Is my new net connection too fast for wifi?

So a couple hours earlier this afternoon, it came to my attention that my ISP has rolled-out a service supporting something called DOCSIS 3.0, which means that if I drive down the street to the video store (they own those too) I could get a free modem upgrade and then start downloading at 50 Megabits per second, needless to say, as a data-junkie, I was thrilled.

Sure enough, the service works just as promised, I literally maxed-out the odometer thing :slight_smile:

I’ve just started testing my fancy new connection with my macbook air and I noticed that the speed is no-where near as high as on my wired desktops. So I’m thinking that unfortunately, it may be possible that my crazy new net connection is actually faster than the practical capabilities of 802.11n in my SMC wireless moderm model: SMCD3GN-RES. As an alternative, I do also own a recent-model apple time capsule.

So am I screwed? Is my 50Mbit/sec modem too fast for the current crop of 802.11n routers? To give you a sense of how much the speed dropped, I was able to reach a speed of ~ 6000 KB/sec via a wired connection, but only 2000 KB/sec via wireless :frowning:

How weird. 802.11n should definitely be (way more than) fast enough.

Do you have a USB->Ethernet adapter for your Mac to test with? I believe some of the later revisions come with the adapter, but otherwise you probably have to buy one. I wonder if it might something to do with the laptop, or its configuration, in particular.

ETA: Oh, it looks like the SMCD3GN-RES has an USB port. Can you plug your Mac directly into that to see if the speed’s any different?

The fastest network connections could be 300 Mbps for an 802.11n connection, but a lot of computers default to only 130-150. In actual practice, interference, multiple devices, signal loss, etc. can degrade the signal to anything below that (even 0).

My home network has a top speed of 55 Mbps, but I notice that going into the bedroom and closing the door drops it to 22. While that’s still faster than my Internet connection, it’s definitely noticeable if I’m doing work with files stored on the server.

keep in mind that both the SMC device and my time capsule are the Draft-N spec, rather than the only-recently finalized N spec, which if I’m not mistaken, means they’re significantly less capable.

I now have a 20Mb/sec download speed from my cable company. But I have never been able to get that thru my 4 year old Linksys router, wired or wireless.

I have been playing with this situation for a while, and suspect (but can’t be sure) that older routers may have a speed limitation that the manufacturer doesn’t want to admit. Dialogues with tech support in India has been frustrating but not conclusive.

Don’t forget that there are other bottlenecks in the pipeline that can affect your overall thruput, like CPUs, background tasks, etc. As one link in the pipeline gets faster, others that were previously fast enough may not be able to keep up.

one easy way to get to the bottom of this mystery: Has anyone ever used a comparably fast internet connection over Wifi?

Why not take the internet out of the equation and see what the transfer speeds are between the laptop (wireless) and the desktop (wired to the router)? If it’s a wireless issue, this should demonstrate it.