Wireless vs. wired speed

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by zengirl, Nov 30, 2008.

  1. zengirl macrumors newbie

    Nov 30, 2008
    OK, I really have searched this & looked through pages of posts so please don't flame me if this seems like a lame question. I kind of have a feeling it's something that everyone just already knows but please humor me, I've been out of the loop!

    I just upgraded from an ancient completely wired PC to an imac. I'm trying to figure out if using wireless will slow down my connection? I just bought a 300N hawking router, which LOOKS fast & was kinda expensive.

    I have broadband that runs at up to 22/8 download/upload, (closer to 18/5 when I do tests, but that's another story) & watch a lot of streaming video. I LOVE my current speed & my new fast computer. If I put this router on another floor of my house, and my imac is running wireless instead of hooked into a cable, will it slow down?

    Thanks so much for any help you can give! :rolleyes:

    network utility says:
    Wireless Network Adapter (802.11 a/b/g/n)

    & the computer is:
    Model Name: iMac
    Model Identifier: iMac8,1
    Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
    Processor Speed: 2.8 GHz
    Number Of Processors: 1
    Total Number Of Cores: 2
    L2 Cache: 6 MB
    Memory: 2 GB
    Bus Speed: 1.07 GHz
    Boot ROM Version: IM81.00C1.B00
    SMC Version: 1.30f1

  2. jackiecanev2 macrumors 65816


    Jul 6, 2007
    It might slow down if you have really horrible signal, but otherwise you should be fine. N has fantastic range, and even the most basic routers far exceed the speed of your (and most all) cable download capabilities.

    That said, I prefer being plugged in directly for things like torrenting and whatnot. I tend to get better upload speeds, but its negligible.
  3. bigjnyc macrumors 603


    Apr 10, 2008
    wired is going to probably be faster but not so much that it becomes a dealbreaker for you. you can go to www.speedtest.net and run a test wired, then run a test wireless and see the difference for yourself.
  4. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Hawking? Their quality is much like that of AirLink. It's junk.

    However, fundamentally, wired is faster since you can theoretically achieve 1GB of speed via gigabit ethernet. But with wireless, you can get 300mb/s.
  5. zengirl thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 30, 2008
    I read reviews, but will admit that's a fallible system; I don't know how else to pick though not having much experience.

    & I can understand the 300mbs thing- but I guess I don't know how fast that is in relative terms, KWIM? It's like I know my broadband speed is kind of fast, but I don't know how much my speed actually slows things down when communicating, there are a lot of possible variables.

    I really like bigjnyc's idea, to do speed tests. I can run cable to it if I need to, it wouldn't be that huge of a deal. I just like the idea of using the abilities of my cool toy, & also the simplicity of less wires.

  6. nb705 macrumors newbie

    Jan 22, 2008
    Let's look at the figures. You're (presumably) the sole connecting user to the router. Wireless N has a theoretical 300mbps maximum (more likely to be 150-200mbps). GigE has a theoretical 1000mbps maximum (depending on implementation, it gets quite close to that).

    Your internet connection is 22mbps down and 8mbps up. You would need 10 ADSL lines to even consider saturating the wireless, and more than 50 to get near with GigE.

    So, in short, bandwidth wise, you don't lose anything by going wireless in your situation.

    Latency wise, you may find that rather than being able to ping your router in less than a millisecond, you may have to wait anything up to 25 milliseconds for a reply. If this stunning delay is too much for you, then get a load of cat6 and go wired.

    Interference wise, so long as you choose the correct channel in your neighbourhood, then you shouldn't have to worry too much about interference.

    And finally, with regards to security, since the finding of vulnerabilities in some types of WPA, ensure that you use WPA2 with AES encryption. But a wired network will always be more secure (even taking into account Tempest stuff).

    Hope this helps.
  7. zengirl thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 30, 2008
    Thanks nb705, that actually does help put it in perspective.

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