WiFi data transfer pitifully slow

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Deimo, Oct 25, 2006.

  1. Deimo macrumors member

    Apr 26, 2005
    I'm hoping to setup a network in my apartment using my G4 mini connected to external HDD's as the server. I finally got the external HDD to show up over the network via Appletalk and made a backup of my home folder on my MBP as a first test of the network speed. First a quick rundown of the hardware:

    Mac mini G4 1.25 GHz
    OSX 10.4.8
    1GB RAM
    250 GB G-Drive connected via FW400

    MBP 2.0GHz
    OSX 10.4.8
    2GB RAM

    Airport Express
    Firmware Version 6.3
    802.11g only

    Size of environment:
    20'x12' living room

    As far as I know, I'm operating in a 802.11g environment, but the speeds that i'd witnessed in the data transfer were barely over 1MB/s, when i'd expect something around 4x that. Is this simply the overhead of the system, or is there some other reason for this? The 48GB backup of my home folder via Backup took around 18 hours.

    I've tried to be as detailed as possible, but if anything's been left out, please ask :) Thank you!

    edit: added info on Airport Express
  2. GilGrissom macrumors 65816


    Mar 13, 2005
    So the 2 machines are in the same room?

    What does AirPort say the signal strength is?

    Can you do basic stuff like small file transfers and Bonjour chats ok?

    Are there any other wireless devices in the picture? Do you use a wireless access point or just an Ad-hoc link between the 2 Macs?

    First thoughts indicate a possible system overhead lag as opposed to wireless trouble, but not sure yet.
  3. Angrist macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2005
    MI or NJ
    I've also had trouble with transmission speeds over wireless, but I'm in an 802.11b environment.

    In my experience turning off the "interference robustness" will speed things up a bit. Playing with the multicast setting in the "wireless options" on your airport may also speed things up, but YMMV.

    When I do backups / large transfers, I just use a firewire cable from machine to machine.
  4. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus


    Mar 10, 2004
    Bergen, Norway
    That sounds suspiciously as B-speed... 48 GB over a G-link should, in real life, take somewhat over 4 hours (at roughly 25 Mbps)... and G should be ~5 times faster than B...
  5. Deimo thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 26, 2005
    24 wireless networks in range

    signal strength is 4 arcs

    it's a closed network with WPA2 encryption

    no interference robustness

    channel is set to auto-select

    with interference robustness turned on and the system forced to 802.11g (it wasn't set that way initially) i'm getting 1.5MB/s when copying a large file off the HDD of my MBP to the mini.

    As for Angrist's comment regarding just plugging it in, if that's the only answer and there's no way to increase the speed then i'll have to go down that road, but i'd much prefer to take advantage of the wireless capabilities of my computers.
  6. Deimo thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 26, 2005
    I tried mucking around with some other settings, the multicast rate was set to 11, so i upped it to 24 (the max setting)... what does that do anyway?

    Also, I tried copying a file to the HDD of the mini to make sure that there wasn't an inefficiency added to the equation by using an external device, same result.

    Any ideas?
  7. NJuul macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2006
    Not sure I can help you much, but I have a setup pretty much like that. A sawtooth with a firewire drive, connected to my mbp via airport express. I get a little over 3 megs per second in transfer, close to the ~25 mbps mentioned by Mitthrawnuruodo. Sounds like there's a bottleneck in your system somewhere...
  8. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    Try downloading and installing iStumbler. It will show you which channel those other networks that you're detecting are using. If yours is on the same channel as a lot of other ones, you may consider moving it to a different one.

    Also, this widget will show you specifically how fast you're connected to the network:

    There's been times where my connection was 4 bars, but only 11Mbps.. Moving around a few feet bumped it back up to 54Mbps.

    Are all of the devices connected to your WiFi network 802.11g? If you have even one 802.11b device connecting, it slows things down for everyone.

    I'm running a very similar setup at my place. I've never been impressed with the network speed copying to the mini I'm using as a server, but it's never been as slow as yours. :(
  9. benthewraith macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    Miami, FL
    How do you get to those settings? Just curious.

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