Is AirPort a good substitute for Ethernet?
It occurred to me, that just as with USB, consumers have their minds boggled when they hear "AirPort wireless network runs at 11 megabits per second." What does that mean? And how does it compare to 10BaseT or 100BaseT Ethernet when it comes to "real world" file transfer speed?
LONGER BAR is FASTER.
Answer: No, Airport isn't that hot.
AirPort transfers files at only one-fifth the speed of 100BaseT Ethernet in the tests I conducted. It was one-half the speed of 10BaseT. That was an eye opener for my Mac Buddies who bought AirPort cards and hubs thinking they were at least equivalent to 10BaseT speed. Don't throw away your cabling just yet.
(See MacWorld's similar test.)
FLASH: If you have a PowerBook without an AirPort slot and you really want that AirPort capability, have I got a deal for you. Go visit the WaveLAN site. They have a PC card that's compatible with AirPort.
Ditto for any desktop Mac with PCI port. There's a PCI version of WaveLAN just for you. Remember, Lucent Technology invented this, not Apple.
Test Configurations & Procedures
A 27 megabyte document was copied from the "mother" Mac (a G4/400 Sawtooth) to an iBook (G3/300) via the "computer to computer" configuration. For the Ethernet tests, Category 5 cables were used via 100BaseT (DaynaSTAR FastHub-8) and 10BaseT (Farallon Ether10-T Starlet-8) hubs between the two machines. In each case, it was a disk to disk copy with disk cache set to 512K.
© 2000 Rob Art Morgan, editor of
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