Gigabit wifi isn't

Glenn Fleishman at Tidbits: "Apple’s implementation is technically capable of 1.3 Gbps. But as Apple notes at the bottom of the page, “Actual speeds will be lower.” I’ll say. In practice, I would wager that most home users and some business users will see only modest improvement in net throughput across their networks."


  1. It’s all a joke anyway because most people think these network speeds equate to internet speeds.  I’m constantly having to explain to clients that no that $100 router will not make your internet connection faster. 

    1. ^This. Not to mention the needless confusion between megabits and megabytes. Most home users have only the vaguest idea how fast their internet is and how much they are allowed to transfer per month, let alone what the average video/pdf/whatever file weighs. 

      Anyway… you want good home networking, run some cables, WiFi is okay but it’s too susceptible to environmental factors to really rely on.

      1. My measure is always: “What do you want to do? And will the network do it without driving you crazy?”

        802.11ac will likely make it more reliable to stream video at high-def (H.264 streams) around a house without stuttering. But most people don’t need gigabit speeds or they’d just install gigabit Ethernet. (I did!)

        1. 802.11g is fast enough in most cases to stream HD video without buffering. In fact even with the real world reduction of the 54Mb connection you can probably stream to HD streams reliably.  Even 1080p streams are well below 10Mbps today.

          1. The spec for blu-ray disks allows bitrates up to 54Mb/s(video and audio combined) so 802.11g isn’t going to cut it for streaming your gosh-no-officer-these-aren’t-BD-rips-that-would-be-illegal collection. N might, depending on signal quality and exactly what version of ‘N’ actually made it into the box.

    2. It’s all a joke anyway because most people think these network speeds equate to internet speeds.

      Weird, most people I know think this equates to faster wireless network file transfer speeds across their local devices (which it does). Then again, I’m probably hanging with a different crowd.

  2. WiFi never runs anywhere near it’s theoretical speed – we could get 45 Mbit/sec of theoretical 54 in the lab with two 802.11a nodes 4 inches apart in a Faraday cage with their antennas wired together. You could coax ~20 Mbps out of it in a good ‘normal’ setup, which is about half of the rated.  And 802.11n is pretty fast at this point – likely faster than your internet. Like the article says, the best thing you can improve is the coverage areas so your good enough speeds don’t go to complete crap.

  3. Why is Apple even mentioned? This is true for all gigabit connections. The rating is usually some kind of theoretical optimum, not an average or median speed. On the other hand, if you’ve ever done a big disk transfer over 100Mb ethernet versus 1Gb ethernet, you will notice a big difference in copy speed.

      1. Apple isn’t typically more or less frank than competitors, but it posted a chart on its site alongside its announcement showing 54 Mbps, 450 Mbps, and 1.3 Gbps. While G can get to 30 Mbps or faster, N rarely gets consistent rates of 50% of 450 Mbps, and AC is vastly unlikely to have anything about 150 to 200 Mbps as a consistent throughput.

  4. It takes two to tango. Your network is only as fast as the slowest link in the flow of traffic. I have 30 Mbs, but it seems like some websites load at kilobit speeds. Most websites limit individual connections.

  5. I’ve yet to get anywhere near the stated speed out of any form of networking technology…

      1. Reliably and repeatably? I can get close to 100 Mbps over mine in wired gigabit, 50 or so with wireless N. But that’s ok for my purposes. Not a lot of tuning options at the home user level (adjusting window sizes, jumbo frames, etc.).

        + 1000 to the comments that a faster home router has no impact on what your ISP provides.

    1.  We get 99.6% of theoretical out of our 10GbE cards. Of course those are expensive beasts with everything hardware offloaded and large frame support.

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