Macworld Forums

Macworld Forums: Can Somebody Explain 'Gigabit'? - Macworld Forums

Jump to content

Page 1 of 1
  • You cannot start a new topic
  • You cannot reply to this topic

Can Somebody Explain 'Gigabit'?

#1 User is offline   Rcovell 

  • Veteran
  • PipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 1,167
  • Joined: 07-August 01

Posted 09 December 2012 - 09:33 PM

I have a friend who will be buying an iPad 4 and will need help setting it up. That brings me to my question.

I know that 'gigabit ethernet' is basically a fast connection, what does it mean in relation to actual use of a computer or wireless device ie. Airport Express or Extreme? BTW, we will be using an Airport Express vs. an Airport Extreme to save money.

My friend currently has a Time Warner cable modem hooked directly to her old G4 iMac. I'm going to feed the modem to an ethernet switch and connect to it the iMac and the Airport.
Do we need a gigabit switch or will a 'regular' switch be OK? Any advantages noticeable using a gigabit version of anything?

Is using a gigabit device like creating a chain of devices where each device needs to be capable of gigabit performance in order to benefit?

Thanks, Bob.
0

#2 User is offline   bastion 

  • Power User
  • PipPipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 9,272
  • Joined: 14-October 04

Posted 10 December 2012 - 04:26 AM

View PostRcovell, on 09 December 2012 - 09:33 PM, said:

I have a friend who will be buying an iPad 4 and will need help setting it up. That brings me to my question.

I know that 'gigabit ethernet' is basically a fast connection, what does it mean in relation to actual use of a computer or wireless device ie. Airport Express or Extreme? BTW, we will be using an Airport Express vs. an Airport Extreme to save money.

My friend currently has a Time Warner cable modem hooked directly to her old G4 iMac. I'm going to feed the modem to an ethernet switch and connect to it the iMac and the Airport.
Do we need a gigabit switch or will a 'regular' switch be OK? Any advantages noticeable using a gigabit version of anything?

Is using a gigabit device like creating a chain of devices where each device needs to be capable of gigabit performance in order to benefit?

Thanks, Bob.


That term refers to the ability of a particular piece of hardware to push information through a communication channel at a certain rate of speed. In a chain of devices communication from one end to the other will be limited by the slowest device. So, for example, two computers that are capable of Gb communication that are connected through a 100Mb switch cannot talk to each other faster than 100Mb. (And, in reality, even that's a hard cap that won't be reached, it's not a guarantee.) What'd be the difference between the 100Mb and Gb switches? Well, approximately an order of magnitude difference in how faster two devices connected through that switch can exchange data. If you're transferring large files it can be a huge help. If you're playing LAN games not such much.

Note that in the case of a WiFi base station with Ethernet ports, having one machine connected via Ethernet and a second via WiFi will mean the two machines would be limited in communication with each other by the slower of their two connections to the base - generally the WiFi.
0

#3 User is offline   smax013 

  • Veteran
  • PipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 3,177
  • Joined: 06-July 07

Posted 10 December 2012 - 09:33 PM

View PostRcovell, on 09 December 2012 - 09:33 PM, said:

I have a friend who will be buying an iPad 4 and will need help setting it up. That brings me to my question.

I know that 'gigabit ethernet' is basically a fast connection, what does it mean in relation to actual use of a computer or wireless device ie. Airport Express or Extreme? BTW, we will be using an Airport Express vs. an Airport Extreme to save money.


If you are only hooking up an iPad 4, then a Gigabit connection for the router will not matter. The iPad will be using WiFi and the ethernet connection on the cable modem is likely only a "Fast Ethernet" connection...aka 100 Mbit compared to the 1000 Mbit or 1 Gbit "Gigabit" connection.

Quote

My friend currently has a Time Warner cable modem hooked directly to her old G4 iMac. I'm going to feed the modem to an ethernet switch and connect to it the iMac and the Airport.
Do we need a gigabit switch or will a 'regular' switch be OK? Any advantages noticeable using a gigabit version of anything?


If the only two devices on the network are the iMac and the iPad, then Gigabit won't matter as your will be "bottlenecked" by the WiFi connection when "move" stuff between the iPad and iMac.

Quote

Is using a gigabit device like creating a chain of devices where each device needs to be capable of gigabit performance in order to benefit?

Thanks, Bob.


Basically, yes. If you want to take advantage of Gigabit speeds than ALL devices (both "computing devices" and the network switch) as well as the ethernet cables must be Gigabit capable (note a "computing device" could be computer or some other ethernet connected device.

I will use myself as an example. Both of my computers have Gigabit ports and all my switches are Gigabit and is my NAS device. Thus, when I transfer files between computers or between a computer and the NAS, I can achieve Gigabit speeds (I don't get the full 1 Gbit due to "overhead", but pretty close). OTOH, when I sync stuff from my computer to my original version AppleTV (i.e. the one with the hard drive), it is much slower as the Apple TV only has a Fast Internet connection (i.e. 100 Mbit).
0

#4 User is offline   Rcovell 

  • Veteran
  • PipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 1,167
  • Joined: 07-August 01

Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:51 PM

Thanks for the replies, I was a little fuzzy on real world applications.
I've ordered a fast ethernet switch for my friend and it sounds like that will be fine as the new iPad will be wi-fi and her iMac will connect via ethernet.
She's never had a wi-fi network, so anything will be new and exciting for her.

Thanks, Bob.
0

Share this topic:


Page 1 of 1
  • You cannot start a new topic
  • You cannot reply to this topic

1 User(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users