Wireless connections are slower than their hardwire counterparts; this is due to the time-delay introduced while your system collects data packets from waves in the air. To gauge the difference in performance, you'll need to connect your Mac to an online speed test that will test the capabilities of your Internet connection. These speed tests are offered free of charge by a number of entities; your ISP is typically one of them. You can often visit its website to test your connection.
Power on your computer and connect to the Internet as you normally do.
Open a web browser, such as Firefox or Safari.
Shut down any programs that are actively using any bandwidth; they will otherwise affect the results you get from any speed test. You will also want to disable any active firewalls, as they may prevent the test from properly gauging your performance.
Navigate to your ISP's website and find its speed test, or use one of the many speed test sites available (see Resources). Regardless of which speed test you choose, each will prompt you to select a location closest to you geographically; be sure to select it.
Refrain from doing anything during the speed test and take note of the numbers given to you for downstream and upstream rates. Compare these results with the amount of bandwidth you are paying for.
- While there is some expected variance in performance due to the fact you're using a wireless connection, if the numbers are far below their expected performance you may want to contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to ensure there are no problems on your end.