A client recently upgraded his Comcast Internet service to Xfinity Blast, which has a claimed download speed of 105 Mbps (megabits per second). After upgrading to a new Xfinity modem/Wi-Fi router combo box, he discovered that his Playstation 3 would not connect to the Playstation Network.
TekBasics accompanied the client to a Comcast office where the combo box was exchanged for a standalone modem. We connected the standalone modem directly to the 2012 Mac mini with an Ethernet cable and the download speed tested at 123 Mbps. Wow!
But the client didn’t want an Ethernet cable connection because it would have to be routed along the floor molding and around a door frame to reach the Mac on the other side of the room.
So we connected a new Apple AirPort Express Base Station. Going wireless the download speed dropped to 34 Mbps… a steep drop in performance! The AirPort Express was running at the 2.4GHz frequency. After TekBasics fiddled and diddled with the settings to use the 5GHz frequency the download speed increased to 50 Mbps, which was acceptable to the client. Plus, the Playstation 3 now connected to the Playstation Network.
Using the 5GHz frequency does not always result in a faster connection speed, but there is less interference in the 5GHz band. There are tradeoffs, however. The 5GHz signal does not have the strength of a 2.4GHz signal, so usually a 5GHz signal does not travel as far and does not penetrate walls as easily as a 2.4GHz signal.
A 5GHz Wi-Fi connection worked best for this particular client who is located in a condo building with many wireless networks. For the best network performance it’s important to customize your network to your individual situation.
UPDATE 1/11/2015: The client wants to add a Playstation 4, also connected via an Ethernet cable. Because the AirPort Express has only one Ethernet connection it was exchanged for an AirPort Extreme, which has three Ethernet ports. With the AirPort Extreme the client’s download speed increased to 124 Mbps… AMAZING!