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How can I test the speed between client devices and the AirPort Extreme?

364 Views 5 Replies Latest reply: Nov 21, 2012 8:57 PM by Bob Timmons RSS
jlaketx Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
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Nov 21, 2012 6:39 PM

I just installed a new AirPort Extreme to improve my overall home network.  Unfortunately I'm seeing similar performance as with my previous system and I suspect it may be related to my cable modem.


Is there any way to use a type of solution to confirm the performance between various client devices and the AirPort?

AirPort Extreme
  • Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (75,425 points)

    If you have a Mac computer, hold down the option key while you click on the fan shaped AirPort icon at the top of the screen.


    Look for the Transmit Rate. This is the maximum speed that your connection between the Mac and AirPort Extreme will support. It will vary according to the distance and obstructions in the signal path. An example might be anywhere in the 50-250 Mbps range.

  and other utilities like this will measure your actual Internet connection speed, which will be controlled by your Internet Service Provider.


    You will likely find the Transmit Rate much, much higher than your actual Internet connection speed, indicating that your "private" network is much faster than your "Internet" connection.

  • Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (75,425 points)
    The obvious alternate method of troubleshooting also occured to me...that I can hardwire a mac/PC to the modem and run a few tests WITHOUT the AirPort Extreme.


    The way to do this would be first turn off the wireless on your MBP and connect it to one of the LAN <-> Ethernet ports on the AirPort Extreme using a known, good Ethernet cable.  If the speed that you see there is around 90% of your service plan, then you know the AirPort Extreme is working correctly on Ethernet.  That is because there is always some speed loss in the routing process.


    When you turn the wireless back on, you won't get close to the Ethernet speeds unless the MBP is very close to the AirPort Extreme. Even then, wireless is almost always going to be somewhat slower.


    The speed over wireless will decrease as you move the MBP further from the router or the signal encounters any obstructions in the direct path to the router. This is normal.


    We haven't talked about wireless interference, and that is always a possibility unless you are lucky enough to live in an area with no other houses around for  300 feet or so.  Even then, cordless phones, TVs, baby monitors, security systems and countless other devices can still affect the wireless signal.

  • Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (75,425 points)

    1. inconsistent overall internet speed (ranging from 2 Mbps to 20+ Mbps) and 2. inconsistent connections on various client devices (not just one laptop).

    Classic symptoms of wireless interference.


    Interference may result in:

    • A decrease in wireless range between devices.
    • A decrease in data throughput over a Wi-Fi network.
    • Intermittent or complete loss of connection.



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