Wednesday, August 17, 2005

George's Macintosh Tips: a man after my own heart

These are his personal notes, made publicly available. All look interesting. A man after my own heart: George's Macintosh Tips.

His network assessment work is excellent. Note this surprising conclusion (which I think may be true for my home too):

The 802.11g standard supports data rates of up to 54 Mbits/sec. Again, the maximum achieved rates are usually half that. One would suppose that in normal usage, 802.11g would perform 5 times faster than 802.11b. However, my experience says that this isn't necessarily so. When dealing with my cable modem, 802.11g has worked WORSE for me than 802.11b.

Worse?? How can that be?? Both rates are much faster than my cable modem can support so that the wireless rate should not figure into internet related performance at all, however, it indeed does and in an unexpected way. I base my throughput data in this section on internet related speeds, not computer to computer speeds. Since we use relatively little computer to computer networking, getting the most out of the cable modem is the most important rate for us. If we have to move really large amounts of data, then we use firewire target disk mode instead which is 10 times faster than even 802.11g could promise.

Based on accumulated experience and a range of real world tests, I have concluded that, overall, the older standard of 802.11b actually works better than 802.11g in my particular network configuration and environment. Maybe 802.11g would work better with really strong signals, but at 2 and 3 bars on the Apple Airport menu bar icon, 802.11b produces consistently better data rates.

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