WiFi on an Apple Mac vs an iPad Air 2

carlcaulkett

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 13, 2017
27
18
London, England
  • Apple Mac Pro (early 2009) 4,1->5,1
  • macOS 10.14.4 (thanks to DosDude1)
  • DLink DWA 131 USB WiFi dongle
  • DWA-131_REVE_DRIVER_v5.0.5.B8_MAC driver
  • iPad Air 2
  • iOS 12.2
Hello, I have tried a broadband test site https://www.broadbandspeedchecker.co.uk with my Mac Pro after changing to a new broadband provider. The broadband in question has a guaranteed 70Mbps download speed, but on my Mac Pro, I am only getting 6.33Mbps Down and 10.81Mbps Up. However, if I access exactly the same broadband test site with my iPad Air 2 device, I'm seeing 40.55Mbps Down and 18.01Mbps Up.

Can anyone explain why there is such a performance difference between the two devices?
I have the option of upgrading the DLink USB driver to v5.0.8, but although I would like to get improved performance, I am wary of upsetting a working driver.

The sub-standard performance of the Broadband provider is a separate issue which I will be pursuing tomorrow morning.

Thoughts, anyone?
 

Howard2k

macrumors 68030
Mar 10, 2016
2,538
1,818
Your usb wifi is a single antenna I suspect. Your iPad is at least a two, probably three antenna system.

What does option-click on the wifi icon on the Mac show?

(A quick google of the 131 shows this image pretty quickly)
 

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carlcaulkett

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 13, 2017
27
18
London, England
Thanks for the reply @Howard2k! Your explanation makes sense. On macOS 10.14.4, at least, pressing option doesn't seem to make any difference to the information visible from the wifi icon.
 

Tech198

macrumors G5
Mar 21, 2011
13,944
1,636
Australia, Perth
except ipads usually fall short than what Macs do...

eg in my test anyway, Macs have stronger antennas than iPad, which is why signal will be maintained over longer distances.. where as iPad/iPhone Wi-Fi connected tends to fall off sooner.

Directly from Apple Live chat.
 

carlcaulkett

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 13, 2017
27
18
London, England
except ipads usually fall short than what Macs do...

eg in my test anyway, Macs have stronger antennas than iPad, which is why signal will be maintained over longer distances.. where as iPad/iPhone Wi-Fi connected tends to fall off sooner.

Directly from Apple Live chat.
Don't forget that, as mentioned, my Mac Pro is an early 2009 model, and doesn't have built-in WiFi at all!
 

Howard2k

macrumors 68030
Mar 10, 2016
2,538
1,818
Thanks for the reply @Howard2k! Your explanation makes sense. On macOS 10.14.4, at least, pressing option doesn't seem to make any difference to the information visible from the wifi icon.
It certainly works in 10.14.4. Maybe it's a driver issue where it's not disclosing the information.

Just to be clear though, and not to insult your intelligence, but you're holding the Option button down and then clicking the wifi icon while the option button is being held down right? Not pressing and releasing the option button and then clicking?

This is what I see if I click the wifi icon:

Screen Shot 2019-06-20 at 9.28.59 AM.png



And if I option-click, I get this additional information:

Screen Shot 2019-06-19 at 12.18.31 PM.png
 

carlcaulkett

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 13, 2017
27
18
London, England
It certainly works in 10.14.4. Maybe it's a driver issue where it's not disclosing the information.

Just to be clear though, and not to insult your intelligence, but you're holding the Option button down and then clicking the wifi icon while the option button is being held down right? Not pressing and releasing the option button and then clicking?
Don't worry, I don't feel in the least bit insulted, but thanks for checking! No, it's weird, I'm using the option key in the usual way but it just doesn't seem to work here. I'm sure it used to, within the last two years. Maybe some other software is grabbing the keystrokes - I've disabled Keyboard Maestro and Total Finder, both likely culprits, but it doesn't make any difference. I'll just keep on trawling Duck Duck Go and see if I can find out how to get this option working again...
 

carlcaulkett

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 13, 2017
27
18
London, England
Things have gotten even stranger with regard to the WiFi icon. After making some changes to my Wireless Router, the WiFi icon on my Mac has disappeared altogether, although the WiFi connection is still active. Also, the checkbox in the Network section of System Preferences for my connection, that. should say "Show WiFi Status in Menu Bar", has disappeared...

Screenshot 2019-06-20 at 20.32.06.png
 

carlcaulkett

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 13, 2017
27
18
London, England
I ended up getting a telephone engineer to install a phone socket in my room, meaning that I have relocated the Router and am now connecting to it using Ethernet rather than WiFi. 74Mbps isn't too bad a download speed
 

Ludacrisvp

macrumors 6502
May 14, 2008
332
121
USB WiFi adapters don’t have access to the native driver stack which means they don’t show up in the WiFi area. They have to be hacked in to be usable. They are essentially emulating a wired connection rather than being truly wireless. Performance from such a device will always be terrible in comparison to basically any other form of WiFi or Ethernet.

Note that while *your* Mac Pro didn’t come with WiFi it’s not because it wasn’t supported it is because you didn’t want to pay for it. When new I’m pretty sure adding WiFi and BT to the 3,1 was less than $50. I would suspect the price was similar for the 4,1/5,1. Either way there is a mini pcie slot for WiFi in the Mac Pro and you could upgrade to AC WiFi and BT 4 using an adapter card for the BCM94360CD cars used in an iMac.