Airport: What is the Multicast Rate?

   Posted August 25, 2008 by David Kirk in Apple Mac

Scanning through the wireless options, many users wonder what the “multicast rate” setting is. For once, higher is not necessarily better. Keep reading to learn what your multicast rate should be.


Multicast Rate options include 1 Mbps, 2 Mbps, 5.5 Mbps, and 11 Mbps. The default is 2 Mbps. What is the best multicast rate?

First, a little background. Wireless efficiency is all about signal strength to noise ratios. More signal and less noise is best. Even if you have kicking high signal if there is a great deal of wireless noise, your connection still may be poor. Wireless noise is often increased by other electronic devices such as wireless phones and microwaves. The higher the noise the slower the communication between your wifi device and your wireless router. If these communications are slower, your wifi speed will be slower.

Tweaking your multicast rate is unlikely to improve your signal to noise ratio.

The multicast rate is the baseline level that a wifi device must be able to deliver in order to connect to the router. Lower multicast rates mean weaker, farther signals are allowed to connection. Higher multicast rates mean that only close, strong signals are allowed. Multicast is basically asking what’s the minimum quality that is needed to allow a device and your wifi router to maintain a connection.

Thus, turning up your multicast rate will decrease the effective range of your wifi network.

Typically, the default settings work well here. If you are in a very high device environment, you can increase this setting (to 5.5 or 11 Mbps) to decrease the range in which these devices will talk to your router.

If you are trying to increase the range of your router, decreasing the multicast rate (1 Mbps) will help. Just realize that at the edge of your range, the effective wifi speeds may be very slow because of the low signal to noise ratio.

In case you are having trouble finding this setting. Open your AirPort Utility. Click Manual Setup. With the Airport tab selected, next select the Wireless section tab. Then click the Wireless Options… button.

 

About David Kirk

David Kirk is one of the original founders of tech-recipes and is currently serving as editor-in-chief. Not only has he been crafting tutorials for over ten years, but in his other life he also enjoys taking care of critically ill patients as an ICU physician.
View more articles by David Kirk

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