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#1 2009-10-21 23:03:55

Registered: 2008-04-23
Posts: 349

Network Throughput: 802.11n vs. 100base-TX wired ethernet

Hello Everybody,

Recently, I've found that I'm commonly transfering large files from my desktop to may laptop, and I've been looking at the transfer speeds, I generally do all of my copies with scp, and it's approximately:

2.2 Mb/sec for transfers over wireless g
11.3 Mb/sec for transfers over 100base-TX wired ethernet

Wikipedia has a nice list of device bandwiths:

And according to this I'm actually very close to the theoretical max throughput for fast ethernet (11.6 MB/Sec), although I could be a little messed up becuase I always confuse Mib and Mib, but anyway, the point is I'm trying to figure out if it's worth it for me to buy a wireless-n router.  My desktop has a gigabit ethernet adapter onboard, but my laptop doesn't, it does, however, have an integrated broadcom draft-n wireless capable card.  Theoretically, according to Wikipedia, you can get throughput of up to 600 Mbit/Sec, which translates to 75 Mb/Sec but in practice, all I can find are routers that advertise rates up to 300 Mbit/Sec, which translates to 37.5 Mb/Sec (I assume), which is still much better then what I get via my wired connection now, but my current 802.11g connection falls significantly short of the theoretical maximum, and while this might be becuase my router isn't that great, it does leave me with doubts as to whether or not 802.11n actually performs as well as advertised.

So I was wondering if anybody using 802.11n could post their throughput for a large file transfer, via scp/sftp to give me some frame of reference as to whether or not I want to consider getting an 802.11n capable router.

I was also wondering about network latency, which I would suspect might be worse than for an encrypted wireless network vs. an un-encrypted wired network, though it doesn't actually seem to be that bad for me now w/ 802.11g vs. wired fast ethernet.  I think my issues are just bandwith issues; I do silly things like watch DVDs over XDMCP, the frame is un-acceptable over 802.11g, it's just acceptable over fast ethernet.  (playback stutters but infrequently enough that you can put up with it)  I'm pretty sure though, that my issue here is not latency but actual throughput.  (I could be wrong, though).  I've tried X11 tunneling via ssh as well, and that's un-acceptable whether I use the wired or wireless connection, so I presume that the added overhead of encryption is just enough to push the frame rate down to an unusable level.  I realize there are alternate software solutions available for streaming video and remote desktop login  (NXservers, VNC, streaming via VLC) and at some point I will probably try them, but I kind of want to settle the hardware question, anyway.

Anyways, thanks in advance for any input you can give.


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