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

Responses: 30


From the article: 802.11n
New Wi-Fi enabled gadgets support 802.11n (sometimes called Wireless-N) technology. 802.11n provides higher network bandwidth compared to other forms of wireless networking. And compared to older forms of Wi-fi, 802.11n also offers better signal range in some situations.

For years now, many households have enjoyed networks set up with older 802.11g/b Wi-Fi gear. Some even use aircards and 3G/4G wireless connections to cellular networks for their Internet access. Both of these options may run slower or less reliably than 802.11n. Do you feel compelled to upgrade your router or other wireless equipment to Wireless-N?

Depends on your Internet

If you have DSL or ADSL, your Internet is limited to 10-20 Mbps and gets slower the farther you are from the phone company. If you live in rural America, your only choice is DSL/ADSL, and if you are 50 miles from your ISP you have speeds generally around 3 Mbps. So having wireless G (54 Mbps) or N (100 Mbps) really doesn't make any difference. You could use a B (1 0Mbps) wireless and wouldn't see any difference. In Houston I have 100 Mbps cable service so see about 88 Mbps wired to the router, 66 Mbps wireless N and about 22 Mbps wireless G, so having N means 66 vs 22. 3Mbps may just be fine for you if you have 2-3 users sending email and updating Facebook. If you are going to watch movies on Netflix, play games/Xbox over the Internet or back up your HDD to the cloud, you probably can't do it on DSL. Having 10 people on your network at Xmas time will probably not allow you to read/update FB or watch YouTube.

CrApple did NOT "design" 802.11N

Someone by the name "by Apple" stated that (Cr)"Apple designed N". Bullchit. Like A, B and G, 802.11N was Designed by the IEEE Committee which members include Cisco, D-Link, Linksys and on and on. While Apple (along with HP, Dell, and many others) are on the committee, Apple had nothing to do with designing anything. [Extended anti-Apple rant removed for being off topic]
—Guest CrApple the iNOvator

N no good on 2.4 Ghz, only 5 Ghz benefit

Most people believe the hype speeds advertised on the boxes of routers. In a perfect world out in the middle of nowhere these speeds might be possible on 2.4 Ghz. But if you live in a crowded area with lots of other 2.4 Ghz routers or even other 2.4 Ghz devices, your chances of speed diminish greatly. In fact, most users probably experience little difference in speed from a older G mode router on 2.4Ghz. Now 5 Ghz is a different animal and, no doubt, if your hardware supports it the 5 Ghz band will ultimately do a lot better in wireless speed. But not necessarily in overall Internet speed. A faster local network does not guarantee a faster Internet. If you're on a fiber optics line, you may see improvement. But most people probably won't be so impressed, even if you say I have multiple devices so a faster router means all devices work better. That only really affects your local network. If many devices are accessing the Internet, you're going to end up dividing Internet speed anyway.
—Guest Johnnythegeek

A take on 2.4 GHz vs 5 GHz

For me 2.4 N is more uniform and compliant with most of the hardware out there. Not much 5 Ghz stuff right now. It also creates a problem if you do not have all 5Ghz hardware. I agree unless you really need more local network speed for video streaming for example. Or use a server for backups. I think people buy the higher priced routers and get little benefit from them. In my house I have Mac's, Roku,PC laptops and phones. All of which get different connect speeds to that same router. Anywhere from 65Mbps to 130Mbps. Wireless is NOT so cut and dried as what speeds you will get compared to wired. Too many limitation from range, obstacles,hardware compatibility and so on create road blocks to speed. Even the routers capacity to handle throughput can be a issue. Such as using higher encryption can cause throughput problems. If the router has a slow CPU. Especially handling multiple devices. people need to realize that the router makers quote maximum possible speeds. Not typical speeds.
—Guest John

New is better (N = G * 2)

There is way too much focus on the actual numbers that are used for advertising. Unfortunately, the marketing side has ruined much of our technology (take wireless 4G for example). But now to get to the point. Verizon only offers a (Wireless-)G router, and to the majority of Americans they won't ever know they are getting screwed over. I have tested the network speeds both with the provided G and a personal (Wireless-)N router. While on Ethernet I get 30 down, on G I get 10 down, and on N I get 20 down. In addition, while the G connection is only seen as fair where my computer is, the N is seen as excellent. So forgetting all the marketing, G is half of what N offers, both in speed and in range.
—Guest Hiddentalnt

Better speed for internal network - NOT

Hello.Why you need better speed with an N router when your ISP give you 12Mbs only?! Sorry, but this is a stupid question ! I did upgrade my router with a N one thinking I'll get better speed for my internal network (wireless). I don't care about Internet speed which is 6Mbs only. I bought Netgear WNR 3500L. Well surprise, this rubbish router will give me max 3MB jut 3m far away from the router.3 MB is 24Mbs which I can handle with my old Linksys router. So where is that 300Mbs?! 300Mbs wont get in 300 years ! All what you'll get will be max 100Mbs with a N router. And say thanks if you get that speed. Netgear tech support doesn't have a clue about to fix It.
—Guest Vlad

Simple math, isn't it?

Easy answer. If the speed your ISP gives you is higher than 54 mbps (unlikely), upgrade to Wireless-n. I have a Wireless n router on the third floor of my house, and I still get bad signal on the first floor. And it says I'm connected at 26mbps while typing this on my laptop on first floor.
—Guest reasonably educated

Consider video streams, gaming, surfing

Really depends on what you want. If you have a high quality video on one computer (server perhaps) and play on another computer (Home Theater PC?) 802.11g will sometimes hiccup in my experience, not with N. If you play games through wireless you will get a lower ping (less delay.) I can even tell the difference when surfing the net, but the difference is instead of taking half a second to load a page it takes maybe .3 seconds. Internet bandwidth is limited to at your internet connection, so big downloads are the same with both. Because of the difference in latency, or ping, your half hour download on G might take 29.5 minutes on N. So if you need that extra 0.1 second to make a headshot on an internet game, absolutely hate waiting 0.1 extra second for a page to load, you want N. If you stream high quality videos and hate the very occasional hiccup you want N. Personally I only upgraded because my old router died. Was it worth the extra bucks? Maybe, and its ready for future
—Guest magneto

Only a small difference [in speed]

... am using a samsung galaxy pop. Little difference. A D-link router under 50... net speed by bank is 512kbps..india bsnl
—Guest Victor

2N or not 2N (update)

Huge difference with a Netgear N600 Modem Router attached... Huge!
—Guest EMy1 C4

2 N or not 2 N

I have b/g right now with a Westell Modem (DSL). Am getting 100 Kbps wired / 54 wireless (so it says in fine print, read on)... paying for 360 kbps. Would an N Modem help me get speeds better than the 33 -87 kbps I get now? Nothing like paying for something you are not getting!
—Guest EMy 1C4

Can tell no difference

I have 1.5 Mbps cable service, an "n" router and a mix of "g" and "n" wireless adapters. I can tell no difference between transfer speeds with the "g" adapters and the "n" adapters or even two wired connections. I believe the 1.5 Mbps speed offered by the ISP is my limiting factor, and no network hardware working within that limitation will show any speed increase over another, because all my hardware is capable of many time the ISP speeds.
—Guest john3347

Not really worth it, to me

Explain why one should upgrade to wireless-n when my cable providers max upload speed is 12 Mbps. A wireless g router will handle up to 54mbps. and a wireless n can handle 300mbps. so why waste the money if you are upgrading to try to speed it up. If you have a g router currently, I don`t see how going to a n router is going to make much of a change.
—Guest warbird

By Apple

N was designed by Apple. It's good. :-) There must be a balance between potentially undesireble/excessive wireless signals flying around vs strenth of signal.
—Guest Андрей

A good LAN upgrade

I have to agree with the author of this article and partially with a few guest comments. By buying a 802.11n you are essentially upgrading your LAN infrastructure. If you have a true dual band router with 2.4 and 5ghz both working at the same time, then you achieve an increase in bandwidth granted your nodes are equipped with a combination of receivers on the different bands. BTW getting 300MB is only theoretical only - you have to consider encoding, encapsulating and other overhead.
—Guest arabiantxn

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