Our windows machine fried, so we bought a mac mini (a few weeks ago). Inbuilt wireless, you know. We put it in the spot where the windows machine was, and the wireless connection is ropey. If I connect to our household wireless network and then ping a remote machine from the command line, I'll get dropped packets (only a few percent, but dropped packets nonetheless). If I watch some video clip on e.g. the bbc news website, I'll get 10 seconds of clip and then 3 seconds of "loading..." and then 10 more seconds of clip etc.
We put a friend's Windows laptop (also with inbuilt wireless and also brand new) in the same place, connected it to the same wireless network, and it works just fine. We watch the same clip on the bbc news website and it plays in its entireity without buffering. In fact, if we watch the same clip on both machines simultaneously then it will play on the windows machine and buffer on the mac.
Now I know *nothing* about wireless, so I can't even answer the following question: Are some inbuilt wireless recievers better than others, and all that's happening here is that I've noticed that the inbuilt one on the mac mini is less effective in some way, or has lower specs, than the inbuilt one on the windows laptop?
Or is this inconcievable, and the issue is something else, like processor speed or other performance factors on the mac being worse than on the windows machine.
If I'm right and somehow the mac mini is shipping with an internal wireless reciever which is less good at dealing with a weakish signal (the nearest wireless router is on a different floor and at the other end of the house---but this didn't remotely bother either windows machine) then what are the fixes? I thought of1) buy a more powerful wireless router: cost of about 100 UK pounds.
2) buy another wireless router that can pick up a signal and boost it and send it on again: also seemed to cost about 100 pounds, at least in the random shop on Tottenham Court Road that I tried.
I am wondering about3) buy some kind of gadget ("dongle"?) that plugs into the back of the mac and gives me a much better reciever. I am wondering whether this could (a) work and (b) cost less than 100 UK pounds.
Or, if my symptoms are still too vague, are there any natural tests that I can do on the mac to fathom out what's going on? I am a mac novice, but have a fair bit of unix experience.