Tried transferring 4gb file yesterday and seems to be taking such a long time. Anyone knows the transfer speed?
It may help to say that I'm using last year's AirPort Extreme.
AirDrop works outside of whatever WiFi networks are around and doesn't need a base station. It is like a mesh network where all the devices just talk between each other. If nothing else is "sharing" the road - you get the full speed. The further away you are or the more interference, the slower it gets. AirDrop will work by passing the data from Mac to Mac so it will get the file there (although slower) if it has to jump once or twice along the way.
That being said, for two close machines, the transfer speed should be the max wireless speed between your two machines. Hard drives are almost always faster reading and writing than WiFi speeds, so the radio link is generally the slowest.
However, all of that is just theoretical. You can check your actual speed by opening Applications > Utilities > Activity Monitor
Click the Network tab on the bottom and you should see stats about how fast the data is being sent and received. Detach from WiFi base stations to let AirDrop get all the hardware if you want the fastest transfers - leave it on if you need internet while dropping that large file.
Just tested the theory of faster AirDrop speeds between computers in different networks and it is true. The difference in speeds were from 1MB/s to approx. 5MB/s. So 500% increase. I saw a transfer of 8.58 GB go from an expected 2,5 hours to about 33 minutes.
When you transfer files be on different networks or on none at all.
I have been noticing varying speeds between my laptops (Macbook Pro 13' 2010 and Macbook Pro 13' 2011). Sometimes the speed is quite fast, and sometimes it is awfully slow.
I suspect that if the two computer are connected on the same wireless network, the speed is slow (as the files travel through my contemptible router).
On the other hand, if the Macbooks Pro are not connected on the same network, the transfer seems to be way faster.
I have not thoroughly tested this so we would need confirmation.