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To Apple or not to Apple, that is the question...

dwelly

Standard Member
I need to make a decision this week on how best to set up my first ever home network - linking imac, macbook, PS3, Wii, (ipod touch?) As I don't want to spend a fortune, the decision is: to choose an Apple or non-Apple product. Which should it be?
 

gerbilly

Established Member
I need to make a decision this week on how best to set up my first ever home network - linking imac, macbook, PS3, Wii, (ipod touch?) As I don't want to spend a fortune, the decision is: to choose an Apple or non-Apple product. Which should it be?

get an airport express for about £70 quid.
 

Fizzoid

Established Member
I presume you'll want each piece of kit to have internet access, so I'd say it all depends on how you connect to the internet at the moment.
 

asimm

Established Member
If it helps I have a 500G Time Capsule and can very easily network between my iMac and UMBP. I also have a PS3 and it has no problems with the wifi connection and online gaming is a breeze.
I moved from a Netgear and the signal is stronger from the Time Capsule (IMO).
 

dwelly

Standard Member
I have broadband (wired) but intend going wireless asap. I've still not decided on an ISP but would like to sort all that stuff out this week.

As some ISPs give out free wireless routers I'd be looking to link that router up to the PS3, Wii and iPod and then the Macbook and iMac to my other base unit. Does that make sense?
 

Fizzoid

Established Member
As some ISPs give out free wireless routers I'd be looking to link that router up to the PS3, Wii and iPod and then the Macbook and iMac to my other base unit. Does that make sense?
Yup, makes perfect sense :) Should work absolutely fine, although my friends Netgear router did need a firmware update to work with his PS3 with security enabled. Should you want to take advantage of wireless n on both Macs, you could get the Airport Express as suggested by gerbilly. Have one at home plugged in to the amp (and one of the Ethernet ports on the router), as being able to stream iTunes and also being able to control said iTunes via the Remote app on the iPhone is actually proving quite useful :thumbsup:
You can also plug a USB printer into the Express and share that over your network, although I've read it can be a bit choosy when it comes to which printer will work with it
 
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CamFire

Distinguished Member
If you're starting out on wireless at a budget but would not miss on the speeds capable on the iMac (?) and MacBook, then go to fleaBay and get a previous generation Airport Extreme Base Station for £60 or so.

Or post a wanted ad here.

You won't miss on the simultaneous dual-band feature available on the latest generation...yet.
 

asimm

Established Member
I have broadband (wired) but intend going wireless asap. I've still not decided on an ISP but would like to sort all that stuff out this week.

As some ISPs give out free wireless routers I'd be looking to link that router up to the PS3, Wii and iPod and then the Macbook and iMac to my other base unit. Does that make sense?

I am no expert on the range of this option but if you hook in the iMac and/or MacBook then they can act as routers. I suspect you would have to have them on though for this to work. I have used this option before with a Mobile Broadband dongle in my MBP acting as a router and giving others in the room wifi.
 

CamFire

Distinguished Member
I am no expert on the range of this option but if you hook in the iMac and/or MacBook then they can act as routers. I suspect you would have to have them on though for this to work. I have used this option before with a Mobile Broadband dongle in my MBP acting as a router and giving others in the room wifi.

I believe you're talking about Sharing of your Internet connection via Airport, Firewire, etc. This setup works best in a temporary situation.
 

dwelly

Standard Member
I saw an Extreme 802.11n, model A1143, on ebay with the following message: "Please note that this box does not have 2 radios and will either operate at 2.4ghz or 5ghz but not at the same time - you must choose which frequency" . Can someone please explain what this means? Thanks.
 

CamFire

Distinguished Member
Essentially this means that the A1143 AEBS is capable of generating a single wireless network at 802.11g frequencies (2.4GHz) *OR* 802.11a frequencies (5GHz). Do ask if the AEBS is a gigabit ethernet port version - it is the later version, though perhaps the 100Mbps version is probably good enough if it is cheap.

The current A1301 AEBS is capable of generating TWO wireless networks - one at 802.11g frequencies and the other at 802.11a frequencies. This means that your wireless-N capable iMac and Macbook can use the 802.11a-frequency network while your PS3 and Wii stay on the 802.11g-frequency network.

This latter point matters because - as noted in 802.11g trying to be 802.11b-compatible - if a slower connection is made by a device, then the entire network slows down to match the slowest device. Not a good idea if you want streaming media to your Macs and suddenly deteriorate due to your PS3 (say) joining in.
 

Fizzoid

Established Member
You can select the 5Ghz mode, which means you're going to get less interference from other peoples wireless and other equipment as that uses the 2.4Ghz range, but it only supports wireless n, so for example you're PS3 won't connect as that won't support n.
 

CamFire

Distinguished Member
One has to be careful here in assuming that the 5GHz channel provides a better overall link connection, when the 2.4GHz can actually provide a higher performance at times.

I know because selecting the 5GHz channel resulted in a Mac connecting at over 200Mbps while the other upstairs at less than 70Mbps. Changing to 2.4GHz resulted in both at over 130Mbps. I have carefully scrutinised the allocated channels around the neighbourhood with iStumbler.
 

wildy01

Established Member
I have had netgear and buffalo and found them ok but on occasion temperamental.

I then went for the airport extreme and have found it faultless and very easy to set up.

You can also always add a HD to the usb port on the extreme for external storage or a printer for wireless printing ( or both with a powered hub)
 

dwelly

Standard Member
Thanks guys. This older model (how old I don't know) might suit my needs although I'm not familiar enough with it to judge properly. What kind of price would this sell for second hand? Is it worth biding for the newer model or will this older model suffice as a starter for ten?
 

CamFire

Distinguished Member
For the A1143 with gigabit ethernet ports, my max offer is £55 (one was sold here on the classified ads for £50); the model prior, £40.

If you know where to get the A1301 for less than £100, pls let me know...:smashin:

By "a starter of ten", do you mean a ten wireless clients/connections? If so, you'll need the A1301.
 
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Fizzoid

Established Member
Thanks guys. This older model (how old I don't know) might suit my needs although I'm not familiar enough with it to judge properly. What kind of price would this sell for second hand? Is it worth biding for the newer model or will this older model suffice as a starter for ten?
Not sure about second hand Extremes but a brand new Express is only £65 if you don't need the extra features
 

dwelly

Standard Member
By "a starter of ten", do you mean a ten wireless clients/connections? If so, you'll need the A1301.

No, just an expression I use - sorry for any confusion but it's nothing to do with the number of people to be connected :)

What I should have said was: is the older version ok for what I need, that is, wirelessly to link an iMac, macbook, PS3, Wii, iPod touch?

As a matter of interest how many previous models have there been? Does anyone have a list?
 

Fizzoid

Established Member
If you're not bothered about the wireless n speeds, AirTunes or wireless printing, just stick with your wireless router.
 

dwelly

Standard Member
I'm not bothered about wireless printing or Airtunes. I'd like to understand the difference between g and n speeds although logic tells me n ought to be faster - maybe someone can tell me what the real difference is. I assume both Extreme and Express will work well in a fairly big house, upstairs through stone walls?
 

CamFire

Distinguished Member
I'm not bothered about wireless printing or Airtunes. I'd like to understand the difference between g and n speeds although logic tells me n ought to be faster - maybe someone can tell me what the real difference is. I assume both Extreme and Express will work well in a fairly big house, upstairs through stone walls?

Speed-wise, the difference is significant. 802.11g runs at 54Mbps peak, but the real throughput is around 30Mbps. Split this between two or more wireless clients (in your case, the iMac and MacBook) and you'll notice longer pauses between web page re-loads. With 802.11n, I get 130Mbps (theoretical peak of 300Mbps) for two Macs, with TimeMachine backups, network printing, videoconferencing with Skype, etc., and it appears as if the Mac gets the entire network to itself.

The AExpress is not as effective in achieving the range you want. Stick with the AEBS.
 

CamFire

Distinguished Member
On another note: you can always get a 802.11g wireless router cheaply for £20 or so and then take a crash course on the intracies of networking - DHCP, MAC filtering, static IP, web configuration, etc. - and while hunting fleaBay for a bargain AEBS A1301. Think I've spotted a real bargain there ;).

In the meantime, see how davemulheran gets on with his new AEBS A1301.
 

Chester

Prominent Member
I've read that 5GHz has a problem with physical contention compared to 2.4GHz. That is to say with a concrete, stone, or double brick wall in the way, 2.4GHz will still get through door ways and as long as positioning of the access point is OK, you'll still get some signal to/from wireless clients. 5GHz is not as forgiving.

Apparently 5GHz has a further broadcast radius in an open environment, as in without physical contention. So this can make the choice on configuration confusing, and especially when considering purchasing an 802.11n access point and client devices, and investigating physical planning and locating. Trial and error (without complex site survey equipment) is probably the best approach. If you're getting the kind of performance you want on 802.11g, I'd probably advise to stick with it.

For reference, my Time Capsule is in mixed mode. I've seen 110Mb on the MacBook my better half uses. She thinks the performance is great, and its user perception that's important. My iMac is on 1Gb Ethernet, and my PS3 is on Ethernet as well (this helps to keep Ping rates at a minimum). My Wii uses 802.11g and seems fine, even though the access point is two rooms away.


The one big draw back with Apple Airport is that there are no external 'F' type connectors to attach hi-gain or directional aerials. If you find your signal strength drops or you have black spots or no coverage areas in your house, the best bet is to choose an access point where you can attach hi-gain aerials, and MIMO access points and routers can help further by allowing you to attach 2 or more.

Hope this helps...
 

dwelly

Standard Member
Went into the Apple store in Glasgow yesterday and asked one of the sales staff for pros and cons of Express and Extreme. He said Express is for a small number of computers and Extreme for a lot. Then asked him about g and n speeds - and he said there is no difference....!!

I'm no techy but I was very surprised to hear that answer and he repeated it so there was no doubt. So, if he's right, what's the point of all this innovation in technology (apart from an increase in profits for Apple)?
 

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