Written by: Adam Christianson
Many (including myself) have reported that side by side the iBook G4 had a better reception and range of wireless networks than the PowerBook G4. This was reported to be the case due to the construction material of the machines. I have not read any reports about the MacBook Pro but it’s being reported that the MacBook has the best range of all tested Apple notebooks, even the iBook G4.
Apple have redesigned the wireless antennas on the MacBook which they have placed horizontally on the left and vertically on the right, specifically for that model. The reception and range is reported to be such an improvement that some users are picking up networks they didn’t even know existed using other models in the same area.
Officially Apple say the MacBook only supports the wireless standards of 802.11b and 802.11g, however it appears to be connecting flawlessly with 802.11a also.
From simply observing an “Apple Store Line Buddy” while waiting for the 5th ave store opening, I can say the MacBook seemed to have something improved in its wifi. Usually on my iBook, I have to use dashboard widgets to find signals due to the finder/menu bar airport “toggle” [for lack of the term] being absolutely cluless when it comes to sniffing-out wifi. This wasn’t true for the macbook, however, as the darn thing had a list that ran off the screen just from the menu bar. I can’t say if all of the signals were truely accessable, but from the list of signals available, comepared to even what I saw on my JiWire widget, things are really looking up for us travelers and city folk.
oh yeah, NYC may not really be a quality example. Signals are like hot cakes and can be found everywhere. This being said, other places may not impress you as much as 5th Ave & 59th St Manhattan. Either way, a list that runs off the screen would make any of us cheer like a school boy. All the best to you new owners.
I can say from experience that finding a WiFi spot in NY is a trivial task at best.
Even on my Dell Inspiron 600m, I used to pick up hotspots all the time. Even on the LIRR on the way back home. Netstumbler would light up like a Christmas Tree as I pulled into each station.
But being out here in a more quiet community in Southern California, it’s not as bountiful. Hard to compare with my new Macbook Pro. I’ll have to check it out again when I fly into NY this summer for a visit (and yes I do plan on visiting the 5th Ave store then).
I picked up a new Black MacBook and when I fired it up it found a a neighbors signal that I had never seen before on my iBook G4.
@Michael: Now that is impressive. I have heard many similar reports from people outside of NY (of course, this article wasn’t about NY). It looks like money invested in new antennas has been well worth it for Apple.
[Update: It would seem the reason for much of the previous portables wireless reception issues stem from over indulgence in the glue on the antennas. Speculation has it that being less generous with that glue has helped improve the MacBooks reception as much as the new antenna design. I am trying to confirm this now and will further update when appropriate.]
great information, thank