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If the home network is running 802.11n or 802.11ac, can the Air Play from a Macbook to Apple TV video playback be guaranteed to be the same as if connected by a cable?

There may be 2 Wifi or up to 3 Wifi data streams happening: (1) from the NAS to the Macbook (by Wifi), and then (2) from the Macbook to the Wifi router, and (3) from the Wifi router to the Apple TV. If the video files in on the Macbook locally, then there will be 2 data streams only (the (2) and (3) above).

Besides, is there a monitor tool that can show the data is only at a 33%, 50% or 80% of the max Wifi bandwidth, to show that it is running smoothly in general?

  • Have you checked to see if they’re both on the same band of wifi? Most routers will let you do this. Also, check if IGMP snooping is on (in your router’s settings), if it is off, turn it on, as it typically raises performance for mirroring and live-streaming content. (Source: routerguide.net/enable-igmp-snooping-on-or-off) – bret7600 Jan 5 '18 at 15:48
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No, you can never guarantee the network connectivity. You could always experience interference from other networks, jammers, etc. which temporarily block signal reception. Similarly with a cable you could have defective cables that aren't working perfectly.

In general you can achieve network speeds with 802.11ac that well exceed the speed of a 100 Mbps cable connection and approaches the speed of a 1000 Mbps cable connection (or even exceeds it in optimal scenarios).

If your question is whether or not AirPlay from a MacBook to an AppleTV can work well over 802.11ac - then the answer is yes. However, you'll have to try yourself with your own network components and surroundings to determine if it works well for you - there's no guarantee. Usually it works without any problems.

You can use Activity Monitor to monitor the actual amount of transferred data. You can also hold down the Alt key while clicking the WiFi icon in the menu bar on your MacBook to see extra statistics, including the current estimated transmission rate.

  • I did not tweak the network or anything, but was using 802.11ac. The router was some 20 feet away in the other room. So the video image was excellent, but I think sometimes I do see a dropped frame. Using a direct HDMI cable is still better... I guess the way to guarantee it more would be if the playback is buffered for 2 seconds or even a few seconds. Otherwise, it is good business presentation but not for movies. – 太極者無極而生 Jan 6 '18 at 9:02
  • The playback is buffered for 2 seconds. It is fine for a lot of other things than business presentations. In fact, I have seen many complain similar to you that you see a dropped frame now and then (easily seen for example in panning sequences that are common in many movie openings). However, the real cause of this is actually the TVs "smart signal processing" that chokes on the data. Disable everything like that (SmartMotion, TruMotion, MotionPlus, etc.), and you'll see that the "missing frames" disappears and panning sequences are perfect again. – jksoegaard Jan 6 '18 at 19:18

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