Will MBP 16" 2019 with Wifi 6 dongle performs equally well?

hajime

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jul 23, 2007
5,883
812
Hi, some people mentioned that Apple does not include the latest Wifi 6 in the MBP 16" 2019. If we add a Wifi 6 dongle to the laptop (perhaps usb-c based wifi6 dongle?), will it perform equally well as laptops with wifi 6 buit-in? Not sure if there will be problem with a lack of driver under MacOS, Windows and Linux. Actually, is the increased performance of Wifi 6 noticable?
 

VineRider

macrumors 6502
May 24, 2018
401
257
It all depends....if you are somewhere in public (coffee shop etc.) that has limited bandwidth, then it won't help you. If you are in a business environment that has wifi 6 infrastructure and you are transferring data back and forth on their network, it might help. I think for most people right now, it is not a big factor.
 

Howard2k

macrumors 68030
Mar 10, 2016
2,874
2,099
I would expect it to be slower than the built in Wifi 5, but it will depend on the specifications of the specific adaptor.

I certainly wouldn’t assume any significant performance gains. But if you’re asking the question, maybe you don’t need the performance gains anyway.

Is there a specific adaptor you’re thinking about?
 

Ryan P

macrumors regular
Aug 6, 2010
201
56
I think with good Wifi, the upgrade to WiFi 6 would not be noticeable. I have gigabit internet and plugging my 2016 AC MacBook directly into the router gets me 940 Mbps a and 10ms ping. Using it with my Linksys Velop Wifi 6 router gets me 660 Mbps and a 11ms ping.

Could I tell you which is which in a blind test....no.
 

MikhailT

macrumors 601
Nov 12, 2007
4,378
929
You must have a Wi-Fi 6 access point to see any improvements over Wi-fi 5 (802.11ac) and the dongle itself needs to have enough antennas to take advantage of all of the available speed.

Part of the reasons Wi-Fi 6 is much faster is MIMO support but if you get a Wi-Fi 6 adapter with just 1 or 2 antenna, I doubt it'll be faster than Wi-Fi 5 built-in with more antennas like 3x3 in Apple's laptops. I don't know if they're using 4x4 at all in latest 16" rMBP, I presume they're the same as before, 3x3. Check this article out on why 3x3 MIMO does make a difference: https://www.custompcreview.com/reviews/testing-apple-macbook-pro-touchbar-wi-fi-3x3-mimo-make-difference/

I had a D-link 3x3 MIMO 802x11ac adapter for my 2012 laptop that had 2x2 802.11n and I honestly gave up carrying the dlink because it was chunky and PITA to remember to bring with the laptop. I don't see that much of a difference to justify it.
 

hajime

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jul 23, 2007
5,883
812
I would expect it to be slower than the built in Wifi 5, but it will depend on the specifications of the specific adaptor.

I certainly wouldn’t assume any significant performance gains. But if you’re asking the question, maybe you don’t need the performance gains anyway.

Is there a specific adaptor you’re thinking about?

No specific adaptor. Somebody just mentioned that maybe within 6-9 months, Apple would update the MBP 16" with new CPU that supports wifi 6. I guess if I wait then I will wait forever.
 

jerryk

macrumors 603
Nov 3, 2011
5,452
2,714
SF Bay Area
Remember that it takes both sides supporting 802.11ax to take advantages of it's features. So having a dongle only does you any good if the Access Points you are connecting to support it. And right now there are only a few. In the next few years more will come, but in commercial venues they will need to budget and allocate funds for such an upgrade.
 

hajime

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jul 23, 2007
5,883
812
Remember that it takes both sides supporting 802.11ax to take advantages of it's features. So having a dongle only does you any good if the Access Points you are connecting to support it. And right now there are only a few. In the next few years more will come, but in commercial venues they will need to budget and allocate funds for such an upgrade.
By that time, Apple might have redesigned the MBP and I might be changing a new laptop.
 

Howard2k

macrumors 68030
Mar 10, 2016
2,874
2,099
Your 802.11ac clients will benefit from sitting in an 801.11ax infrastructure, as long as there are other wireless devices running 802.11ax.

Certainly it would be great if it had Wifi 6, but Apple did a particularly strong wifi deployment on the MBPros (aside from the 13" 1.4) and so the gap to Wifi 6 is not as great as it might be with some other vendors. If you're going from a 2019 1.4 13" to a 2020 13" with 802.11ax the gap is larger. But even then, the 2019 1.4 13" will still benefit from being in an 802.11ax network, even without running 802.11ax itself, as long as other devices are running 802.11ax (iPhone, iPad etc.).

Wifi 6 is high up on my list because I use a NAS at home for local storage, so Wifi is a key component in my overall workflow velocity, but at the same time my Internet access is only 40Mb/s, so when I'm surfing the net Wifi 6 really brings little advantage.

If your main usage is surfing the net and if you're not running a Gigabit link to the Internet the benefits of Wifi 6 are not huge. Nice to have, but not huge.
 

Zenter009

macrumors newbie
Feb 10, 2020
3
0
The MacBook Pro 16" that I received has consistently 30% slower WiFi speeds than my 2015 and 2017 MacBook Pros, and is about 20% slower than my iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone XS.

I really like this machine, but am considering a return because the download speeds are very disappointing. I have fiber Internet (1,000 mb/s) and I'm used to 600-750 mb/s over wifi with my other MacBooks and this 16" MacBook Pro only gets between 320-475 mb/s. This is the opposite of future-proofing and I spent more than $4k. I'm hoping it is just a bug or software/firmware issue. I hate spending hours with Apple Support, especially when they don't fix the problem.

At this point, I think they used a cheaper hardware WiFi component in the 16", since the older MacBooks run fine and much faster.
 

thorr18

macrumors newbie
Feb 14, 2020
2
0
The simple answer is YES. The USB/Thunderbolt bus is more than sufficient to the task of running an 802.11ax adapter and it's easier than replacing the internal Airport Extreme card. I like using ax networks much better.