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 fast.com 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
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.
- ArsTechnica on WiFi speeds – great explainer.
- Ookla (folks behind speediest.net) wrote a nice page, for those like me who now have a gigabit ‘net drop and want to get full speed out of it. More basic and router-focused, also talks about wifi.
- If you want to use QoS, read this. I’m not sure how my ER-4 would fare, but it seems probable that gigabit speeds require a hand-built x86 server to do QoS. The ER-Lite and ER-X have lesser limits. Not sure how much that I care at present.
- The Wirecutter has a typically excellent roundup.
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