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.
Speedtest.net 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.
Thanks, Bob. I am new to Mac (just got a rMBP15") so I appreciate the tidbit about the option/click combo. I'll give that a try.
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. I've been having very inconsistent performance on my network for a long time and really need to find the culptrit, hopefully before spending too much $$.
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.
Thanks for good info, Bob. I probably didn't state my original concern well enough, however. The main issues I'm experiencing are 1. inconsistent overall internet speed (ranging from 2 Mbps to 20+ Mbps) and 2. inconsistent connections on various client devices (not just one laptop).
We currenty have a Wii, an HP printer, an Apple TV, 3 iPads, 2 iPhones, 1 MBP and 1 Win 7 laptop running on the WLAN. I also have 4 DirectTV boxes, 1 Windows XP PC, a PS3 game system and a couple of home automation components running on the wired LAN. Making up the network, I have a cable modem running (now) to a AirPort Extreme which has 2 gigbit switches in separate places (one 5 port, one 8 port). I'm already seeing the WLAN drop from my iPhone and iPad as much or more than my previous system, even when I'm in close range. I knew range might be an issue with the APx because it's in a corner of my house opposite to our master BR where we use our devices often. I expected I may need to put a APE in the bedroom as an extender but I'm not going to do that until I'm certain my internet connectivity is good at the source (cable modem) and then work back from there.
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.