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Readers Respond: Do You Need 802.11n Speed or Any Other Benefits of Wireless-N?

Responses: 30


.11n is not better at penetrating walls

I have to debunk the comments that .11n is better at penetrating brick or thick walls than .11g. If using 5GHz .11n, the "penetration" is absolutely worse as 5GHz has a very tough time penetrating most materials. If you are seeing better signal with and performance with a 5GHz .11n, it is likely it is due to MIMO (multiple in-multiple out) capability of a .11n router, in that the technology benefits with reflective surfaces and works better in the presence of multipath than does a single antenna 2.4GHz .11b/g technology. 2.4GHz actually has better "penetrating" qualities, but worse multipath qualities. The net of it is that none of this matters. If in your environment 5GHz or 2.4GHz with MIMO works better, use it. For most uses though (internet connection), the bottleneck will not be .11b/g, but the speed of the DSL or cable itself. In most cases .11G is more than enough to outpace your internet connection max speeds. Food for thought.
—Guest mh80211

Basic fact of advertised vs actual speed

After reading all responses, it seems the general consensus is that advertised data xfer speeds should actually xfer at that speed. Wrong - there is no set, guaranteed rate even with wired networks. N is better than G for it's increased range as well as data rate.
—Guest Dan

Not that costly for what you get

I have a D-link DIR625 wireless router that was only about $130, and it works well with the two laptops we have. With data rates up to 300 Mb per second it has performed well, and the range on the system is great. Even with some metal obstructions, it covers the house and yard solid over an acre.
—Guest Mogy

Yes, it increases Internet speed

Run speed tests on speedtest.net and dslreports.com through a wired connection from your router and compare to a wireless connection. You'll notice your wired speed is about double your wireless speed. If you move to 802.11n, you'll see a difference [increase] in your bandwidth.
—Guest KrazyDawg

Good, if it helps an Internet connection

It N really better for an Internet connection, or just for internal networking? RoadRunner Turbo [Internet service] is still only 15 Mbps. Why do I need a 300 Mbps router?? [Ed.: The 300 Mbps refers to "internal networking," though N may offer additional benefits that help Internet connections (at least incidentally). By the way, 15 Mbps is quite good - be thankful for that!]
—Guest That Guy

Definitely useful in Germany

Germans use very thick bricks for all their walls. Nice for peace and quiet, but a pain with wireless. 802.11n is definitely useful in Germany [better for transmitting through these walls].
—Guest jkcook

For students, it depends

I think the 802.11n standard was sought out to increase speed for wireless networking to the 100Mbps Ethernet standard. Based on that assumption, I will say it is a user/usage dependent decision. I used dial-up for years. I just switched to DSL (2007) to be able to take online classes. I thought I would need a faster connection to complete the courses. The switch has been beneficial. I have been able to conduct research faster and participate in forms. My main concern was video and audio feeds. Which I have had a few of those. I suspect I will continue using the 802.11g standard until I run into limitations.
—Guest Geo

Wireless N helps VoIP reception (?)

Don't know if you could say it was worth the price, but Wireless N got rid of the echo on the Vonage telephone service I have. Haven't had any troubles yet.
—Guest bekmk

Better speed, signal and easy to install

Yes I like the difference in the speed of my Internet connections with the 11n router. Both wired and wireless. The signal is better in my house. I have the new D-Link n router and it installed easy and fantastic performance. Love having network drives to store all my backups and working files available to everyone in the house.
—Guest kb42930

Better to just fix G/B equipment

In these times of economic crisis, it doesn't make sense to have to upgrade a lot of equipment for wireless N just to get a little faster speed. I think it would be better to get the current ones [802.11g/802.11b products] to work at the speed they are saying it can reach. I've had slowdowns and just plain no connection at times, and we are paying for the speed boost in DSL.
—Guest pixiepeach

Works better in this old house

I found it much faster and it also worked better in the house that I live in, which is old and has very thick walls.

Not needed in homes except huge mansions

Unless you live in a huge mansion or want to surf outside in the garden, what is the point in spending more money when 802.11G is quite sufficient for the average user who lives in a small flat or house? In my experience, interference is an issue that has still not been adequately resolved, nor will it be if you have large amounts of steel or thick concrete walls, glass or other objects that can interfere with the signal. Only really becomes a concern when all the family want to stream video to their PCs using iplayer and perhaps in the future when speeds actually match the vendors claims might it be needed.
—Guest Omendata

802.11n may not be reliable enough

At times, "error on the connection" appears and the network is cut off. Also, sometimes access to Web pages is slow. [Configuration unspecified.]
—Guest Henry Vital

Could be better than Netgear Wireless-G

I have a laptop with built in wireless G, which I have tried to increase speed with by the way of a Netgear 108Mbps PCMCIA card. (I also have a Netgear Rangemax Router that gives this wireless capability), The laptop though, goes through the channels and picks up the signal one minute and drops it the next. It never seems to lock in for a steady signal. If going "N" would produce a faster/stronger/CONSTANT signal for my laptop, then YES, I could and would take advantage of the technology. I live in an apartment with no barriers to interfere with my router signal, so I don't know of a reason that my PCMCIA card shouldn't lock in a strong signal as it stands.

Nice to have, but not worth the cost

Even if I had the extra money, I would find it hard to justify replacing all of my wireless components, just for 2-3x the speed. 802.11g still works fine for every day usage such as web browsing. If I need to move a lot of data, I can just wait for it to finish, or I can bring the device up to the router and connect with a network cable. I'll think about upgrading my network when my broadband speed exceeds 802.11g speeds, but it's kind of lame that the price of high-speed internet more or less stopped it's downward trend a few years ago; at least in my area, for people who don't want to bundle it with TV and everything else. I watch like 1 hour of over-the-air TV each week, and they're trying to get me to commit to 800 channels, 4-tuner DVR, HD, etc. Come on, I hardly have enough time as it is, why would I want to waste what's left watching the likes of "ESPN 6 - The Archery Channel"!
—Guest Habib

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