6 years, 5 GigaHertz and 4 Apples

I recently got myself a new Internet connection from ACT broadband (let me tell you that these guys are doing a good job). However I had the old ADSL Model + WiFi Router which I used with my Airtel broadband connection. This one could not be used with the new connection and that meant one thing – I needed to get myself a new router. I got a newer one from DLink with dual-band support (2.4 GHz – 802.11 b/g/n and 5 GHz – the 802.11 ac). It could be used to create two separate networks with either the same name or different ones. I chose to create two with different names.

My machines

I have 2 laptops one of which is a Macbook Pro, a tablet and a couple of phones which includes a Lumia 950 XL and an iPhone 6s. In addition, my friends have laptops too – a Samsung Laptop and 3 Macbook Pros (Non-Retina model). Some of these laptops are pretty old. There is a Dell which is 6 years old. The Samsung one is old too (about 4-5 years). One of those old Macbooks is a 2010 model while the other is 2012 model.

Speed

Let me first tell you the primer about why 802.11 ac matters (that’s what this is about). Latest Apple Macbook Pros have a fast hard disk (a SSD attached to PCIe 3.0 bus). The benchmarks look like this:

Screenshot 2017-05-14 17.37.58

This is a machine which was launched more than 3 years ago. I performed a test using the same tool on a demo machine on the latest (13-inch, 2016 model with Touchbar) Macbook and it touched 1.1 GB (with a capital B) on both reads and writes.

Before I bought my new router, I already had access to 2 separate WiFi networks, one of which worked on the 2.4 GHz band while the other one worked on the 5 GHz band. Coming back to the WiFi – previously when I transfered content using AirDrop between two macs sometime ago, the speeds on the 2.4 GHz band (I am not sure of the mode,  g or n it transferred on) delivered a speed of about 3-4 MBps. Then I cancelled it because I had about 20 GB to transfer and retried after joining the 5GHz network the speeds touched 35 MBps. That’s 10 times faster and normally the speed at which you transfer content to and from an external HDD, except you do not have to reattach and transfer the contents back again into another PC. So yes, ac standard is fast!

You might wonder why I mentioned the HDD speeds – I mentioned it because normally, a HDD can be slower than 35 MBps on many occasions. I mentioned it to convey that the transfer speed was not capped by the hard disks (or SSDs) but the network.

Surprise

Most non-apple machines (including the Lumia flagship) did not detect the new 5 GHz network. It was surprising to see that all Apple Laptops were able to detect and utilize the 5GHz band. Now, given the fact that Apple is futuristic in approach, that might not be a very surprising thing, right? Well, actually, the part that got me surprised was this – even the older Macbook Pro (the 2010 model) could detect and use my new 5 GHz network perfectly. If that proves anything, it’s this – Apple, in 2009 (that’s when they must be designing the 2010 model, I guess) had decided to include hardware on Macbook which would support a network whose design wasn’t finalized until December 2013 (almost 2014).

Apple was thinking 6 years ahead.

This is what the surprise was. I am yet to see another company which thinks well ahead of time.

 

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