Gigabit internet, the WiFi link

So now that I’ve got “Gigabit” home Internet I’m doing reading about WiFi, because my WiFi tops out around 400ish megabits (45MB/sec) of usable throughput. While researching, I found more bandwidth-testing sites as linked above. The site is something Netflix made, which is a great idea since that’s there core business and they can refer customers there for a quick test. I don’t actually have 1.3gigabit, but it’s a flattering screenshot. 😉

On Wifi, I get

Screenshot 2018-09-16 10.08.50

That’s an Apple Airport Extreme (A1521) and MacBook Pro (Retina, 13″, early 2015, A1502) using 802.11ac, on a 5GHz/80MHz channel. From what I’ve read so far, maximum WiFi usable (ie HTTP) goodput is around 650Mbits, so I’m not far from best-case. Our house is around 1800 square feet, so a single access point provides great coverage, the issue right now is that a gigabit ‘net drop is just plain faster than the wifi you can buy right now. 😉 First world problems

The Airport Extreme is and has been an excellent choice. It does 3×3 MIMO, according to the wonderful Mactracker. From opening System Information/WiFi on the laptop, I appear to have the Broadcom BCM43xx. I know from the Ars Technica article that some MacBooks have the BCM94360CS with 3×3 MIMO; if I do that’d explain my good speed results.

One of the advantages gained by spending more on Apple hardware; it’s lasted well and is better engineered. I bought them in 2014 and 2015 respectively, so this is not new.


I’m going to hold fast and not buy anything for now. For my friend Tom, whose laptop is older, I’d recommend a ‘600Mbit USB AC WiFi’ off of Amazon for $15. The Airport Extreme was discontinued this year, but they can be found used easily and its 3×3 with 6 antennas really has been superb.

For gigabit in general, see my other posts – you really need to be thorough choosing modem, router and switch before you try to do WiFi.

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via Internet Speed Test |

By Paul Hubbard

Computer engineer from San Diego. Obsessed with hardware, software, timekeeping and elegance.

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