I've recently gotten my cable internet upgraded. When the tech was here, he was able to get about 48 Mbps speeds over wifi, but on my retina MBP, connecting to the same wireless router, I was only getting 30-35.

We tried a number of different configurations, various wifi channels, and turning off the bluetooth on my machine.

How can i diagnose wireless prrformance to learn if a particular router type may work better with my Mac?

  • Since hardware shopping questions are off-topic, I chose to answer as if you asked - how would I select a router instead of just listing some that work. The former is of use long past today's current crop of routers is considered "old and busted". – bmike Apr 18 '13 at 23:31

You shouldn't need to disable bluetooth on any recent Apple product - their antennas and drivers are very well engineered, and if you can demonstrate a slow down, you could get it repaired (most likely under warranty) since that's not normal. It is good troubleshooting - especially if your router is on 2.4 GHz.

First off, there may not be a problem. If you hold down the option key when you select the Wireless icon in the menu bar - take note of the transmit rate, MCS and other data.

Secondly, you can run the tests with the Wi-Fi Diagnostic that sits in /System/Library/CoreServices to check on the logs, check signal to noise ratio and much more.

If you are regularly transferring large amounts of data, you might need the higher MCS data rates - but it's rare to find a modern router (AirPort, Cisco/Linksys, etc…) that doesn't work very well with Macs. Usually it's an interference issue with spectrum and not that the hardware isn't properly matched. It's hard to tell without doing the work several days in a row to collect network conditions and graphs - but hopefully this helps you decide if/when to get a new router if that's the solution you choose.

  • PHY is 802.11n, MCS is 7, not sure what band means but if that's channel its 2.4ghz on channel 11 (we've tried various channels) and transmit rate is 73, if any of that tells you anything. Signal is -44 and noise is -82 – Erik Apr 18 '13 at 23:34
  • @Erik With those numbers you are slightly low on the MCS (>10), That indicates interference. Assuming you have full signal strength, please check your noise level. Sometimes switching the channel does it. – Ruskes Apr 19 '13 at 0:13
  • @erik You are doing great for 2.4 ghz - MCS 7 is 64-QAM and the fastest data rate possible for one spatial stream (Mac has two antennas, but your router is the limitation here most likely.) Look for a dual band router if you need speeds faster than you are getting. SNR is great (ratio between -44 and -82), no signs of interference, and transmit rate is high. Unless you can switch to 5 GHz, I doubt you'll get much more speed out of this link. See the wikipedia link I just edited into the answer. – bmike Apr 19 '13 at 2:31

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