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Will my Mac Mini connect to the web with any loss of speed....

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by The Pontificator, Aug 22, 2008.

  1. The Pontificator

    The Pontificator Angry Samoan

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    Sep 18, 2000
    Grumpyville
    by taking it off the ethernet connection (cable) and switching it to wireless? The mini has a b/g wireless card and not "N".

    I did a speed test with my ISP and here are the present cable/ethernet speeds:

    Download: 3945kbps
    Upload: 360kbps

    So, what should I do? Keep the mini on a wired LAN or switch over to wireless G?

    The reason I'm asking is this: I have a choice of 2 wireless routers: an Apple Airport Express and a Linksys "G" band wireless router. If I use the Apple router, both the mini and the laptop will be wireless. If I use the Linksys, I can keep my direct ethernet connection on the Mac Mini desktop.
     
  2. There is a third party Draft-N wifi card that goes INSIDE the Mac Mini but it's a bit pricey. It replaces the current internal wifi card. Being a desktop model and not a laptop if you can run ethernet wire to it that would be the best connection for the Mac Mini. Wifi is good if the location in the house is difficult to run cable or if using a laptop.
     


  3. The Pontificator

    The Pontificator Angry Samoan

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    Sep 18, 2000
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    We'll pass on the draft "N" card for the mini.

    What I'm pushing for is this: I want to use my laptop (G band) at home wirelessly but not at the expense of slowing down my Mac Mini's present (Wired) connection speed. Thus the question about which router (Apple vs. Linksys) to use.
     
  4. It really shouldn't matter which router you use. I haven't used the Apple router. The cheapest Linksys wifi G router has very little memory which can cause some issues. There is a Linksys G wifi rouer with "GL" in the mofrl number. It has more memory but usually isn't available in stores, only mail order, it's worth the few dollars more and is much cheaper than the Apple router.
     
  5. The Pontificator

    The Pontificator Angry Samoan

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    I already own both routers: the Apple Express and the Linksys "G" (from Wal-mart).
     
  6. IndyGunFreak

    IndyGunFreak

    25,911
    1,144
    Jan 26, 2001
    Indiana
    I honestly don't think you'll see any difference, regardless of the router or A/B/G/N. That Linksys router you have, will probably be pretty easy to setup.

    IGF
     
  7. The Pontificator

    The Pontificator Angry Samoan

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    Sep 18, 2000
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    Here's the response of another GT'er (one of my other computer mentors) when asked if speed would be faster, slower, or the same:

    The same. Even the older, slower "B" was 11Mbps, which is faster than your
    cable modem. That's what most people don't understand. Wireless won't be
    faster or slower for internet access. It really only matters when you're
    moving files from one computer to another over a network. Network speeds
    between computer are either 10, 100, 1000 Mbps (usually 100 now, although
    1000 is becoming more common.) So if you're connected to a wired network
    copying a file from your desktop to laptop or vice versa could be running at
    100 or 1000 Mbps. Go wireless with "G" and you're getting a theoretical 54
    Mbps (actually usually much slower.)
     
  8. IndyGunFreak

    IndyGunFreak

    25,911
    1,144
    Jan 26, 2001
    Indiana
    yup...
     
  9. Deanster

    Deanster Cheese? Millennium Member CLM

    6,786
    1,076
    Feb 24, 1999
    This is correct. Your cable modem maxes at 3Mbps. Your wireless maxes at 11Mbps with 'b', and 54Mbps with 'g'. If you were just using 'b', you'd probably be right on the same real-world speed for both cable connection and wireless, which would be fine, and not create a significant slowdown.

    Using 'g', your real-world wireless is double or triple your cable-line speed.

    Nearly universally, your outside connection is the bottleneck, and enough so that almost nothing else matters. Only the folks who have FIOS have a fast enough connection to overwhelm even a crappy older wireless network.

    Now, for internal transfers, like copying your movies or music from one computer in the house to another, you'll notice a significant slowdown going to wireless. Not really an issue unless you're moving more than a few hundred megabytes, but worth mentioning.

    I run an older Mac mini exclusively on 'g' wireless, and my personal newer iMac on 'n', and both are fast enough to feel great for my impatient self.
     
  10. The Pontificator

    The Pontificator Angry Samoan

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    I just spoke with Roadrunner support and the tech rep told me that my present cable modem is compatible with their faster "Roadrunner Turbo" service with boosts the speed to 15mbps.
     
  11. Deanster

    Deanster Cheese? Millennium Member CLM

    6,786
    1,076
    Feb 24, 1999
    On a technical level, you'd want 'g' or 'n' for that speed connection.

    In reality, for a single user, it's pretty rare to make use of much more than 2 Mbps - most sites just aren't set up to serve at much faster rates. Even using the largest game distributors like Direct2Drive, who have you download a couple gigs of games, or Bittorrent, where you're getting multiple streams, I can only remember a time or two where my download speed went over 1 or 1.5 Mbps. Most servers just can't/won't serve content that fast.

    It's a different story if you have multiple simultaneous users, each of whom are using the resource heavily, but I don't think that's your issue.

    'g' is just fine for 99% of uses, even with a 10-15 Mbps connection. If you actually got something at 15 Mbps, you'll be right up against the likely real-world maximum of the 'g' protocol, but that's likely to be mighty rare.

    Long story short, 'g' is dandy. 'n' is faster, and nice for fast internal transfers, but I haven't seen a significant reason to look at upgrading ANY of my existing 'g' machines to 'n'.

    The only exception is that 'g' clients slow down 'n' networks, so it's potentially worth separating 'g' and 'n' traffic onto separate wireless routers. if you have both types on your network. Once again, that doesn't seem to be your problem.
     
  12. The Pontificator

    The Pontificator Angry Samoan

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    Nope. Just me and two machines: one Linux and one OS X Leopard.
     
  13. Detectorist

    Detectorist

    14,411
    3,592
    Jul 16, 2008
    Missouri
    Depends on a few factors: How far will the computer be from the wireless router, how much electronic interference is present, etc. Typically, hardwired is always faster.

    JWJ
    CCNA, MCSE
     
  14. crimsonaudio

    crimsonaudio 15 or 30?

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    Apr 11, 2008
    No reason the wifi of one will slow down the ethernet signal of the other.

    Worst case, if you measure a diff, is to set up both wireless routers - one for each.