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The Asus AC card (PCE-AC68) worked well for me, and at AC speeds, to boot. Plus the antenna had extension cords, so you could place it high even if the machine was down low.

You could also look at a WiFi extender with an Ethernet port: it would connect to the WiFi and give your machine a wired Ethernet link. I think even Apple’s Airport Express units could do that.
 


Here's one that is supposed to be Mac compatible:
I ended up purchasing one of the same brand, but a bit higher up the food chain:

A quick note for others: the installation of the driver takes an extra step not noted in the instructions.

The macOS 10.6 to 10.14 driver installer (available on the EDUP website) puts an application named “StatusBarApp.app” on the hard drive in ~Library/Application Support/WLAN. This is the application that puts the icon in the upper-right menu bar that allows for configuration of the EDUP USB WiFi unit.

Unfortunately, the installer does not activate this application, so one gets no icon in the menu bar. Double-clicking on the StatusBarApp application places the icon in my menu bar, and the WiFi unit can now configured.

I don’t know if there is something specific to my setup that blocks the automatic activation of the StatusBarApp or if most or all people running macOS 10.14.x (and possibly earlier) will have this non-activation problem.

Anyway, my Mac Pro 2009 can now connect to my AirPort Extreme (tall) wireless router on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.
 


I want to ask for advice on setting up a failover system from my DSL modem to a cellular carrier at my house in Mexico.

I have a (Telmex) DSL line that provides 3Mb/s down and 0.3 Mb/s up with pings to 8.8.8.8 of around 125 ms. Theft of the copper trunk cables along the highway has always been a problem, and now I and my community are often without phone or DSL service for 10-15 days per month. My iPhone 6 can get 10 Mb/s down, 1Mb/s up via LTE/3G to a Telcel tower about 2 miles away.

I have seen this Netgear LB2120 LTE modem/router on Amazon that looks like it might do what I want. Probably, I would have to add an external MIMO antenna with 5 meters of extension cables - any recommendations? A Telcel plan with 10GB monthly would cost me around $20 USD/month with fallback to 2 Mb/s if I exceed the data limit. I could live with that. While the LB2120 gets decent reviews on Amazon, the technical support available from Netgear seems to be very poor.

My existing Huawei DSL modem distributes 192.168.1.x addresses and I use DynDns plus port forwarding to my house Mac Mini 2007 (Mac OS X 10.6.8) so I can have remote access to certain (weather, security) applications on the Mini.

I assume that I would put the DSL modem into bridge mode to the LB2120 and use that device for my DHCP server. Since the Netgear distributes 192.168.5.X addresses, I guess I would also have to reconfigure all the devices that now have 192.168.1.X static addresses to the 5.X network.

Can anyone comment on how well such a setup would work and any other things I should know, or provide alternative means of doing what I want to accomplish at a cost of under around $300?
 


I want to ask for advice on setting up a failover system from my DSL modem to a cellular carrier at my house in Mexico.

I have a (Telmex) DSL line that provides 3Mb/s down and 0.3 Mb/s up with pings to 8.8.8.8 of around 125 ms. Theft of the copper trunk cables along the highway has always been a problem, and now I and my community are often without phone or DSL service for 10-15 days per month. My iPhone 6 can get 10 Mb/s down, 1Mb/s up via LTE/3G to a Telcel tower about 2 miles away.

I have seen this Netgear LB2120 LTE modem/router on Amazon that looks like it might do what I want. Probably, I would have to add an external MIMO antenna with 5 meters of extension cables - any recommendations? A Telcel plan with 10GB monthly would cost me around $20 USD/month with fallback to 2 Mb/s if I exceed the data limit. I could live with that. While the LB2120 gets decent reviews on Amazon, the technical support available from Netgear seems to be very poor.

My existing Huawei DSL modem distributes 192.168.1.x addresses and I use DynDns plus port forwarding to my house Mac Mini 2007 (Mac OS X 10.6.8) so I can have remote access to certain (weather, security) applications on the Mini.

I assume that I would put the DSL modem into bridge mode to the LB2120 and use that device for my DHCP server. Since the Netgear distributes 192.168.5.X addresses, I guess I would also have to reconfigure all the devices that now have 192.168.1.X static addresses to the 5.X network.

Can anyone comment on how well such a setup would work and any other things I should know, or provide alternative means of doing what I want to accomplish at a cost of under around $300?
I have had good luck with these:

You can get one for around $350

You can pay extra and cloud-manage it remotely, but for most people I just set to local management.

I have set these up for people with DSL and people with cable modems to auto-failover when those go down.
 


I have a (Telmex) DSL line that provides 3Mb/s down and 0.3 Mb/s up with pings to 8.8.8.8 of around 125 ms. Theft of the copper trunk cables along the highway has always been a problem, and now I and my community are often without phone or DSL service for 10-15 days per month. My iPhone 6 can get 10 Mb/s down, 1Mb/s up via LTE/3G to a Telcel tower about 2 miles away.

I have seen this Netgear LB2120 LTE modem/router on Amazon that looks like it might do what I want. Probably, I would have to add an external MIMO antenna with 5 meters of extension cables - any recommendations? A Telcel plan with 10GB monthly would cost me around $20 USD/month with fallback to 2 Mb/s if I exceed the data limit. I could live with that. While the LB2120 gets decent reviews on Amazon, the technical support available from Netgear seems to be very poor.

My existing Huawei DSL modem distributes 192.168.1.x addresses and I use DynDns plus port forwarding to my house Mac Mini 2007 (Mac OS X 10.6.8) so I can have remote access to certain (weather, security) applications on the Mini.

I assume that I would put the DSL modem into bridge mode to the LB2120 and use that device for my DHCP server. Since the Netgear distributes 192.168.5.X addresses, I guess I would also have to reconfigure all the devices that now have 192.168.1.X static addresses to the 5.X network.

Can anyone comment on how well such a setup would work and any other things I should know, or provide alternative means of doing what I want to accomplish at a cost of under around $300?
Since this set-up sounds like an important one to your quality of life I'd suggest increasing the budget a bit.

Looking at functionality (a router with cellular and wired WAN, failover and local LAN management) and technical support, I'd recommend a look at Peplink's MAX BR1 product line - Pepwave MAX industrial 4G Routers. We've had good experience with these in remote areas (e.g., the mountains of California) where we need to mix various communication options (in our case satellite and cellular). The systems are quite robust (made for mobile platforms such as trains, trucks and yachts), provide multi-WAN load balancing and fail-overs and a rich repertory of traffic management and security options (which you don't have to exercise :-)).

Aside from the technology, as such, where we have been particularly impressed is with their technical support. Their support staff actually participates in the customer online forum, and provides very individualized troubleshooting tips and solutions. We've had them troubleshoot systems well after the warranty period has expired, something we have not seen any other device organization provide to individual (as well as large corporate) users.

For your needs, I expect a MAX BR1 mini with a WAN license (to add wired WAN) would be suitable. MAX Single Cellular Mobile Router - BR1. It would run to $299 + $100 (for the WAN port license).

For antennas, we've had good luck with MobileMark panel MIMO antennas (PND10-700/2700) (expensive), and people speak well of Poynting XPOL MIMO antennas (4G LTE MiMo Archives) (less expensive).

If you have a cable run of any length, make absolutely sure you deploy high-quality coax cable - the signal loss in the cable can really kill your system if you go for the low-quality stuff.
 


I recently bought a new MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2018) to replace my Mac Mini (mid-2010), and for some reason I haven’t been able to connect the new MacBook Pro to my modem-router (Netgear C6300). The Mac Mini still connects OK; so does my wife’s MacBook Pro (late-2013). But when I try to connect the new MacBook Pro to the primary network (either 5GHz or 2.4GHz), I immediately get an error message “The Wi-Fi network [name] could not be joined.”

However, I can connect the new MacBook Pro to the “guest network,” so my first thought was that it must be an access problem. But selecting the router’s option to “Allow all new devices to connect” didn’t help, and neither did turning off Access Control altogether. (Neither did rebooting the router.)

I’ve reviewed every relevant setting or preference I could find on both the router and the new MacBook Pro, but didn’t find any solution. I also checked the router’s firmware, which seems to be up to date.

I suspect the trouble has something to do with the router, rather than with the MacBook Pro, because I’ve also been unable to connect to the router from a newly purchased printer. Like the new MacBook Pro, the new printer will connect only to the guest network, not to the primary network.

But even if the router really is the problem, I don’t know what more I could do to fix it. I’m thinking my next step might be just to buy a different/newer modem-router, and see what happens. Does that make sense? Any other suggestions or comments?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I recently bought a new MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2018) to replace my Mac Mini (mid-2010), and for some reason I haven’t been able to connect the new MacBook Pro to my modem-router (Netgear C6300). The Mac Mini still connects OK; so does my wife’s MacBook Pro (late-2013). But when I try to connect the new MacBook Pro to the primary network (either 5GHz or 2.4GHz), I immediately get an error message “The Wi-Fi network [name] could not be joined.”
I had a similar experience a while back. I could connect with two different FiOS routers in two different homes but not to a third one, in between, even though another MacBook Pro in the same house was using it, and I had the right password, etc. I couldn't figure out and ran out of time, very frustrated, because it made no sense. In retrospect, I wonder if the problem may have been that two of the routers may have been close enough to both make contact with my MacBook Pro at the same time?

All that aside and possibly irrelevant, here are a few things I just found with a search:
 


However, I can connect the new MacBook Pro to the “guest network,” so my first thought was that it must be an access problem. But selecting the router’s option to “Allow all new devices to connect” didn’t help, and neither did turning off Access Control altogether. (Neither did rebooting the router.)
I had a similar problem with a Neato D7 vacuuming robot. I use an Apple Extreme base station (the tall one w/o a built-in drive). It refused to connect to either the 2.4 or 5 GHz networks but would immediately connect to the guest network even though it was also password-protected. Never figured out what was going on. All of the many other devices we use can connect to all three networks.
 


I recently bought a new MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2018) to replace my Mac Mini (mid-2010), and for some reason I haven’t been able to connect the new MacBook Pro to my modem-router (Netgear C6300). The Mac Mini still connects OK; so does my wife’s MacBook Pro (late-2013). But when I try to connect the new MacBook Pro to the primary network (either 5GHz or 2.4GHz), I immediately get an error message “The Wi-Fi network [name] could not be joined.”
I had a similar odd experience when I bought a MacBook Air last year and migrated some data from my Mac Mini to it. The MacBook Air would not connect properly to my network, and when I eventually called Apple, they said I should change my user name on the MacBook Air to something different than I have on the Mini. Once I did that, I was able to connect both to the network simultaneously.

It's something I had never experienced before, and it's kind of annoying not to have the same user name on all the machines I use.
 


Now that 5G is slowly appearing I wonder if a 5G hot-spot device and/or 5G modem will appear to connect older devices to 5G via WiFi. Can the benefits of 5G be maintained?
 



The Ubiquiti series of gateways/routers can act as an inexpensive failover device, also. The UI is not the easiest to follow, but the wizard will walk you through the process of setting up a dual WAN (shared, failover, etc.) gateway.

I'd recommend the use of a single gateway to handle both data feeds for the simple reason that all sorts of unhappiness can result due to misconfigurations. Also, it helps ensure that your security settings on your firewall are consistent.

Unfortunately, I have yet to find a good second candidate for my WAN interfaces, so one lies fallow while the other "enjoys" comcastic performances.
 


I did notice that, when I plugged it in, it (and my wired printer) downgraded the RT2600ac's ports to Fast Ethenet (orange LED). Not unexpected, but being mildly paranoid about the speed of my LAN, I put them both behind an old gigabit switch I had lying around and, voila, all (including the switch) went green for gigabit. Go figure, and probably unnecessary but...
Ugh, Horribly bad design.

In order to explain why, let me present some technical background. Those who already know the terminology can just skip to the end.
There are four different ways of connecting Ethernet devices to each other - shared-bus, repeater, bridge or router. Every device that aggregates Ethernet ports for any reason implements one or more of these, even if they are marketed using other non-standard names (like "switch" or "hub").​
A shared bus network is what was used in the old days, when 10BASE5 ("thick" Ethernet) and 10BASE2 ("thin" Ethernet) were used. There is one long cable that connects to multiple computers, either through use of a vampire tap (typical for 10BASE5) or T-connectors (typical for 10BASE2). Shared bus Ethernet works using a mechanism (CSMA/CD) where a computer listens to all data on the wire and only transmits when nobody else is transmitting, along with protocols to detect and deal with the situation when two try to transmit at the same time ("collisions").​
By its nature, shared-bus networks can only run at one speed (e.g. 10BASE5 and 10BASE2 Ethernet can only run at 10Mbit/s).​
Repeaters were originally invented in order to extend the range of shared-bus networks. A repeater is a dumb device that simply transmits whatever it receives on one port to all the other ports. They can also be used to create branches in a shared-bus network (tree-like topologies instead of straight line). Because repeaters work at the lowest level of electrical signals, all ports must run at the same speed. They are logically no different from a shared-bus network - only one device can transmit at a time and CSMA/CD protocol is used to detect and minimize collisions.​
When Ethernet started to use twisted-pair cabling (10BASE-T and later 100BASE-TX), the standard way to connect devices to the network was through the use of repeaters - one port per host. Just like when repeaters are used to join lengths of shared-bus cabling, repeaters when used with twisted-pair cabling must also be single-speed. A 10BASE-T repeater is 10M only and a 100BASE-T repeater is 100M only.​
These repeaters are often sold as "hubs", but "hub" is not a technical term and can refer to many other kinds of devices as well.​
There were once sold (and might even still be) so-called "dual speed" hubs. Assuming they are based on repeaters (never certain, because "hub" is not a technical term), these devices consist of two repeaters - one at 10M and one at 100M - with a 2-port bridge (see below) connected between them. Ports are dynamically attached to one of the two repeaters depending on the speed of the device attached to the port.​
The problem with repeaters (in addition to being single-speed) is that they don't let networks scale to large sizes. As the number of devices increases, the number of collisions increases, because only one can transmit at a time.​
Bridges were invented to solve this problem. Instead of repeating the electrical signals, they have a chip that actually receives each packet, determines which port should be used to reach its destination, and transmits it on that port. At the lowest layers (where the CSMA/CD protocol runs), all the ports are isolated from each other, which means devices attached to two different ports can transmit at the same time without any collisions.​
Bridges do this using "MAC address learning", where they read the source MAC address of every packet and associate the address with the port the packet was received on. Afterwards, packets destined for that address will only be transmitted on that port. Traffic where the destination MAC address is unknown gets "flooded" (transmitted on all ports). Traffic destined for the Ethernet broadcast address (FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:FF) is also flooded.​
In bridges, the chip performing the packet processing has a memory buffer to store packets (since there's no guarantee that the packet's egress port will be available for immediate transmission. Because of this buffering, there is no requirement for all ports to run at the same speed. There can be a full mix of 10M, 100M and faster ports and even electrically-incompatible media (e.g. fiber optic).​
More advanced bridges include processors that run protocols (e.g. Spanning Tree) to detect loops in the network. They may also snoop on IGMP (the IP multicast control protocol) in order to intelligently handle multicast Ethernet packets. They may have other advanced features, like virtual Ethernet networks (VLANs) and quality of service (to prioritize some traffic over other traffic). These advanced bridges usually support management where an administrator can log-in to it for the purpose of configuring and monitoring its features.​
These days, bridges are often sold as "switches", but that is not an accurate term. "Switch" implies circuit-switching (like a crossbar switch or an ATM switch), which is not the case for most Ethernet networks. But that hasn't stopped companies from using the term for devices that technically should be called "bridges" or where the primary function is to move packets the way bridges do.​
Although bridges have a separate CSMA/CD "collision space" for each port, all ports are part of a single "broadcast domain", which means that large networks based entirely on bridges can encounter bandwidth problems in the presence of protocols that use a lot of broadcast traffic (e.g. many early Apple and Microsoft file-sharing protocols).​
Routers solve this problem. Each router port is a separate broadcast domain, and Ethernet packets are not forwarded between the ports. Instead, higher-level packet data (e.g. IPv4 or IPv6 addresses) is read and used to make forwarding decisions. When a router forwards a packet, the Ethernet encapsulation of the packet is removed, and a new Ethernet encapsulation is created before it is transmitted on the egress port. Routers may alter the packets in other ways, as well (e.g. decrementing a TTL value or IPv4 fragmentation).​
Routers are always used to forward packets between networks (e.g. corporations, service providers, home LANs, etc.) They are often used within large networks for a variety of different reasons, including minimization of internal broadcast traffic and internal firewall/security operations.​
These days, it is rare to find a device that is strictly a router. Most of the time, routers include bridge capabilities as well. You typically configure a group of ports (sometimes called a "bridge group") such that traffic is bridged between those ports. You then configure it to route traffic between the bridge groups.​
It is common these days for bridge/router devices like these to be sold as "switches" in order to emphasize their bridging capabilities (which may be the product's primary focus). This can become very confusing, because the term "switch" is also used to market bridge-only devices, including simple unmanaged bridges.​

"The End" I suggested you can skip to

Getting back to the original subject, most consumer Internet gateway routers (the kinds typically provided by an ISP or purchased in retail stores for residential and small business use) are typically simple hybrid bridge/router devices.

These products have two logical devices - a router and a bridge. While they may both be on a single chip, they behave as two separate connected devices. The router device typically has only two ports - a WAN port and a LAN port. The WAN port connects to your service provider's access network (cable modem, DSL modem, etc.) or an Ethernet port that you are expected to connect to your service provider's access device. The LAN port connects to the bridge.

All of the other ports you see (Ethernet and Wi-Fi, typically) connect to the bridge.

(BTW, this is why disabling the router capabilities is called putting it into "bridge mode". In this mode, the WAN port is directly connected to the bridge and the router does nothing.)

If you have a consumer router that forces all of the Ethernet ports to run at the same speed, then it is quite likely that the manufacturer is using a chip that connects all the Ethernet ports via a repeater instead of a bridge. This was clearly a cost-cutting decision, but I would consider it a very bad design. A chip with a bridge shouldn't cost much more and it makes the product much more useful (since the ports can run at different speeds.)

The workaround is pretty simple. Buy your own Ethernet bridge and attach it to one of your router's LAN ports. Then plug all your devices into the bridge. Simple bridges with Gigabit speeds are not very expensive. Some examples: 5-port ($20), 8-port ($42), 16-port ($68).
 


I have a vexing issue that started a couple of days ago. My new Mac Mini no longer can connect to my wireless router, on either of its networks. I get asked for the password, but it always fails. It can connect to the Comcast wireless unit right beside my router. I would think it is a router issue, but my iPad and old Mac Mini and MacBook Air all connect to my router without any trouble, from farther away than my new computer.

I updated new firmware on the router - didn't help (I didn't think it would). I told my Mac to forget the network and then added it back in, didn't help. I ran ethernet cable across the floor to the router, which is what I am now using but not something to leave in place for long. Any suggestions on what to try next?
 



I have a vexing issue that started a couple of days ago. My new Mac Mini no longer can connect to my wireless router, on either of its networks. I get asked for the password, but it always fails
Hi, Kopernicus; this seems to be a problem I had a couple of years ago. Turns out that the new device was using the same internal IP address (from the WiFi network) as one of the older devices. What I ended up doing was to power-cycle the Airport Extreme Base Station. The new device was then given its own IP address, and everything turned out to be fine.
 


Maybe hopping back just a bit in this thread for previous discussion about the same problem?
I had looked at the earlier posts, but I couldn't find anything that helped. Dave Decker's post is very similar to my problem, but he never posted a solution, if he found one. Just in case someone wonders, I live in the woods and the closest neighbor is at least 100 meters away, so no competing networks.

The most superficially logical possibility I have come up with is that the strength of my new Mini wireless signal had dropped below the point where it can connect to my Netgear router, and the Comcast router has enough strength/sensitivity to compensate.

Wireless Diagnostics will graph signal strength, but the graph shows no change in its flat line when I try to join the network. Diagnostics Scan module shows signal to noise is about (varies a bit each time I run scan) 40 for the network that I can connect to and the one I can't.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
The most superficially logical possibility I have come up with is that the strength of my new Mini wireless signal had dropped below the point where it can connect to my Netgear router, and the Comcast router has enough strength/sensitivity to compensate. I don't know any way to test that.
Well, I guess you could power off the Comcast router, and see if you can then connect to the Netgear router, but, FYI:
Apple said:
macOS 10.14.4
Resolves Wi-Fi connection issues that may occur after upgrading to macOS Mojave.
 


Well, I guess you could power off the Comcast router, and see if you can then connect to the Netgear router, but, FYI:
Apple said:
macOS 10.14.4
Resolves Wi-Fi connection issues that may occur after upgrading to macOS Mojave.
I had been at macOS 10.14.4 for a while before this happened.

I stumbled into an embarrassing solution. Turns out I had a tiny (13 mm) USB flash drive attached, but unmounted, and I had forgotten it. When I removed it, I could connect again.

I knew USB 3 attachments could interfere, but I would expect the interference to block any network. I wondered if the interference blocks 802.11b/g/n networks differently than 802.11ac networks? I did a bit of research and found a number of sites that said the USB3 interference is in the 2.4 GHz range, but not 5 GHz. Maybe I need a new 802.11ac capable router to protect myself from myself.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I stumbled into an embarrassing solution. Turns out I had a tiny (13 mm) USB flash drive attached, but unmounted, and I had forgotten it. When I removed it, I could connect again.
I knew USB 3 attachments could interfere, but I would expect the interference to block any network. I wondered if the interference blocks 802.11b/g/n networks differently than 802.11ac networks? I did a bit of research and found a number of sites that said the USB3 interference is in the 2.4 GHz range, but not 5 GHz. Maybe I need a new 802.11ac capable router to protect myself from myself.
I never thought of that, but it isn't at all surprising.

I can easily demonstrate severe interference between WiFi/Bluetooth and USB 3 devices - it's a very miserable problem (at least as bad as classic SCSI issues - worse, I think).

If I have a USB 3 storage device (USB 3 SSD) near the back of my 2015 MacBook Pro 15", it can make Bluetooth and WiFi quite flaky (to the point they don't work at all). Of course, it all depends on precise location, cable, device, etc., ad nauseum. I have to work around the problems - usually by repositioning the devices slightly.

802.11ac should be more robust than earlier wireless standards:
Wikipedia said:
IEEE 802.11ac
The specification has multi-station throughput of at least 1 gigabit per second and single-link throughput of at least 500 megabits per second (500 Mbit/s). This is accomplished by extending the air-interface concepts embraced by 802.11n: wider RF bandwidth (up to 160 MHz), more MIMO spatial streams (up to eight), downlink multi-user MIMO (up to four clients), and high-density modulation (up to 256-QAM).
...
In June 2013, Apple announced that the new MacBook Air features 802.11ac wireless networking capabilities, later announcing in October 2013 that the MacBook Pro and Mac Pro also featured 802.11ac.
Your note prompted me to check my WiFi connection (Option-click on the WiFi item in the menubar), and I found I'd stupidly been using 2.4GHz, though I have an 801.11ac AirPort Extreme router.

So, I opened up AirPort Utility on an iPhone and found that I could set a name specifically for the 5Ghz network, which I did. After making the change and waiting for the AirPort to restart, I manually connected to the new 5GHz network (new name) and then configured System Preferences > Network to put that 5GHz network at the top of my priority list.

Seems faster now...
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Turns out I had a tiny (13 mm) USB flash drive attached, but unmounted, and I had forgotten it. When I removed it, I could connect again. I knew USB 3 attachments could interfere, but I would expect the interference to block any network
It’s not just USB, apparently...
Apple said:
Use Apple Pencil with your iPad or iPad Pro
... If you're charging your Apple Pencil (2nd generation) with your iPad Pro and your car's keyless entry device (key fob) is nearby, signal interference might prevent you from unlocking your car with your key fob.
 


The workaround is pretty simple. Buy your own Ethernet bridge and attach it to one of your router's LAN ports. Then plug all your devices into the bridge. Simple bridges with Gigabit speeds are not very expensive.
Which is apparently sort of what I've done (only the fast ethernet devices are on the managed D-Link DG5-2205 "bridge", as I will call it henceforth), and now I know why it turned the LAN LED on the RT2600ac green. Thank you, David, I always read your posts with interest and dawning comprehension.

But is the RT2600ac in fact "a... router that forces all of the Ethernet ports to run at the same speed"? As far as I know, its LED status lights are only meant to indicate the speed of the attached device. And why, I wonder, don't the LEDs on the D-Link bridge show the Ooma Telo and the printer as fast ethernet (orange), as the RT2600ac did? It has always indicated the correct speed of an attached device in the other applications I've used it in. Perhaps the Telo and printer are in fact gigabit? Perhaps I should turn the RT2600ac's LEDs off? :-)

Thanks again.
 


I've a new MacBook Pro, and have been really frustrated on frequent wireless disconnects. Ran Wireless Diagnostics without really much hope that it'd tell me anything - but lo! It told me the 2.4GHz network I'm using is getting too much congestion from the many surrounding 2.4GHz networks! Switched to 5GHz, and been rock solid ever since. This one little insight also helped me solve problems I'd been having on a gaming PC (solved unfortunately by a wifi adapter switch - existing one did not support 5GHz), and made me re-evaluate my opinion on my existing WiFi router (I'd been playing a bit of a shell game every couple years, getting frustrated with WiFi and switching it out).
 


5GHz networks used to be less congested in my area, too. (That has since changed now that pretty much everyone has a multi-band access point). A few observations:
  • beam-steering access points (like Gen 6 AirPorts) with multiple MIMO antennas can help with interference regardless of band being used. I have found recent AirPort base stations to be phenomenally stable (hardware and software). Computers with MIMO antenna systems similarly benefit.
  • 5GHz signals tend to get attenuated faster than 2.4GHz signals, so less junk from the outside may interfere inside your home. Conversely, inside a reinforced concrete home, the 5GHz signals may have even more coverage problems than 2.4GHz ones.
  • Some older hardware can be upgraded - for example, I upgraded my (2012?) MacBook Air to 802.11ac by swapping in a more modern radio module.
  • Adding more hard-wired base stations throughout the house helps - both by potentially increasing the transmission speed as well as reducing the power needed to transmit reliably.
 


5GHz networks used to be less congested in my area, too. (That has since changed now that pretty much everyone has a multi-band access point). A few observations ...
Another important thing is that in the 5GHz spectrum, there are many more non-overlapping channels.

In the 2.4GHz spectrum, they all overlap, meaning there are only three non-overlapping channels (and only one if you use 40MHz carriers).

In the 5GHz spectrum, the channels are 10MHz apart, so half of them (skip every other channel) can be used with a 20MHz carrier without overlap.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Just a quick tip that might help other folks:
  1. On an AirPort Extreme 802.11ac (firmware 7.9.1), defined a separate 5GHz network name (Mac AirPort Utility.app > select device > Edit button > Wireless tab > Wireless Options button).
  2. Selected 5GHz network
  3. Looked at statistics via Option-click on WiFi menubar item to see Tx Rate, etc.
  4. Ran DSLReports Speed Test and noted results.
  5. Selected 2.4GHz network
  6. Looked at statistics via Option-click on WiFi menubar item to see Tx Rate, etc.
  7. Ran DSLReports Speed Test and noted results.
I found that the 2.4GHz network provided double the speed vs. the 5GHz network!

Your milage may well vary greatly, but that unexpected result suggests trying both options to see which works better.

(In this case, I see neighboring networks at both 2.4 and 5 GHz, and the computer is something like 10-15 meters from the AirPort with some walls and floors (wood/sheetrock) in between.)
 


15 meters (about 46 feet, with intervening walls) may favor the longer distance that 2.4 GHz networks provide good coverage, especially with the intervening obstacles
 


To me, wireless connections were always about convenience, not speed. For a reliably fast connection, nothing beats a wired connection... even something as slow as gigabit is usually faster for real-life applications (e.g. large backups) than any wireless system I've used... with the downside of being tethered.

Step up to 10Gbe copper/optical or 10NBase-T copper, and it's not even a contest. That trunk is so wide that most homeowners don't have the storage hardware on both ends to saturate it consistently. My 10Gbe connection does large transfers in seconds that my WiFi connection will do in minutes.

The speeds are so different, I will manually turn off Wifi when my Mac is on the 10Gbe network, because the service order preference in the Network control panel does not seem to be respected consistently or somehow the WiFi is interfering with connection speeds to the server.
 


I found that the 2.4GHz network provided double the speed vs. the 5GHz network!
I’ve found much the same thing and try to ensure I’m running on the 2.4GHz side (my MacBook Pro automagically switches to the 5GHz side on reboot, or sometimes just randomly on its own).

For context, we live on a rural farm, so there are no neighbors to compete with, and we’re in a 100-year-old four-square that’s had much of its plaster and lath replaced with modern drywall.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
To me, wireless connections were always about convenience, not speed. For a reliably fast connection, nothing beats a wired connection... even something as slow as gigabit is usually faster for real-life applications (e.g. large backups) than any wireless system I've used...

Step up to 10Gbe copper/optical or 10NBase-T copper, and it's not even a contest. That trunk is so wide that most homeowners don't have the storage hardware on both ends to saturate it consistently.
That's a bit confusing, as 10GigE is about the same speed as 10Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2 or Thunderbolt 1 and much slower than Thunderbolt 2 or 3. Since Macs can "saturate" a Thunderbolt connection, it doesn't seem that it would be difficult to saturate 10GigE. In other words, I expect (and have seen in GigE tests) that you could do a backup or file transfer far faster over Thunderbolt than over 10GigE, and 10GigE might even be the more expensive option of the two. For computer-to-computer transfers, as I've posted in the past, Thunderbolt Target Disk Mode has extremely poor performance for unknown reasons that Apple has never explained or justified.

I agree about wired vs. wireless speeds and reliability, though, and another factor is wireless radio interference from USB 3 devices (and maybe also from high-speed video cables).
 


That's a bit confusing, as 10GigE is about the same speed as 10Gbps USB 3.1 ...it doesn't seem that it would be difficult to saturate 10GigE.
My understanding is that Thunderbolt/USB-C data transfer is, relatively speaking, unmediated direct memory access transactions, while Ethernet chips have to handle packet collisions as well as broken and partial packets in addition to the flow of "normal" packets. Is that incorrect?
 


For computer-to-computer transfers, as I've posted in the past, Thunderbolt Target Disk Mode has extremely poor performance for unknown reasons that Apple has never explained or justified.
This probably is not the explanation you've sought from Apple, but I wonder if it could be the cables that proliferated when first we entered the "donglegate" era.

Apple's first Thunderbolt 3/USB-C 4-port laptops shipped with cables that were unlabeled and not designed to carry data, but which could do so, slowly, but with errors that would often terminate the transmissions. Could that be the root of this problem?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
My understanding is that Thunderbolt/USB-C data transfer is, relatively speaking, unmediated direct memory access transactions, while Ethernet chips have to handle packet collisions as well as broken and partial packets in addition to the flow of "normal" packets. Is that incorrect?
That's my understanding, as well, and I just skipped over those issues, so, yes, Ethernet is likely to be even slower than what I described vs. USB, Thunderbolt et al.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Apple's first Thunderbolt 3/USB-C 4-port laptops shipped with cables that were unlabeled and not designed to carry data, but which could do so, slowly, but with errors that would often terminate the transmissions. Could that be the root of this problem?
That's absolutely not the case here. I never use any of those cables for anything but charging. The Thunderbolt cables I used were fully qualified for full Thunderbolt speed, and, in fact, delivered that speed with Thunderbolt storage devices, but not with Thunderbolt Target Disk Mode.
 


That's absolutely not the case here. I never use any of those cables for anything but charging. The Thunderbolt cables I used were fully qualified for full Thunderbolt speed, and, in fact, delivered that speed with Thunderbolt storage devices, but not with Thunderbolt Target Disk Mode.
Does this generalize to using the Migration Assistant to populate a new Thunderbolt 3 MacBook Pro from an older Thunderbolt 3 MacBook Pro? If I cannot couple the two computers together using a certified Thunderbolt 3 cable, what is the best choice for migrating the data?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Does this generalize to using the Migration Assistant to populate a new Thunderbolt 3 MacBook Pro from an older Thunderbolt 3 MacBook Pro? If I cannot couple the two computers together using a certified Thunderbolt 3 cable, what is the best choice for migrating the data?
It will work but not as quickly as expected, and migrating from an external SSD backup may be faster.
 


I'm in the process of selecting another Synology NAS for work, and the model that seems to best match our small office environment is the relatively new DS1019+. It's a five-disk NAS, with two slots for NVMe cache (read or write or read/write), but the reviews have lamented it is only 1-Gigabit Ethernet and offers no upgrade path to 10Gbit. It does come with two 1Gbit RJ45 ports, which can be used for link aggregation for more speed, though from what I've read, that isn't easy to set up and wouldn't much matter in the real world when the connected computers are themselves limited to 1Gbit.

Over my years of using computers, I've paid considerable amounts to "future-proof" for technology options that unfortunately never seem to distill from vapor. Or I find, as in my adoption of Thunderbolt 1, that my expensive technology is effectively (or even absolutely) obsoleted.

Given my experience with Synologies "limited" to 1Gbit, I've concluded that's adequate for the kind of files we store on the server and the kind of backups we do. If we were a video-editing shop, I doubt any speed but the fastest would be enough.
I expect (and have seen in GigE tests) that you could do a backup or file transfer far faster over Thunderbolt than over 10GigE
This YouTube Video from "NASCompares" supports what Ric posted, and explains it with some real-world examples.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSiKrT0ImPI​

(Do note the Thunderbolt advantage is for users able to "direct connect" to the storage system.)

Thunderbolt does seem to have real world limits and issues.
For computer-to-computer transfers, as I've posted in the past, Thunderbolt Target Disk Mode has extremely poor performance for unknown reasons that Apple has never explained or justified.
Apologies for linking to YouTube videos instead of more useful text explanations, but whichever search tool I use, I'm directed to these, and not text posts. This one, from a UK company, "SPANdotCom," that has a very good series of NAS video tutorials and explanations, delves into differences between Thunderbolt and 10GbitE and describes at a semi-technical level where and why 10GbitE may be the better choice than Thunderbolt, though it is very much a "network-centric" discussion.
https://youtu.be/PKeZD9QjM74?t=85​

One consideration. News out of Computex (May 28 - June 1, 2019) foretells major improvements in the PCIe interface on which Thunderbolt data transfer is based, with possible implications for current investment in Thunderbolt 3 - and 10GbitE:
Engadget said:
Gigabyte's next-gen SSD shows the incredible potential of PCIe 4.0
It can hit 5 GB/s, over 50 percent faster than the best NVMe drives right now.
Broadcom said:
BCM57508 - 200GbE
The BCM57508 200G PCIe 4.0 Ethernet Controller builds upon the success of the widely-deployed NetXtreme E-Series architecture by combining a high-bandwidth Ethernet controller with a unique set of highly-optimized hardware acceleration engines to enhance network performance and improve server efficiency.
Even with PCIe 4 just entering the supply chain, PCIe seems to be following along at a faster than historical pace.
Techspot said:
PCIe 5.0 specification announced, will bring 128GB/s transfer speeds
Taking 18 months to develop, PCIe 5.0 doubles the peak bandwidth of PCIe 4.0 from 64GB/second to 128GB/s via x16 configuration.

The reason PCIe 5.0 has been ratified before PCIe 4.0’s consumer launch is the latter’s delay; having stuck with a four-year release cycle for PCIe 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0, there were seven years between the arrival of PCIe 3.0 in 2010 and the completion of PCIe 4.0 in 2017.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
This one, from a UK company, "SPANdotCom," that has a very good series of NAS video tutorials and explanations, delves into differences between Thunderbolt and 10GbitE and describes at a semi-technical level where and why 10GbitE may be the better choice than Thunderbolt, though it is very much a "network-centric" discussion.
https://youtu.be/PKeZD9QjM74?t=85
I took a brief look at that, and the argument for 10GbE seemed really weak: that hard drive NAS can't take advantage of faster speeds. Well, of course, hard drives are slow, but that's not at all the case for SSDs. 10GbE should be fast enough for SD Card readers, too.
 


My understanding is that Thunderbolt/USB-C data transfer is, relatively speaking, unmediated direct memory access transactions, while Ethernet chips have to handle packet collisions as well as broken and partial packets in addition to the flow of "normal" packets. Is that incorrect?
This is going to depend heavily on the NIC [Network Interface Controller] you're using. A high performance NIC typically includes a dedicated packet processing chip (or an FPGA programmed for packet forwarding) and should support a DMA interface to system memory. When coupled with high-performance packet forwarding software (e.g. something based on DPDK instead of your OS kernel's generic device drivers), a modern computer can definitely keep up with these high bit rates - up to the limits of the PCIe bus itself. (Of course, the Ethernet ports built-in to the motherboard on a typical PC or Mac will almost certainly not be a high performance NIC.)

That being said, you probably won't achieve those speeds just running typical applications (web browsers, video streamers, etc.) on a consumer network. Most applications use the OS kernel for packet forwarding, and OS kernels are optimized for overall system performance, not just network packet forwarding, and therefore will probably not be able to keep up with a 10G (or 40G or 100G or 400G) network interface.

As for packet collisions and the like, that is not likely to be the case. Although shared buses (as is the case with old-style 10/100M Ethernet with dumb repeater-hubs) are theoretically possible with modern Ethernet (CSMA/CD is still part of the specifications), anyone running a high-speed Ethernet network will have each host connected directly to a port on a switch-type hub (a bridge or a router). In such a topology, collisions are impossible, and full-duplex (where a host can transmit and receive at the same time) is typical. With a network like this, your performance may be limited by the capabilities of the switches you are using, congestion (from other hosts on the network), and other related things, but not from collisions.

Packet corruption is always possible, but it should be very rare if your cabling infrastructure is properly built, according to EIA/TIA specifications. If you're seeing a lot of packet corruption, then you need to inspect your cables and premises wiring, because something is not up to spec for the Ethernet standard you're deploying.
 


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