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I've been stationed in Japan for the next three years, and they've got some ludicrous speeds on their fiber Internet over here.

That being said, speed tests (using the SpeedTest.net app) are noticeably slower on the iPhone 4S than they are on the iPad (third generation, if it matters) than they are on my MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, or iMac.

Is this just the app not reporting the speeds correctly, or are there physical limitations to just how quickly data can be transferred?

I'm more computer literate than most, but the exact science of these things eludes me.

Thank you!

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1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

iPhone 4S has a smaller antenna and slower processor (A5 vs. A5X) than iPad 3rd generation. More importantly, the iPhone 4S wi-fi is (802.11 b/g/n) 2.4 GHz only, while the third generation iPad has two channels — 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi (802.11n 2.4GHz and 5GHz.)

I don't think the iPad uses both channels at once, but I think if the second channel is more clear or faster to your router, it would not be surprising the iPad gets faster speeds over Wi-Fi. I think a faster processor alone would allow for faster Wi-Fi speeds.

Similarly, the faster CPUs in MacBooks and iMacs would allow for faster Wi-Fi speeds, even if the networking architecture is the same. (I suspect it isn't, and that there are larger antennas in Macs than iPads, which is another factor…)

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Great, thank you for the insightful response! –  Terrance Shaw Oct 25 '12 at 19:02

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