Stock shortages suggest possible new iMac and Airport Express on the way

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MacRumors is citing low stocks of Airport Express base stations as suggesting that a faster 802.11ac model is expected soon to match the capabilities of the latest Macs. This would offer wifi speeds almost three times faster than current 802.11n models, a capability that has already been incorporated into the current Airport Extreme and Time Capsule models.

We’re also hearing similar whispers about constrained supplies of iMacs, alongside price-cuts by resellers …  Read more

New MacBook Air software issue artificially limiting 802.11ac transfer speeds

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In its extensive review of the new 2013 MacBook Air, AnandTech notes an issue with the machine’s new 802.11ac WiFi capabilities that it says is limiting the faster Wi-Fi chip’s potential. While it was able to get an average of 533Mbps using the iPerf networking tool, Anand found real world file transfers would only get 21.2MB/s or 169.6Mbps:

I disabled all other wireless in my office. Still, no difference. I switched ethernet cables, I tried different Macs, I tried copying from a PC, I even tried copying smaller files – none of these changes did anything. At most, I only saw 21.2MB/s over 802.11ac. I double checked my iPerf data. 533Mbps. Something weird was going on. I plugged in Apple’s Thunderbolt Gigabit Ethernet adaptor and saw 906Mbps, clearly the source and the MacBook Air were both capable of high speed transfers. What I tried next gave me some insight into what was going on. I setup web and FTP servers on the MacBook Air and transferred files that way. I didn’t get 533Mbps, but I broke 300Mbps. For some reason, copying over AFP or SMB shares was limited to much lower performance. This was a protocol issue.

According to the review, the problem is likely with the OS X networking stack that is for some reason artificially limiting the capabilities of 802.11ac: Read more

Next Mac ‘Gigabit Wifi’ spotted? Broadcom BCM94360CD PCI-E mini WLAN+Bluetooth card in the wild

There have been plenty of hints over the past months that indicate that Apple’s incoming next round of MacBook Air/Pros would contain 802.11AC Gigabit wifi chips, not the least of which was code we found referencing ‘802.11AC‘ in 10.8.4 Betas.

TonyMacx86, found some interesting parts on Chinese VR-Zone today that could be the next 802.11AC boards in Macs, widely expected to be announced at WWDC next month. The Broadcom BCM94360CD PCI-E mini custom combo WLAN+Bluetooth card supports IEEE 802.11ac, the next standard in wireless computer networking. Interestingly, it also looks like it may fit in current iMacs/MacBooks which could mean aftermarket updates could be possible.

This compares to the current iMac cards via iFixit below: Read more

Broadcom launches next-gen 5G Wi-Fi chips with gigabit ethernet speed and increased range

Broadcom Corporation is a global innovator for wired and wireless communications, and today the company announced its first family of 802.11ac chips designed for a broad range of product segments.

The chips, also called “5G Wi-Fi” by Broadcom, do not correlate with 3G and 4G cellphone networks. The BCM4360, BCM4352, BCM43526 and BCM43516 chips improve Wi-Fi’s range and are significantly more efficient. Perhaps, the most tantalizing aspect is that the 5GHz-based technology has speeds beyond 1Gbps and is currently in the high-end range of consumer Ethernet.

Apple currently uses Broadcom Wi-Fi Chips in its Mac line and in its iOS devices, including iPad and iPods.  The latest MacBook Airs have the Broadcom BCM4322 Intensi-fi® Single-Chip 802.11n Wi-Fi Transceiver.  Maybe we will see something a little faster later this year…

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