Wireless B vs G vs N vs AC | What’s the major difference?
Wireless standards keep evolving, and with each major evolution they get faster. So today we will look at the wireless standard itself, and review the differences in the difference modes and their speeds.
WLAN Standard 802.11
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is an organized group of engineers. They created the standard for WiFi technology which all wireless routers will follow. They called this standard 802.11. All routers at the time were built around this standard. There was no letter designation, such as “G”, “N” or “AC”. This 802.11 standard was released in 1997.
The main problem with this standard was that it was way too slow. Today’s routers are made to this standard and thus the letter designations come into play.
Lets explain a few things first. We will be starting off by talking about Wireless B, but something did come before B and that was the A standard. A was released about the same time as B, but B was cheaper thus being more popular. A devices were mainly used by businesses so you don’t really hear about it when looking for routers online (and you won’t). Wikipedia has some great information on the history of wireless standards.
802.11B – Wireless B
Routers that came with just Wireless B are not longer made though a bunch of routers still support Wireless B so you should know a little bit about it. Wireless B can support a maximum throughput rate of 11mbps. You can also use the signal with no interference up to 150 feet away. Wireless B operates on an unregulated 2.4GHz range which is bad because many home appliances operate on this frequency.
This means that home phones, and things like microwaves can actually cause interference if your router is somewhat close to these devices however if it is not too close you should be good.
It is also good to note that Wireless B can actually be regulated on Wireless G routers that allows channel selection, and supported Wireless B.
802.11G – Wireless G
The G standard was a big push forward, and supports up to 54mbps. Wireless G just like Wireless B initially was unregulated until manufacturers like Cisco’s Linksys routers started adding channel selection support thus allowing you to switch channels and reduce interference.
Wireless G is backwards compatible with Wireless B so many routers support accepting both signals at the same time. Though I am about 100% positive that none of you reading this actually have a device that only supports Wireless B, but more likely devices that run on G or N. G’s main benefit is that it is faster than Wireless B.
802.11N – Wireless N
Wireless N supports a max speed of up to 300mbps with two antennas. With an additional antenna it can reach speeds up to 450mbps, Normally though you can expect to see speeds around 130mbps or so.
Wireless N operates on 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz bands at the same time. N devices can operate on multiple signals. It is called MIMO (Multiple-IN – Multiple-OUT). That combined with the two to three antennas, increased signal power, and rage it is clear Wireless N is a standard you want to use for very high speed devices.
This is the next big thing as of the writing of this post. Wireless AC is out, and on the market offering speeds up to 1733mbps which is an enormous increase from Wireless N. It is also know as “5G Wi-Fi”. The standard was introduced in 2012, which is now the current standard that can be found on many newer routers. AC Routers also support Wireless N which makes them fully backwards compatible with G.
I hope this post was very informative, and helps you make a decision on what type of router you want to buy. Honestly anything from G and above suites the needs of most people unless you, and your whole family are all doing some very bandwidth intensive tasks.
If your interested in buying a new router consider an AC router. Here is a link below to an Amazon search result for AC routers.
http://amzn.to/1JjrBBY – Amazon Affiliate Link