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Can your computer get a gig?

To achieve the maximum speeds offered by Google Fiber, it's important to ensure that the network adapters on the various devices connected to your network are compatible. The first step in this process is to determine the speed capability of your network adapter. Common terminology includes:

  • 100Mbps = 100baseTx = Fast Ethernet

  • 1000Mbps or 1Gbps = 1000BASE-T = Gigabit Ethernet or GigE (required to get the full Google Fiber Internet experience)

To determine the speed capability of your network interface card (NIC), follow the instructions in the section below that applies to your computer.

Mac OS X systems
  1. Click the Apple icon in the menu bar and choose About This Mac.

  2. Click More Info.

  3. Click Support in the top right corner to display OS X and Macintosh resource information.

  4. Click Specifications in the Macintosh Resources section.

  5. Review the specifications to find the speed of your Mac's Ethernet interface card. To find the speed, search the specifications for Ethernet.

    • If you find Gigabit Ethernet, your NIC is gigabit-capable.
    • If you find 10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet, your NIC is gigabit-capable.
    • If you find 10/100baseTx Ethernet your NIC is not gigabit-capable.

    MacBook Air computers don't have Ethernet ports, so their specifications have no references to Ethernet. However, you can connect a MacBook Air to Ethernet with an Apple USB Ethernet Adapter.

Windows
  1. On your Windows desktop, right-click Computer, and select Properties to open the System control panel.

  2. Click Device Manager.

    If the Computer icon does not appear on your desktop, click Start, and then select Computer.

  3. Click the right arrow next to Network Adapters.

    A list of network adapters appears. Ignore any Bluetooth devices listed.

    Sometimes, you can tell the speed capability of a network interface card by its name. For example, in "Intel(R) PRO/1000 MT Network Connection," the "1000" tells you it is capable of 1000Mbps or 1Gbps. If you're not sure, you can use your favorite search engine to look up the name of your NIC. Generally, you can find the speed capability in any description you find for that card.

Chromebooks

Several Chromebook models do not have an Ethernet interface card. The following list describes Chromebooks and the Ethernet capabilities of each.

  • Chromebox: GigE

  • Samsung Chromebook 550: GigE

  • Acer C7: GigE

  • HP Pavilion: 10/100Mbps

  • Samsung Chromebook: no Ethernet NIC

  • Chromebook pixel: no Ethernet NIC

  • Samsung Series 5: no Ethernet NIC

  • CR-48: no Ethernet NIC

  • Acer AC700: no Ethernet NIC

If your computer doesn't have a built-in Ethernet interface card, a USB Gigabit Ethernet adapter may be available for purchase. USB3 is required to achieve full gigabit speeds. Contact your manufacturer for details.

If you find that your Ethernet NIC or network adapter is not gigabit-capable, consider replacing it with a new network adapter that supports Gigabit Ethernet.

If you find that your network adapter is gigabit-capable but you're not getting the speeds you expect, consider replacing your Ethernet cable. Ethernet cables are rated as follows:

  • Cat5 = 100 Mbps
  • Cat5e = 1000 Mbps
  • Cat6 = 10 Gbps

Cat5e or Cat6 will support gigabit speeds. In most cases, Cat5e should suffice and is less expensive than Cat6.

Even with a gigabit-capable Ethernet interface, you still might not get the expected speed due to other internal hardware or software inefficiencies (such as chipsets, motherboards, or other running applications).

See supported OSs and browsers for detailed information.

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