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Macbook Pro delivers blazing speed in Gigabit Wi-Fi test

All five tested products validate the superior throughput of 802.11ac

By Eric Geier, Network World
January 27, 2014 06:05 AM ET

Network World - Gigabit Wi-Fi is starting to appear in mobile devices, so we got our hands on three smartphones and two laptops running the 802.11ac standard and put them to the test. Though you won't see anywhere near Gigabit speeds in real-world environments, our testing proves that 802.11ac can offer increased throughput over 802.11n.

We tested the 802.11ac wireless capabilities in three Android smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and Motorola Moto X. Plus, we tested a Dell XPS 15 laptop running Windows 8.1 and the MacBook Pro running Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks.

We ran throughput tests of each device at a distance of 25 feet from our access point with one wall in between. Our top performer was the MacBook Pro, which wasn’t a surprise since it has three streams, whereas the other devices only have one or two streams. The MacBook Pro delivered a maximum throughput of 463Mbps and an average of 318Mbps.

The next best performer was the Dell XPS 15 laptop, averaging 219Mbps, which was the only 802.11ac two-stream device. All three of the smartphones were single-stream. The Galaxy Note 3 did the best at an average of 154Mbps, the Galaxy S4 was second at 105Mbps, and the Moto X placed last at only 48Mbps.

+ ALSO ON NETWORK WORLD First look: Gigabit Wi-Fi adapters | Watch the slideshow version of this test+

Here are the individual reviews:

Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung Galaxy S4

The Samsung Galaxy S4 (SGH-I337) was activated with AT&T and running Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean). It features a 5-inch wide full-HD Super AMOLED screen. It comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 1.9 GHz Quad-Core Processor or an Exynos 1.6 GHz Octa-Core Processor with 2GB RAM. It’s available with 16G, 32G, or 64GB memory and a microSD slot supporting up to 64GB.

The Galaxy S4 is officially Wi-Fi Certified and is loaded with the Broadcom BCM4335 wireless chipset. It offers integrated support for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. For Wi-Fi, the S4 offers single stream 802.11ac, with maximum hypothetical data rates of 150Mbps via 2.4 GHz and 433Mbps via 5 GHz.

The BCM4335 wireless chipset supports Broadcom's TurboQAM technology that implements the 256-QAM mode in both the 2.4- and 5-GHz bands to help increase data rates. To help increase the Wi-Fi range and performance, it supports beamforming for 802.11n/ac, low-density parity-check (LDPC) code, and space-time block code (STBC). Plus the chipset features advanced idle power consumption to help extend the S4’s battery life. It also has integrated support for Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi Certified Miracast, and the Wi-Fi Certified Passpoint technologies.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

The Samsung Ga laxy Note 3 (SM-N900T) was activated with T-Mobile and running Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean). It has a 5.7 inch full HD Super AMOLED screen. The LTE model comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 2.3-GHz Quad-Core Processor and the 3G model with an Exynos 1.9 GHz Octa-Core Processor, with with 3GB RAM. They are offered with 32G or 64GB memory and a microSD slot supporting up to 64GB.

The Note 3 is officially Wi-Fi Certified and is loaded with the Broadcom BCM4339 wireless chipset, offering single stream 802.11a/ac/b/g/n with maximum hypothetical data rates of 150Mbps via 2.4GHz and 433Mbps via 5 GHz.

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