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See network connection speed via GeekTool Apps
I've written a quick script to print the network interface speeds, designed for use with GeekTool. In particular, this is very useful for seeing how fast your WiFi has connected. Create a new entry in GeekTool, and set it to a Shell action (how to do this varies depending on if you're using GeekTool 2.x or 3.x). In the Command window, enter the following code: Set the Refresh pop-up to whatever you prefer; the information provided is generally unchanging, so you can use a large refresh interval. If you'd prefer to run the above as a straight shell script, change the echo lines at the end to be echo -e .... Note that the script assumes en0 is wired Ethernet, and en1 is wireless networking.

[robg adds: I tested this, and it works as described. Note that this simply returns the speed of the connection, not the throughput. If you want to see network throughput, try this GeekTool script.]
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See network connection speed via GeekTool
Authored by: metiure on Aug 26, '09 10:34:38AM

why not use "airport -l" as command?

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See network connection speed via GeekTool
Authored by: kentmartin on Aug 26, '09 11:41:42AM
I figured people would have a better way to do this - I churned this script out in about 5 mins as I have varying breeds of access point around my flat and was particularly interested in what WiFi speed I am getting. However - airport -l isn't something that my version of airport does:
epona:Downloads kent$ airport -l
airport: invalid option -- l
airport AirPort v.528.1 (528.1.0)
Supported arguments:
 -z        --disassociate       Disassociate from any network
 -i[] --ibss=[]       Create IBSS
 -x        --xml                Print info as XML
 -s[] --scan=[]       Perform a wireless broadcast scan.
				   Will perform a directed scan if the optional  is provided
 -r   --repeats=      Repeat the command the specified number of times
 -A[] --associate=[]  Associate to network.
				   Will prompt for network name if arg is not specified
				   and if necessary, for a password if the network is using WEP or WPA.
				   The following additional arguments may be specified with this command:
                                  --bssid=     Specify BSSID to associate with
                                  --password=  Specify a WEP key or WPA password
 -I        --getinfo            Print current wireless status, e.g. signal info, BSSID, port type etc.
 -P   --psk=          Create PSK from specified pass phrase and SSID.
				   The following additional arguments must be specified with this command:
                                  --ssid=      Specify SSID when creating a PSK
 -c[] --channel=[]    Set arbitrary channel on the card
 -h        --help               Show this help
What does it do for you?

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See network connection speed via GeekTool
Authored by: mmnw on Aug 26, '09 02:18:56PM
This is a nice hint, even if you don't use geektool. I didn't know about airport -I before.
If you run airport -I you will see other valuable information besides network speed you might be interested in. An exotic example would be noise ratios (might be interesting while placing your gear). More common information is the actual channel your network is on, and the authentication it's using. (I couldn't believe it first, neither Network Utility, nor System Preferences delivers this information).

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See network connection speed via GeekTool
Authored by: dirtysauce on Aug 26, '09 03:06:36PM
It should be noted that the command "airport" is not a default command and requires a sudo and password authentication to enable. Use the following, assuming you understand that a sudo call should not be taken lightly:
sudo ln -s /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Apple80211.framework/Versions/Current/Resources/airport /usr/sbin/airport

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See network connection speed via GeekTool
Authored by: whp4 on Aug 27, '09 09:06:14AM

No, there's no need for sudo to enable the airport program used here, only to create the symbolic link you mentioned. You can invoke the program where it is by specifying the full pathname, you could make a symbolic link to it that lives in a directory of yours where you have write permission, you could make a shell alias, add a directory to your search path, etc. If authentication was needed to make the program available for use, the proposed symbolic link wouldn't provide it.

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See network connection speed via GeekTool
Authored by: MalEbenSo on Aug 27, '09 09:48:14PM

If your only aim is "seeing how fast your WiFi has connected", then clicking the Airport menu item while pressing the option-key will achieve that, too.

Of course, if you're looking for a command line solution to further process the result ...

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