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Internet, Networking, and Wireless Discussion of networking, internet, and wireless including Apple's Airport products.

Real Quick Networking Question...


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TheCustomer99

 
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Ok, I have a Linksys WRT54G Wireless Router for my home network. Recently, I decided to race my two computers. In the left corner was my Dell E510 desktop with 512 MB RAM and an Intel Pentium 4 Processor. In the right corner was my Macbook with the 2.0 GHz intel core 2 duo and 2 GB RAM. The Macbook easily won the restart contest (the OSX desktop was back up before XP was even finished shutting down). The Macbook easily took the Opening Microsoft Word contest as well. However, when I had the IE vs. Safari contest they were basically equal with Safariloading a few faster than IE, a majority of the time both opened at the same page at the same time, and IE beating out Safari on two pages. Now, considering that the Mac is far more advanced than the Dell I had to wonder if the router played a role in the internet speed contest. Don't get me wrong, I love my router, it has given me quality speed and surprisingly long range but You see, my Dell was hardwired to my router and my Mac was working off the Wireless technology. I had to wonder what would happen if I wired them both. So my question is, do computers that are hardwired to a broadband router perform page loads faster than those working wirelessly? That may be a dumb question but I really don't know. If any of you can help me out that'd be greatly appreciated.

"Anecdotal thinking comes naturally, science requires training." - Michael Shermer
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eric

 
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i my experience wired has always been faster than wireless, even with very strong signal.

you could test this yourself. take your macbook and run the speedtest here:
www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/ while wireless.
then immediately after the test, connect with ethernet and try the same test location.

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RNDdave

 
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I don't know if there is a way to really 'test' the internet connection - too many variables.

Wireless is never going to be as fast as a wired network connection - well not yet at least. The wireless connection may have overheads like WEP or WPA security to take account of and the signal/speed is very much dependant on where you are in relation to the wireless router.

If you've already looked at any of the pages on either machine then depending on your settings some or all of it will be stored locally - another reason why one machine may have better results.

Following: Although a contributing factor - it prob isn't enough to make a noticeable difference
What you need to remember in terms of pages loading. if you hit enter or what ever on the PC just a fraction before you did on the mac then your router will be concentrating on that first request before realising both machines want to do something - the router would have realised in an extremely small amount of time that 2 machines wanted bandwidth and would have adjusted accordingly - but one possible reason to suggest a tiny difference in speed.

Once the page request has made it across the internet to the page you require that server will have started to send you the web page to the first machine that requested it. almost immediately another request comes in to serve that same page again (this would be more of an issue on a web page that ended with .php .jsp .asp) that server is under a tiny bit more stress for that second page request. I admit that these times would be absolutely minuscule and probably are not noticeable to most people - but may have contributed to your differing speeds.

A suggestion:
Use an online tool to work out your upload/download speeds something like:
ZDnet Speed Test
Think Broadband Speed Test
Testmy dual bandwidth speed test

You will still have a problem in that at any given moment any part of the network between you and your ISP and between them and the speed test there could be 'traffic' affecting the results so what you want to do is choose one of them and run it 3 times on the PC to get an average figure then 3 times on the mac to get an average figure - This is probably a fairer test of internet speed on each machine.

I notice eric has replied since I started my message as well (got carried away with something else), much like eric my personal experience has always shown wired networks to be faster than wireless - but not enough to to make me want to give up that portability advantages a wireless network offers - Oh and the advantage of not having wires everywhere.
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TheCustomer99

 
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Well you both were right about hardwire being faster than wireless. However, I found a considerable difference (10 kbps) in speed between running my Mac on battery vs. power adapter. Does your power supply play a role in your speed?

"Anecdotal thinking comes naturally, science requires training." - Michael Shermer
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