AirPort Extreme Remains Extreme
9:56 AM - Friday, May 23 2003 ~InfoWorld.com and Apple
Strongly implied in a report on InfoWorld.com written by Computerworld's Bob Brewin was the contention that the IEEE's recently released final draft standard for 802.11g -- the wireless protocol that Apple's AirPort Extreme is built upon -- proposed a spec that was throttled back from 54Mbps to 20Mbps. Sounded like a megabummer, but when we contacted Apple AirPort honchos, they informed us that not only was that implication wrong, but also that Apple has been -- of course -- carefully monitoring the development of the final draft standard, and that it is, if anything, even a wee bit better-performing in its final form. So, the one-day 802.11g flap has been cleared up, and it's now officially time for a lovely weekend of beer, barbeque, Indy racing, and contemplation of the demise of 802.11a.
The raw throughput remains at 54 Mb/s just like 802.11a but in real life its more like 20, again just like 802.11a. 802.11b has a raw throughput of 11 Mb/s but you usually see 4-5.5 in real life. If you mix b and g on the same network then g rates fall to about 10 Mb/s. 802.11a can't talk to b and has a much crappier range so its throughput isn't affected by 802.11b network devices (it doesn't know they exist as it sits in a different frequency band - 5 GHz vs 2.4 GHz for b and g). 100 Mb/s ethernet has a real life max throughput of 50-60 Mb/s so this talk about raw vs actual is moot.
Note, you can lockout the 802.11b slowdown on an 802.11g network by configuring the Airport Extreme vbase station to only operate in single mode 802.11g (but, then you can't use the slower devices on the network).