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Mac OS X 10.7 Lion to support 450 Mbps WiFi on 2011 Thunderbolt MacBook Pro, iMacs

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
Mac OS X 10.7 Lion will unlock the latent capacity of recently released Thunderbolt MacBook Pro and iMac systems to use faster 450 Mbps 802.11n wireless networking, thanks to triple send and receive antennas capable of supporting three spacial streams of wireless traffic.

Inside 802.11n wireless networking

The 802.11n WiFi standard supports faster networking speeds through a number of technologies, including the use of multiple antennas (aka "MIMO" or multiple-input multiple-output).

Devices and wireless base stations supporting 802.11n can use multiple antennas (up to four each for send and receive) to spatially multiplex multiple independent data streams within one spectral channel of bandwidth enabling faster data throughput, a major factor of why the relatively new 802.11n is faster than previous 802.11 a/b/g wireless networks.

The 802.11n standard also supports the less-utilized (but higher frequency and therefore weaker wall penetrating) 5GHz frequency band, which was previously only tapped by 802.11a devices in corporate networks; 802.11b/g standards both only use the (often heavily saturated) 2.4GHz frequency band, potentially suffering from interference with neighboring wireless networks or Bluetooth devices.

New 802.11n networks can also speed up data transfers by using wide, 40MHz bandwidth channels to double the amount of radio spectrum used. Apple's Airport base stations only support wide channels when configured to work as "802.11n only (5GHz)" networks. The option is hidden behind the "Wireless Network Options" button.



MCS on iOS and Macs

However, 802.11n devices don't have to necessarily support a minimum number of antennas, 5GHz networks, nor wide channels. The features a device can support is represented by its 802.11n Modulation and Coding Scheme (MCS) index (outlined below, from Wikipedia).



MCS is reported by Mac OS X clients in the AirPort menu when holding down the Option key. This index number can scale down depending on signal strength and interference, but its top limit is bound by the features of the hardware on the client and the network's base station.

For example, iPhone 4 is 802.11n but lacks support for 5GHz and wide channels, limiting it to 802.11n networks configured to use 2.4GHz. The iPad, in contrast, can see and connect to "802.11n only (5GHz)" wireless networks. However, the iPad can still only support one spatial stream using a 20MHz channel because, like the iPhone, it lacks multiple "MIMO" antennas (due to battery life, cost and complexity constraints, as each antenna also requires radio support as well).

This limits Apple's iPhone 4 and iPad to an MCS index of 7, with a top throughput rate of 65 Mbps. Earlier 802.11b/g devices (including older iPhones) can only support a maximum data rate of 54 Mbps. The iPad, unlike iPhone 4, can also make use of 5GHz networks, which may enable for less interference from neighboring wireless traffic but does not raise its MCS index.

All Macs supporting 802.11n have multiple antennas and can therefore support two spacial streams, allowing them to achieve an MCS of 15 and a top data rate of 130 Mbps on 2.4GHz networks. Unlike iOS devices, Macs can also handle wide 40MHz channels in the 5GHz band, enabling a doubled data throughput of 300 Mbps when connecting to a "802.11n only (5GHz)" network configured to support wide channels.

New Macs exceed 802.11 baseline certification to support 450 Mbps WiFi

This year, Apple began incorporating three send and receive antennas in its Thunderbolt-equipped MacBook Pro and iMacs, enabling them to achieve an MCS of 23 and a top data rate of 450 Mbps on 5GHz networks with wide channels. This new capability goes beyond the baseline certification of 802.11n as defined by the Wi-Fi Alliance, which maxes out at 300 Mbps

While not currently supported by Mac OS X Snow Leopard, a developer has reported to AppleInsider that the developer preview of Lion does indicate support for the new hardware when used with modern base stations such as Airport Extreme or Time Capsule.

The developer tested a MacBook Pro using a 2.3GHz Core i5, and reported an MCS of 23 with a transmit rate of 450 using a 5GHz network hosted by Airport Extreme. Previous machines are only able to achieve MCS 15.

post #2 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

While not currently supported by Mac OS X Snow Leopard, a developer has reported to AppleInsider that the developer preview of Lion does indicate support for the new hardware when used with modern base stations such as Airport Extreme or Time Capsule.


Pretty sure this indicates that there is support for 450 Mbit .11n on Snow Leopard: http://www.anandtech.com/show/4205/t...andy-bridge/11.
post #3 of 31
Yea... Pretty sure my 2011 MBP is 450 Mbit/s.

Oh look! Proof!



Soooo... this article is worthless much? Or am I missing something?
post #4 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zandros View Post

Pretty sure this indicates that there is support for 450 Mbit .11n on Snow Leopard: http://www.anandtech.com/show/4205/t...andy-bridge/11.

Yeah, Im surprised this is being stated as new info -and- only accessible with Lion.



@ummyeaaaa, there is no reason for you to post a nearly 1MB 1440x900 image to the forum.
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post #5 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Yeah, Im surprised this is being stated as new info -and- only accessible with Lion.



@ummyeaaaa, there is no reason for you to post a nearly 1MB 1440x900 image to the forum.


My apologies... forgot to save the shrunk image
post #6 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

New 802.11n networks can also speed up data transfers by using wide, 40MHz bandwidth channels to double the amount of radio spectrum used. Apple's Airport base stations only support wide channels when configured to work as "802.11n only (5GHz)" networks. The option is hidden behind the "Wireless Network Options" button.

My multi-band Airport Extreme is set to Radio Mode: 801.11a/n - 802.11b/g and I get support for wide channels and a link speed of 270 Mbit/s with an MCS of 15 with a previous generation "tall" Mac mini (Macmini3,1). So I don't think "802.11n only (5GHz)" is required to make use of wide channels.

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post #7 of 31
Why is this touted as an OS level feature when it is all in the wireless card and driver that determines what the speed is anyhow? Pretty lame if I have to wait for another 10.x update just to get more speed from a wireless device.
post #8 of 31
Bad Azz!
2011 13" 2.3 MBP, 2006 15" 2.16 MBP, iPhone 4, iPod Shuffle, AEBS, AppleTV2 with XBMC.
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2011 13" 2.3 MBP, 2006 15" 2.16 MBP, iPhone 4, iPod Shuffle, AEBS, AppleTV2 with XBMC.
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post #9 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by ummyeaaaa View Post

Yea... Pretty sure my 2011 MBP is 450 Mbit/s.

Oh look! Proof!



Soooo... this article is worthless much? Or am I missing something?



Yeah, I was just going to say I'm fairly certain its already used as someone tested the max theoretical transfer speeds.

Anywho, this isn't particularly new, three antenna 450Mbps wifi cards and routers have been out for a while, but that's nice to have I guess. Might come in handy with Airdrop in Lion.
post #10 of 31
I was going to say "nice find" but it does seem like Anand beat you to it. But I had not seen the Anand article so this is still news to me so thanks.
post #11 of 31
This was news for me so thank you for the article.
post #12 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

My multi-band Airport Extreme is set to Radio Mode: 801.11a/n - 802.11b/g and I get support for wide channels and a link speed of 270 Mbit/s with an MCS of 15 with a previous generation "tall" Mac mini (Macmini3,1). So I don't think "802.11n only (5GHz)" is required to make use of wide channels.

I think if anything using 802.11a jumps on your network it will slow it down.
Just sayin'....
post #13 of 31
450 screaming Mbps, smashing headlong into my 1.5 Mbps qwest DSL line. FFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

damnit, moving to japan.
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post #14 of 31
I have this Apple AirPort Extreme 2003 http://bit.ly/kny7Tv and Powerbook, PowerPC G4 1.67 GHz, 2GB RAM, 10.4.11

I'll be buying New MacBook Pro 17, Antiglare, 8GB RAM, plus iOS Hardware & stuff...

I assume that I could still use my AirPort Extreme 2003 with both these laptops, right? But...

I vaguely remember hearing something about older Mac slowing down the latest Airport Extreme (N?), which would thus slow down my MBP 17', right?

If I buy the New Airport Extreme, is there a way of setting it up so that ignores my Powerbook G4, 10.4.11, 2GB RAM, so that PB only "talks" to my Apple AirPort Extreme 2003?

I.e. I might want to keep both Laptop on Separate Wireless Networks!

But then, if I want to Drag and Drop Files, between those laptops, I'd need to have them on the Same Network, right? In that case, which one? How? Via Ethernet Only? I don't want to do wired Target Mode! So...

What would be the Best WiFi Setup for this Scenario, so that my both Laptops have the Fastest WiFi, while being able to Share Files!!!

Keep in mind that I want to leave my PB as 10.4.11!!! Yes, I know that I can bring it up to the Latest Leopard, not Snow Leopard, but I'd rather avoid headaches, and leave it AS IS, closer to it's NATIVE OS, 10.4.11, kind of freezing it in the past!

On other hand, my Cable is closer 10MB on a good day, so maybe it's useless to even worry about the WiFi Speeds, because, even if I buy the Latest Airport Extreme, the Bottleneck will by my Cable ISP...

The only (?) other Advantage I hope to see from the Newest Airport Extreme is a stronger signal when I am in another room, cause my walls to have metal in them... Such is the case, I hear, with older buildings, right?

Thanks in advance for your help!

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post #15 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by macologist View Post

I have this Apple AirPort Extreme 2003 http://bit.ly/kny7Tv and Powerbook, PowerPC G4 1.67 GHz, 2GB RAM, 10.4.11

I'll be buying New MacBook Pro 17, Antiglare, 8GB RAM, plus iOS Hardware & stuff...

I assume that I could still use my AirPort Extreme 2003 with both these laptops, right? But...

I vaguely remember hearing something about older Mac slowing down the latest Airport Extreme (N?), which would thus slow down my MBP 17', right?

If I buy the New Airport Extreme, is there a way of setting it up so that ignores my Powerbook G4, 10.4.11, 2GB RAM, so that PB only "talks" to my Apple AirPort Extreme 2003?

I.e. I might want to keep both Laptop on Separate Wireless Networks!

But then, if I want to Drag and Drop Files, between those laptops, I'd need to have them on the Same Network, right? In that case, which one? How? Via Ethernet Only? I don't want to do wired Target Mode! So...

What would be the Best WiFi Setup for this Scenario, so that my both Laptops have the Fastest WiFi, while being able to Share Files!!!

Keep in mind that I want to leave my PB as 10.4.11!!! Yes, I know that I can bring it up to the Latest Leopard, not Snow Leopard, but I'd rather avoid headaches, and leave it AS IS, closer to it's NATIVE OS, 10.4.11, kind of freezing it in the past!

On other hand, my Cable is closer 10MB on a good day, so maybe it's useless to even worry about the WiFi Speeds, because, even if I buy the Latest Airport Extreme, the Bottleneck will by my Cable ISP...

The only (?) other Advantage I hope to see from the Newest Airport Extreme is a stronger signal when I am in another room, cause my walls to have metal in them... Such is the case, I hear, with older buildings, right?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Actually, this should be quite easy.
  • Leave your current setup as is.
  • Setup the new Airport Extreme with the same SSID and shared key, but specify it is to be "802.11n only (5GHz)" and make sure to turn off DHCP services (assuming you use your current Airport Extreme as a router/gateway to your broadband router). This way only your current AE still hands out IP addresses on your LAN. (You don't want both doing that, as it will cause havoc with potentially colliding IPs and, more importantly, improper default gateway settings resulting in devices not being able to reach the Internet, among other things.)
  • Then run an ethernet cable from one LAN port on the old AE to a LAN port on the new AE and you're done.
By cross-connecting via LAN ports, you're simply bridging the LAN you already have. And by setting up the new AE to only do 5GHz, you prevent the PowerBook from being able to see it. Now as for how to keep the new MacBook Pro from hopping on the old AE, that's a little trickier. I'm hoping that just as Macs tend to go for the fastest connection they can find, the MBP will see the 5GHz SSID and jump on that first. But I'm afraid this is where I haven't tested things.

Now if you intend to use these AEs in different parts of your home, such as putting the new AE somewhere far from your current AE, you should look into using WDS (Wireless Distribution System), a feature built into Apple Airport devices which lets them span a single SSID network wirelessly. In such a case, your old AE would be the main base station and the new AE would be a remote station. The downside to WDS is that the link between AEs is wireless, thus not only limited to the speed of the wireless, but you tend to share that bandwidth with the wireless clients connecting to your AEs. And if you're having signal issues from laptop to current AE, then you might have same between AEs. And as for older buildings having steel in them, depends on the structure. Older stick-built homes do not, as they tend to use 2"x4"s for studs, whereas some newer homes do use steel studs. The bigger p.i.t.a. are concrete structures as commonly found in South America where there's no steel exoskeleton but rather they use a lot of steel rebar in the concrete. That just wreaks havoc. (Basically, I'd go with the first option if possible.)

Worst case, you could actually setup the new AE to use a different SSID if doing option #1. For example, if your current AE is broadcasting SSID "MyNetwork", you could make the new AE broadcast "MyFastNetwork" or something. Then when you fire up the new MBP, you can specify to hop on the faster AE. Note that this works with cross-connected AEs without issue, as the only thing the new AE is doing is giving your MBP connectivity to your LAN, and the old AE is still providing the DHCP service, which means in the end the MBP knows that to get to the Internet it sends data to the old AEs LAN IP address. But for WDS, the AEs need to be broadcasting the same SSID as the whole point of WDS is to extend an existing wireless network.

And yes, in either scenario (wired or WDS), you can easily share files/etc. as you'll have a single LAN environment.

Hopefully this made some sense.
post #16 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by TowerTone View Post

I think if anything using 802.11a jumps on your network it will slow it down.
Just sayin'....

5.8 GHz networking has such short range that it's not likely for other 5.8 GHz devices to just show up on your network, even if you live in an apartment. My 5.8 GHz 11n network doesn't even cover my entire apt.
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post #17 of 31
Where does AppleTV fall in all of this? In other words, how many antennae does it have?
post #18 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger View Post

Where does AppleTV fall in all of this? In other words, how many antennae does it have?

I cant find any mention of the number of antenna on iFixits teardown of the G2 AppleTV.
http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Apple...eardown/3625/1
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post #19 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by TowerTone View Post

I think if anything using 802.11a jumps on your network it will slow it down.
Just sayin'....

Thanks, TowerTone!

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

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   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

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Reply
post #20 of 31
I have a new 2011 MBP also, and have a dual band router. How do you get your link speed/transmit speed to reach 450mbps? Mine is currently 130mbps which seems considerably low, and I was wondering if there was anything you all could recommend so that I can increase my transmit speeds. I was trying to follow the pictures in the article but I do not have time capsule or an airport router. I accessed my network utility and checked my system preferences but did not see any options that would allow me to make any significant changes as shown in the pictures. Any constructive input is appreciated, or if this is even possible or just relies solely on my internet.
post #21 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by incubustable View Post

I have a new 2011 MBP also, and have a dual band router. How do you get your link speed/transmit speed to reach 450mbps? Mine is currently 130mbps which seems considerably low, and I was wondering if there was anything you all could recommend so that I can increase my transmit speeds. I was trying to follow the pictures in the article but I do not have time capsule or an airport router. I accessed my network utility and checked my system preferences but did not see any options that would allow me to make any significant changes as shown in the pictures. Any constructive input is appreciated, or if this is even possible or just relies solely on my internet.

As noted in the article a Transmit Rate/Link Speed of 450Mbps "goes beyond the baseline certification of 802.11n as defined by the Wi-Fi Alliance, which maxes out at 300 Mbps” but you may still be able to get 300Mbps if you have a compliant 802.11n router.
  • Did you look up the theoretical maximum from the vendor’s website, review of the model or how-to site (Specifically 40MHz channel capability, as opposed to just a 20MHz channel)?

  • Did you check your MBP’s System Preferences or the router’s system preferences/settings, the latter being the one that dictates most of what your MBP can do with the wireless network?
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post #22 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splinemodel View Post

5.8 GHz networking has such short range that it's not likely for other 5.8 GHz devices to just show up on your network, even if you live in an apartment. My 5.8 GHz 11n network doesn't even cover my entire apt.

Mine covers my entire 4 BR house, but the point I was making (since the network is hopefully secure with no need to worry about neighbors) is that a Core Duo laptop or iMac will slow the 'n' network down, and you are better off with your 5GHz strictly 'n' and not 'a and n'. The Core Duos will then default to the 802.11g 2.4 GHz network.
post #23 of 31
My thunderbolt MBP 15 running Snow Leopard can already do MCS 23. It regularly oscillates between MCS 22 (365) and 23 (450). Not news.
post #24 of 31
Nice. But I'll take gigabit ethernet any day of the week. Even a slow 100Mbps ethernet link outperforms 300Mbps 802.11n on my home network.
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post #25 of 31
I have the new 2011 15" MBP with a new Time Capsule and I am connected at 450 mbps so I am not sure why this is a Lion feature. Just thought I'd share
post #26 of 31
I have the first dual band airport extreme. The options are a little different. Additionally, I needed to hold the option key while selecting the radio mode drop list to get access to the n-restricted 5ghz modes. I went n-only for 5 and 2.4... I'd turn off the 2.4 if I could.
post #27 of 31
I was actually planning to purchase a MacBook Pro this weekend, but now that I'm reading about some of the announcements about to be made regarding a new OS, etc., should I wait? Does this mean that the computers will soon be sold with Lion instead of Snow Leopard?

Any advice would be welcome. I haven't owned an Apple since my Apple 2e and am looking forward to getting a Mac.
post #28 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Valkyria View Post

should I wait?

If you're planning on buying anything in the AirPort line of products, yes.

Otherwise there's no point.

Quote:
Does this mean that the computers will soon be sold with Lion instead of Snow Leopard?

A few months from now, sure.
post #29 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

If you're planning on buying anything in the AirPort line of products, yes.

Otherwise there's no point.

I'd argue there is a point to waiting. With only two weeks to return a product or to be within the free OS upgrade timeframe waiting a whole day to see if Apple commits to a sale date would be prudent. I know you think Lion is a couple months away but I am not so sure. Considering the already apparent delay for the iPhone, speed of the digital distribution which saves a full month of finalizing a GM that is burned to discs and packaged, and reliability jump in Preview 3 over Preview 2 I think it's entirely possible that it could ship by the end of June.
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post #30 of 31
I have a Time Capsule, which had the 3x3 MIMO all along and sure enough, the link speed is 450Mbps on Lion vs. 300Mbps on Snow Leopard. Why was that not "unblocked" for Airport Extreme and Time Capsule customers in previous OS X versions? \

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post #31 of 31
I have a 2011 MBP with Lion and a 2007 Airport Extreme. I've followed the instructions in this post but I only seem to be able to get 300Mbps out of it. MCS is stuck at 15 even when I'm right next to the router. Anyone got any ideas? Is the 2007 AE not capable of 450?
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