Wireless Internet Routers

The wireless router market has responded to the demand for wireless internet convenience consumers wanted by providing better performance and lower costs than have ever been seen before.

Wireless G vs Wireless N

802.11g uses the 2.4GHz band and provides a maximum data rate of 54MBit/s. It also provides backwards compatibility for 802.11b hardware. Effective bandwith for practical uses is much lower and generally around 20Mbps-24Mbps.

Speed Comparison

TypeAdvertised Top SpeedActual Usage Expected Speeds
Wireless G54MBit/s20-24Mbps
Wireless N270Mbps 40-90Mbps

802.11n using MIMO (Multiple inputs, multiple outputs) uses multiple antennas to move data streams. This allows transmitting 2 streams and receiving 2 at the same time. The advantages of this are quicker transfer speeds and increased ranges. 802.11n speeds can exceed 100Mbps in actual usage.

The 802.11n standard is not yet finalized but still many uptake has been signifigant and many industry analysts expect 802.11n hotspots to match the number of 802.11g hotspots in 2010.

All things being equal the time is now to move to 802.11n, there is no risk it being shelved, and if your hardware is compatible, the usability advantages in terms of speed and range are signifigant.

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