Airport or Ethernet

Posted:
in Genius Bar edited January 2014
My family is going to be getting DSL soon, and we're debating whether to get Airport or hard wire the entire house.



I think Airport is better because: 1. It is easier to setup 2. It is just as fast as ethernet 3. You can walk around with it 4. All but one of our computers is a mac that has an airport slot.



My dad wants to use ethernet because it is cheaper (not much since we would need a 6-8 port router) and he thinks it is more reliable and faster than ethernet.



What woule you do? Money is obviously an issue, but not as much as ease of use and reliablity/speed. Thanks.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    trevormtrevorm Posts: 841member
    I dont know where your dads getting these points about cables being more reliable, I havve experianced both and find that aiport is much better! I have never had a single problem with airport and it really is good!



    To give you an idead I bought my aiport when I got my new imac and powerbook and all i did was plug my DSL modem in hide the airport, went to my TiBook used set up assistant and less than 5 minutes later I am using the net, and dumping backups wirelessly!!!



    Go the Airport it is GREAT <img src="graemlins/smokin.gif" border="0" alt="[Chilling]" />
  • Reply 2 of 10
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,742member
    Wire can be a lot cheaper than going to Airport. You need at least a card for each Mac, @$99/card, so 3 machines is about $300. This is compared to wire, where each Mac already has builtin ethernet cards, so all you buy is wire and a hub. Wire is dirt cheap, so are basic hubs. Also, if any of your boxes are PC's, getting wireless cards for them also involves getting a PCMCIA adapter for the PC, which isn't cheap.



    As far as a router goes, you don't really need a dedicated router if you re willing to leave a gateway machine on 24/7 or at least whenever another box needs access. If you want a hardware router, a wired router is cheaper than a wireless basestation.



    Reliability isn't really a factor. I haven't heard of anyone having a problem with Airport connections dropping frequently. I suppose if you use a 2+ghz wireless phone or have a lot of UV lighting in you house it could be an issue, but generally shouldn't pose a problem.



    Speed is about the same for the internet sharing. Since your connection will not exceed a couple Mb/s, wired or wireless will not show a difference. However, if you intend to do a lot of filesharing, you will notice the wired connection is faster. Any machines on your network that have a 10/100 card will estabish a 100Mb/s connection if your hub supports 10/100 (assuming autoswitching hub or switch here). This will be especially noticible if you use a switch instead of a hub (shared vs dedicated connection). Pushing a 2gig backup over a network is a lot less painfull with 100Mb/s.



    Wiring you home can be a bitch. I spend 4 hours trying to run cable throughout my house in the ducting system. Prepare to eat lots dust bunnies. And if you decide to pay someone to do the wiring that will not be cheap (electricians charge though the roof).



    Having said all this, I would recommend wireless if you can afford it. It is *a lot* easier to set up. No running 100's of ft of wire through the house (also remember, the longer the wire, the worse the performance of 10BaseT). With wire, you are tied to the location of the wire. Wireless provides full coverage. Want to move a computer to another room? Wired requires you to wire that room. Wireless, you just move it. If you change homes, wire is pretty much left behind and you gotta do it again in the new place, unless you want to pull it all up and re-do it at the new place. Wireless, you just move and turn everything on again. Add new computers? With wired you hit the number of ports on your switch/hub and you need another and you gotta run more cable. Wireless, you just plug in the card.



    I can not stress the convienience of wireless enough. My brother set his home up with wireless. His 3 Macs cost a total of $300 plus tax and he was done. A couple years ago my place cost I think, ~$30 for wire, $40 for cards, $150 for a 4 port router/switch. Now if you factor out the router and add in a standalone switch, my place was about 1/3 the cost of his. I went wired because I have a PC and didn't want to pop for a PCMCIA adapter and card to get it wireless.



    Edit: well, I did some searching and PCI wireless card can be had for pretty cheap these days. Back when I was looking at my network, I could only find PCI PC Card adapters for use with the PCMCIA wireless cards. These PC cards are actually pretty cheap. I may have to look at doing a wiress setup after all



    [ 08-03-2002: Message edited by: Tulkas ]</p>
  • Reply 3 of 10
    i need to add some posts to my account so i give you my 2 cents worth. go with the airport. granted that it may cost more but it is defiantly worth the time and hassle. i just purchase an aircard and basestation and i absolutely love it. i dont know what i would do without it now.
  • Reply 4 of 10
    ebbyebby Posts: 3,110member
    I have both, wired and wireless networks. Wireless is great because I can surf the web or stream MP3's in my backyard. If all your computers use the same wireless hub, you can forget about network games. All your computers would share 11Mb of bandwidth, whereas a wired network would have 200Mb max bandwidth. If you didn't know, "hubs" are MUCH slower than "switches". All wireless stations are hubs, as far as I know.



    It all boils down to:

    -Wired is better for performance

    -Wireless is easier to setup and change
  • Reply 5 of 10
    I just set up an airport network... one old iMac, one iBook, one WintelXP box .... all work flawlessly.

    As far as getting the wintel box on the network ... $98 dollars for a PCI card and about 3 hours trying to figure out how to configure XP... but now it works great.



    My experience is that going with airport will be WAY more expensive, no way around that, but it is also WAY more flexible... you can always add another computer for the cost of an airport card, with no wires to string around. Want to move your computer a year from now ... you won't have to rewire the house AGAIN.



    But alass.... it's not YOUR money, so....
  • Reply 6 of 10
    [quote]Originally posted by Ebby:

    <strong>If you didn't know, "hubs" are MUCH slower than "switches". All wireless stations are hubs, as far as I know.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    That's debatable...on a 2-4 computer network, Hubs are not that much slower...Switches has to resolve packet conflicts, sure they have dedicated hardware to do it, which makes it more expensive than hubs, but that also adds hardware delay. In a small network, it's more or less the same, on a large network, rack-mount switches are the way to go.



    With that said, one thing to keep in mind is that hopefully, your house isn't on 2.4GHz wirelss phones, 'cuz those interrupt Airport. Otherwise, depending on your needs, one can be better or worse than the other. I have to transfer GB of data at a time from my PC to G4, so 100bT ethernet is a MUST, but with less traffic, using Airport is great. Get a Linksys router though, so you can do both wired and wireless internet, and setup is 'bout as easy as Apple's Airport. Just type in 192.168.1.1 in your browser...
  • Reply 7 of 10
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,742member
    [quote]Originally posted by evangellydonut:

    <strong>



    That's debatable...on a 2-4 computer network, Hubs are not that much slower...Switches has to resolve packet conflicts, sure they have dedicated hardware to do it, which makes it more expensive than hubs, but that also adds hardware delay. In a small network, it's more or less the same, on a large network, rack-mount switches are the way to go.



    With that said, one thing to keep in mind is that hopefully, your house isn't on 2.4GHz wirelss phones, 'cuz those interrupt Airport. Otherwise, depending on your needs, one can be better or worse than the other. I have to transfer GB of data at a time from my PC to G4, so 100bT ethernet is a MUST, but with less traffic, using Airport is great. Get a Linksys router though, so you can do both wired and wireless internet, and setup is 'bout as easy as Apple's Airport. Just type in 192.168.1.1 in your browser...</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Does the Linksys support Appletalk? I know Rendezvous will eventually replace Appletalk, but it is still needed by some people.



    Also, to the prior hub vs switch debate, i will add that a 100Mb/s switch doesn't give you 200Mb/s as a previous poster said. Even on full duplex. What you will get is dedicated 100Mb/s both ways. This is compared to a half duplex switch which will give you a combined 100Mb/s dedicated and a hub which will allow each node to take a share or the available 100Mb/s.
  • Reply 8 of 10
    pyr3pyr3 Posts: 946member
    [quote]Originally posted by Tulkas:

    <strong>



    Does the Linksys support Appletalk? I know Rendezvous will eventually replace Appletalk, but it is still needed by some people.



    Also, to the prior hub vs switch debate, i will add that a 100Mb/s switch doesn't give you 200Mb/s as a previous poster said. Even on full duplex. What you will get is dedicated 100Mb/s both ways. This is compared to a half duplex switch which will give you a combined 100Mb/s dedicated and a hub which will allow each node to take a share or the available 100Mb/s.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    That counts as 200Mb/s of throughput if you count that it's going both ways. (i.e. upload + download = 200Mb/s)
  • Reply 9 of 10
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,742member
    [quote]Originally posted by pyr3:

    <strong>



    That counts as 200Mb/s of throughput if you count that it's going both ways. (i.e. upload + download = 200Mb/s)</strong><hr></blockquote>



    It counts as 100Mb/s both ways. Unless you can push or pull at 200Mb/s, you can't really .claim to be getting that rate. If a product advertises 200Mb/s, I'd better be able to push a file at 200mb/s.
  • Reply 10 of 10
    thegeldingthegelding Posts: 3,230member
    only two iMacs (g3 iMac dv and g4 iMac 800 superdrive) in the house so far...but wireless is great...no problems...yes it is more expensive (we needed a basestation, two cards and an adapter for the older iMac), but my wife didn't want any cables showing and we hope to add a portable or two as the kids enter high school....g



    working slowly towards my lucky post of 777...will probably be something lame that gets a thread locked...)



    [ 08-06-2002: Message edited by: thegelding ]</p>
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