WiF or Ethernet cable, which is better?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by onthecouchagain, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. onthecouchagain macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

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    #1
    I have the option on my iMac to either use WiFi or the ethernet cable to connect. Is one or the other better?

    And what about just having both going? As in, ethernet cable plugged in along with WiFi on and connected. What would this do? Does the iMac give one or the other priority? Would this be a "solution" to solve the issues with WiFi not connecting right away from wake (when that happens, I'll still be connected via ethernet until the WiFi kicks back in, so to speak)? Or would trying to use both actually slow down my internet (especially if my router is connected to other things, like my Air or my PS3)? In other words, would using both ways sort of "hog" the bandwidth?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #2
    ethernet is typically gigabit and wireless is quite a bit slower. Rated at 300 Megabits per second which is the theoretical maximum speed (actually is quite a bit slower). I'd say go with the ethernet and turn off the wireless if you don't need it
     
  3. nydennis macrumors regular

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    Long Island, NY
    #3
    While I am a fan of wired connections I recently got AAC mini and for a week I used it wireless. The download speed on my optimum boost was only a tad less (if at all) then with my wired connection.
    Transferring my downloads to my NAS was slower with wireless and I did end up going back to wired.


    ---
    I am here: http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=40.921766,-73.030773
     
  4. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #4
    I always recommend Ethernet over WiFi when possible. Just as maflynn stated, Ethernet is a lot faster, plus it's more stable as well. If you have both connected at the same time OS X will use one over the other based on it's Service Order.

    So if Ethernet is above Wi-Fi in your network list, OS X will use the Ethernet as it's connection. OS X isn't going to use both at the same time, only one or the other, so you don't have to worry about it slowing anything down and whatnot.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #5
    I second what SandboxGeneral has said...

    Plus I'll add: You may not actually see much difference for internet usage since you may be limited by your connection speed from your house to the internet.

    If you have two or more Macs, connecting them via ethernet should be one of the fastest connections you can make, however if there is a router in between it will likely slow things down since most home routers can handle speeds of only 1/10 of what the Mac's ethernet ports can handle.

    Ethernet is way less sensitive to interference. WiFi signals can be disrupted by all sorts of other things, like other WiFi networks nearby. Ethernet is not.

    My desktop Mac is connected to the network by ethernet, and through a gigabit switch, to the router. I have an old Mac Mini also hardwired so I can transfer files fast.
     
  6. iMikeT macrumors 68020

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    #6
    Simple, if it's a desktop and doesn't move, like an iMac, go with the ethernet cable.
     
  7. onthecouchagain thread starter macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

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    Mar 29, 2011
    #7
    Thank you for all replies; helpful.

    One more question: There are times when my ethernet doesn't connect when I wake my iMac (Lion, 2011, base 21"), and what's weird is... it won't connect until after I toggle on/off my WiFi. It's bizarre, and after investigating, I think more to deal with Lion than it is my router/network connection (I can always fix by turning WiFi on/off).

    I'm basically giving my parents this iMac, and I don't want them to have to deal with toggling WiFi on/off when this issue arrises. So, since my Mac has ethernet set as priority, might leaving the WiFi on prevent the issue described above?
     
  8. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #8
    That is certainly a strange occurrence. Turning on/off WiFi really should have no affect on the Ethernet connection after waking from sleep.

    A few suggestions:

    • Ensure all connections are good
    • Test, if you can, the patch cables or swap them out
    • Ensure the ports are clean
    • Switch the cable to a different port on the router
    • Reload OS X as a last resort
     
  9. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

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    #9
    If you think about it. Wired? Constant connection. wifi, RT transmission over 100 metres( Okay I'm not good with the metric) cable up to and including.90 metres range booster may give an extra 60, maybe 70 .

    After that.........?
     
  10. actripxl macrumors 6502

    actripxl

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    #10
    Go with what is important to you, if its speed then wired would be your best option. For me being a single guy, I rather give up speed for all my devices and have my apartment looking "slick" for the ladies. In the end wires just destroy the flow of a room and I have them all hidden since women appreciate a nice looking place ;)
     
  11. Killa Aaron macrumors regular

    Killa Aaron

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    #11
    This is a common problem on OS X Lion, when waking from sleep it forgets it's connection and you have to manually reconnect it.
     
  12. mmomega macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

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    #12
    Are there any other WiFi SSID's stored under Network Preferences -> Advanced -> Preferred Networks ?
    My neighbor had this problem, after I removed all networks except for his own he said he hasn't had that problem again. Just a thought.
     
  13. mmomega macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

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    #13
    Back on topic tho, I have a fairly quick downstream and I ran speedtest.net and varying other testers on WiFi and Ethernet.
    2011 iMac connected Ethernet --- 92Mb/s
    2009 iMac connected WiFi 802.11n --- 92Mb/s @ 3ft away
    2010 MacBook Air WiFi 802.11n --- 85 Mb/s @ 30ft away through walls

    802.11n theoretical throughput is 300Mb/s. Even if you got real world speed of half that. You would need to have internet service over 150Mb/s before you could look towards your WiFi as slowing you down.
     
  14. Fry-man22 macrumors 6502

    Fry-man22

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    #14
    You are missing the point of the topic. We know the high order bit in an external network connection is the pipe to the internet, but a large part of the conversation here is in regards to local networks.

    If you want to stream 1080p video from say a mac mini to a PS3, do backups to a NAS device, or any other local file sharing then a Gigabit router and Cat 5e/6 is going to beat wireless. It will be an order of magnitude faster than most wireless setups.
     
  15. mmomega macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

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    #15
    Ha, I actually responded to the wrong topic, sorry. Was in a discussion earlier about downloading from the internet and which was better ethernet or WiFi.
    Having a , can't read night.
     
  16. heimbachae macrumors regular

    heimbachae

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  17. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #17
    wired is far more reliable. less drop outs etc.
     
  18. bvanlieu macrumors member

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    #18

    Those are not real world speeds on most typical topologies. Bandwidth will degrade quickly over distance, especially 5 Ghz spectrum. If you are talking about a wall drop in the same room and just saving running a cable around the room it can be good...but in other rooms not so much.

    Wireless has higher serialization and latency as well. Ping your GW with wifi and also with a wired E and compare. Wired will be 1ms or less and consistent. Wifi...no so much.

    Wired FTW.

    - b
     
  19. JoeG4 macrumors 68030

    JoeG4

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    #19
    If you only care about internet access and don't plan on doing computer<->computer or computer<->storage device transfers over your network, then you might as well stick with the wifi.. if not having that extra cable makes a difference for you. :)
     
  20. onthecouchagain thread starter macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

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    #20
  21. lc25 macrumors 6502

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    #21
    Wired all the way, never see the point in wireless on a desktop not exactly portable is it...
     
  22. yashi macrumors member

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    #22
    WiFi only if you're incredibly OCD about cables.
     
  23. Freyqq macrumors 68040

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    #23
    Wired is faster, but you will most likely only see a speed boast when sending files around or streaming on your local network. Internet speeds should be the same either way, unless you have ridiculously fast internet.
     
  24. btbrossard macrumors 6502a

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    Chicagoland
    #24
    Some of the Macs at work take up to 30 seconds to regain their network connections after sleep. The solution at work is just set them never to sleep...

    My iMac at home goes to sleep after 1 hour and I've never had a problem getting on the network right after it wakes back up.

    I wonder if certain routers are not playing nice with the iMac. I use an Airport Extreme.
     
  25. onthecouchagain thread starter macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

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    Mar 29, 2011
    #25
    Thanks.

    I recently updated my firmware for my router, so I am hoping that will resolve the issue. It'll take some time to see if it truly has gone away.

    Apparently, I'm not the only one having this exact problem. It takes similarly long (anywhere from 30-60 seconds sometimes) to regain connection via ethernet. It's bizarre, and I believe is very much Lion related, since I've never had this problem with my old PC.

    I'll update whether the firmware fixed it or not. I'm crossing my fingers.
     

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