the ATV4 can only hit 100 still. Wireless AC, however, can range anywhere from 150mbps up to >2GBPS depending on the spec of and the frequency of the WiFi network (2.4 or 5 GHz). Wireless AC has significantly more bandwidth available to it, assuming your local WiFi network isn't complete crap due to other networks in your neighborhood competing with yours. This is great for local streaming and performance, i.e. MacBook airplay to ATV.

The real bottle neck is going to be encountered for people when they go from their router to their DSL or Cable modem. A lot of modems still have a 10/100 port as well, if your internet speed is >100 MBPS, then having a 100 mbps cap on your modem port is obviously a problem. You'd want to ensure you are using a modem that is certified with your provider and gives you the fastest speed to the router, and that your router gives you the fast speed to your devices, i.e. everything is gig for hardwire and AC on wireless.

On 720/1080 content things should be fine (I have an ATV2 hardwired and it's fine), the hardwire route may be a slow down for 4k content, but... hey that's not an issue! :)
That totally make sense, thank you for explaining that.
 

CaptTCS

macrumors regular
Jan 13, 2013
106
72
Bainbridge Island, WA
I also feel that, if I'm also going to be using the WiFi for other devices (Phones, Macbooks, etc.), that hard-wiring the Apple TV will ensure that there won't be any video streaming issues while I'm using the WiFi for other devices. After all.. WiFi might be better than Ethernet, when your just connecting one device... But how is it, when you are also connecting 2 iPhones and 2 MacBooks?
 

timmahh

macrumors newbie
Jul 8, 2015
21
13
Los Angeles, California
I also feel that, if I'm also going to be using the WiFi for other devices (Phones, Macbooks, etc.), that hard-wiring the Apple TV will ensure that there won't be any video streaming issues while I'm using the WiFi for other devices. After all.. WiFi might be better than Ethernet, when your just connecting one device... But how is it, when you are also connecting 2 iPhones and 2 MacBooks?
Depends on your WiFi network. If you're on an older network, i.e. 54mbps Wireless G, you may use enough bandwidth with all of your devices active (i.e., both iPhones, both Mac books, and an ATV are all streaming or pulling down a decent chunk of data). If that's not the case - and typically it's not, it'll probably be totally fine, and again, local streaming (AirPlay) will get more bandwidth over AC.
 

aesc80

macrumors 6502
Mar 24, 2015
404
341
I also feel that, if I'm also going to be using the WiFi for other devices (Phones, Macbooks, etc.), that hard-wiring the Apple TV will ensure that there won't be any video streaming issues while I'm using the WiFi for other devices. After all.. WiFi might be better than Ethernet, when your just connecting one device... But how is it, when you are also connecting 2 iPhones and 2 MacBooks?
It's not so bad. When you consider that the "pipeline" for 802.11ac is in the gigs, a share is simply taken from it. Having an 802.11ac Wifi simply means your bottleneck is now, for certain, your broadband carrier.

For example, I've been running a Netgear 802.11ac router, along with 5 other devices. 4 of them are AC capable. By running 2 "speedtest" connections, I can see that it retains my bandwidth from my broadband carrier. If I attempt 3, then I start to see competition. Its not within my network, but with trying to request data from my broadband carrier. You'll be fine, so long as all the devices aren't requesting data all at once.
 

Rigby

macrumors 601
Aug 5, 2008
4,737
3,684
San Jose, CA
On 720/1080 content things should be fine (I have an ATV2 hardwired and it's fine), the hardwire route may be a slow down for 4k content, but... hey that's not an issue! :)
Not even streamed 4K content comes anywhere near the limits of 10/100 Ethernet. For example, Netflix streams UHD at ~15 Mbps. That's why the new Fire TV and Roku 4 also have 10/100 ports even though they support 4K.
 
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Rigby

macrumors 601
Aug 5, 2008
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San Jose, CA
Having an 802.11ac Wifi simply means your bottleneck is now, for certain, your broadband carrier.
The real bottleneck are the streaming providers. ;) And as far as local streaming is concerned, not even Blu-ray has bitrates anywhere near 100Mbps. So while higher bandwidth may shorten the initial buffering by a few seconds, the Ethernet port is more than fast enough for sustained streaming of any content that might be relevant for the ATV.
 
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TurboPGT!

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Sep 25, 2015
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I have 300 Mbps Internet. I wonder if the Ac would be faster downloading apps.
The max size app allowed on the tvOS App Store is currently 200 MB. At those speeds, theoretically the largest App on the store would download in 5 seconds.

If you hardwired and got "only" 100 Mbps, you're looking at 15 second.

I think you'll survive either way. Neither is going to better or worse for streaming, not by a long shot.

This assumes your WiFi network is well configured.
 

mattopotamus

macrumors G5
Jun 12, 2012
13,219
3,351
Well damn. I have a GBPS internet and was going to hardwire. Granted a constant 100 is fine with me.
 

IHelpId10t5

macrumors 6502
Nov 28, 2014
477
314
Wired Ethernet unless you have a modern 802.11ac router, to 100Mbps Internet connection, and your router is in the same room as your ATV, and you live far from neighbors and any possible WiFi interference.

WiFi has too many variables, wired Ethernet is fast and reliable.
 

southerndoc

macrumors 65816
May 15, 2006
1,078
59
USA
I don't think WiFi can come close to the low latency of a hardwired connection. If you have several AppleTV's or other WiFi devices, your transmission speeds may be significantly less than ideal.
 

ZackVLion

macrumors member
Jul 25, 2002
32
23
One thing not mentioned yet in favor of ethernet is you don't have to deal with inputting your wifi password or network name or anything. you literally just plug it in and it works. One less thing to deal with....one less thing to go wrong.
 
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