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MacBook Pro Tops Gigabit WiFi Speed Test

28 January 2014 283 views No Comment

On paper, the gigabit wifi (802.11ac) standard looks great — 1300Mbps of wicked fast wireless. Real world performance, however, is somewhat less than that

On paper, the gigabit wifi (aka 802.11ac) standard looks great — up to 1300 Mbps of screaming fast wireless. The reality, however, is somewhat less than the advertised. That said, though many products claim 802.11ac speeds, most deliver only a small piece of the theoretical maximum throughput.

In a test comparing five commercially available gigabit wifi compatible devices, Network World sought to find out just how big the gulf between the marketing spin and reality is. While Apple’s 2013 MacBook Pro came out on top, by a wide margin, it’s throughput performance was roughly only one-third of the advertised maximum (1.3Gbps).

gigabit-wifi-real-world-throughput

We ran throughput tests of each device at a distance of 25 feet from our access point with one wall in between. Our top performer was the MacBook Pro, which wasn’t a surprise since it has three streams, whereas the other devices only have one or two streams. The MacBook Pro delivered a maximum throughput of 463Mbps and an average of 318Mbps.

And, for what it’s worth, the iPhone 5, 5c and 5s — all are 802.11n devices — all deliver 100Mbps wifi performance, which really underscores the absurdity of feature inflation. Just adding “gigabit wifi” to the features list isn’t meaningful.

Obviously, not all 802.11ac “enabled” devices are equal. For example, a single stream device can only use the throughput available in that single stream and one of the big technical advances of the gigabit wifi standard is channel/stream binding, which is supposed to maximize throughput by utilizing multiple streams.

Alas, even though the MacBook Pro delivered the best average and burst throughput rates, it didn’t come close to the 1.3Gbps maximum data rate of the gigabit wifi standard — c’est la vie.

Are you getting better throughput than Network World with your gigabit wifi devices? Worse?

Your rants and raves please…

Reference: Wikipedia

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