I setup a Wireless-G and Wireless-N Dual Band network (see here: Notes on a Dual Band Network) and wondered what a Real World Example would be like.
I wanted to find something reasonable for a test, and found something I think makes sense.
Scenario: I use my PowerBook and EyeTV to record TV shows for watching on the AppleTV or iPhone. After I took out commercials, the file was 940 MB (about 40 minutes of MPEG-2 video).
What I needed to do was get that file to my iMac, where I would convert it using VisualHub and then sync it via iTunes to the AppleTV.
Transferring the file from my PowerBook to my iMac over 802.11g took 15 minutes, 45 seconds.
I wondered how fast it would have been to transfer it via Ethernet, so I went upstairs, grabbed a cable off the Airport Extreme, went back downstairs, wired the two computers together, disabled WiFi on the Powerbook to make sure it used the Ethernet connection, then dragged the file via Finder. Transfer time took only 45 seconds.
The third test was copying the same file again from my MacBook to my iMac over 802.11n which took 2 minutes, 14 seconds.
So which was fastest? You’d probably say Ethernet, wouldn’t you? But, of course you have to also add into that the time it took me to go upstairs, unplug the Ethernet cable from my router, bring it back downstairs and connect the two computers.
The whole point is that we don’t have Ethernet cables handy, and we shouldn’t need them. Sure, if you’re transferring 500GB from one machine to another, get yourself an Ethernet (or, better, Gigabit Ethernet) connection going. But for casual transferring of large files, 802.11n makes a huge practical difference.