Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Okay, follow me closely.
This moment, I’m sitting in my living room with my PowerBook. iTunes is running and I’ve connected to my shared library located on my server in the den. My internet connection is fed wirelessly via a Netgear router in the den’s closet. On my laptop, I’ve selected my AirPort Express Base Station to which I’m feeding my music. My AP Express is set to client mode and connected as another IP to my Netgear router. Because of this, I am pretty sure my PowerBook is not able to go directly to the APE.
If I’m right, that means my music is going wirelessly from the server in the den to my laptop, then streamed from iTunes on my laptop back to the router in the den, then a third time from the router to the AP Express back out here in the living room which is connected to my audio system.
I’m suddenly reminded of the scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when one of the bratty kids is sent in a million pieces over the heads of everyone else and into a television. Lotsa “stuff” flying through the airwaves here at Casa Bennett, eh?
Something is puzzling me, though. At first, I was getting sporadic dropouts of the audio. Eventually I remembered that a while back I was doing some experimentation and had disabled 802.11g on the Netgear. It never got turned back on, and that was never a big deal since my PowerBook only has 802.11b. Tonight, I turned the faster protocol back on for the Netgear and the dropouts immediately ceased. But by my calculations, 802.11b should still have been able to handle it. If I remember correctly, even though 802.11b is advertised as 11 megabit, in practice it’s about 4-5. According to my bandwidth meter, I’m pulling the compressed iTunes stream from my server to my laptop around 20 KB/sec which is roughly 0.15 megabit. Then, the lossless encoded stream back out to my AirPort Express is showing 65-75 KB/sec which is maybe a little more than half a megabit. Even if I’m right about having to go up to the Netgear and then back down to the AP Express, adding all that up, I should be well under 2 megabit. Granted, I was doing a little bit of other downloading, but nothing too intensive. So what gives?
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