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

Responses: 41


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?

Explain Why or Why Not

Interference may be an issue

With an A or G network you should be getting at least 1.4MB/sec file copy speeds to a single wireless computer. If you aren't getting that, the problem is likely interference from all the neighborhood wireless devices. N supports speeds down to 1mbps instead of 6 which improves range. Antenna diversity may be able to combine separate signals to improve reception. Using two MIMO spatial streams can double the speed while only using one channel. N supports double width channels to double the speed yet again, but this creates more interference and makes it receive more interference.
—Guest Retro User

Multiple users on one access point

Access points work like hubs not switches. 10 users passing through an N (300Mb) router gives each user about 30 Mb. Also when both N and G devices work through the same access point, most access points drop to the G for all connections. My other observation is that people frequently change their router to the "N", but their computer or other wireless device is only cabable of "B" or "G". Both devices need to be upgraded.

Faster Wi-Fi with faster ADSL?

I get the impression that from reading these posts that 'g' or 'n' max out well below the theoretical speeds. [Ed.: This is true.] My ADSL connection is 20 Mbps, and my ISP has just offered me 50Mbps or 100 Mbps for more money. Up until now, my Wifi devices which use 'g' and 'n' connect at 8 to 18 Mbps despite the 20 Mbps ADSL Ethernet line into the g+n router. I am wondering whether my measured speed on the Wifi devices will ncrease if I take up my ISP's offer for a faster connection? [Ed.: A: Yes, it is possible.]

N not needed - G is better

First of all, you must understand what N is and what G is. We are talking about throughout of 54mbps and 300mbps. N uses dual channels and slices the data across them. Unless you have a really fast Internet pipe and do intense downloads/torrents then I'd go for N... else there's no point. G beats N and AC all the way. Yeah, I have 3 wireless N's and 4 Wireless G's and prefer wireless G's over N's.
—Guest Hal

Consider the # of devices on network

I never have a problem with a 802.11g network when I'm the only one using it. However, when my parents and sister begin to surf the web and stream HD videos I begin to experience extremely high ping. I usually play online games on my computer and this greatly ruins my experience. Consider switching if you have a lot of people sharing the same network wirelessly even if your ISP bandwidth is less than the actual 802.11g maximum.
—Guest JimJitsu


We were looking to boost our internet speeds, so we shopped for routers. The salesperson at Microcenter said our old wireless G was the problem, so he recommended the ASUS Wireless-N router, which we bought. Immediately our wireless speeds slowed to about half. Videos buffered like crazy: played a few secs, then stopped for nearly a minute. Games hung/stuttered. YouTube slow/audio out of sync. We run Linux (Mint 13), Win7 and Win8 systems. Did a fresh install of the Win8 & needed to download software: 24K/s! Yes, KILOBYTES. This is within 4ft of router, no obstructions. Dropbox install file of 32MB indicated 45mins-1 hr 12 mins to download. Even on Ethernet! Switched back to old Linksys G router - instant blazing fast speeds. No more video buffering, faster page loads, and the 32MB Dropbox install file downloaded in about 10 seconds. No competition here. The G is staying until we are forced to upgrade at some point in the future. The N is going back to Microcenter today.
—Guest Karen

2.4 N not that great

In my neighborhood 2.4 wireless rules. So much channel crowding that N speed channel bonding is not going to happen well. N should have never happened on 2.4 band. All of the 2.4 band routers are defaulting to single channel operation anyway due to good neighbor standards. I am basically getting G speeds anyway even if my connect speeds show higher. Its really averaging around 54 to 72 Mbps. At night even lower when stations are more active. Considering my broadband speed is 25mbps. Why do I need more then G speed anyway?
—Guest john s

N is worse, for my needs.

Many of the IP security cameras out there are G, not N, so if you buy an N router thinking that it will improve your security camera performance, think again. Many if not all of the Linksys N routers have a G mode that's actually slower than my WRT54GL wireless G router. I was far better off buying a powerline extender than a new router.
—Guest khentiamentiu

N is the way to go

Guys, just using the internet is not the only thing you could do with a router. You could stream movies, pictures across your devices at home like from a network hard disk to your Smart TV, or from your Phone to your TV or Phone to Laptop. To be able to support high bandwidth transfers you need a N Router. The G network would succumb to death... .
—Guest Bobby

Only good if we had more channels

Only upgraded to new router because my old D-Link "g" router doesn't support the newer PnP / SPI firewall standards. Went to a WD n900 for dual band support and bought an aftermarket Intel Centrino 6300 for my new laptop (which Dell was kind enough to have the required third antenna pre-installed) to get away from the 2.4 band because my neighbourhood was crowded with them. Only problem is I still need at least WEP encryption for DS games. But since this router was certified by the Wi-Fi alliance (although their WPS tech is insecure so I don't get why theyre still allowed to give input on an IEEE standard) I can't have both options speed vs. encryption. I don't get why they allow no encryption but "n" speeds as an option... because that's no worse then WEP.
—Guest 8675309

Yes to N

Went from 1 hour to DL a 10 meg file to 10 minutes for the same file from the same site. For me it worked out good. ...and its is even faster when working in Linux.
—Guest Chofak

N is way better!

For _me_ N has far better throughput reliability, speed, and distance. But it is a tad tricky to setup, you have to tinker with the router AND the CPUs. On a Bellkin (NP600) the best I got was 54mbps in N mode, a limit set by the mfg. Depending on where the client(s) were located, that dropped under 6mbps with intermittent disconnects. I swapped in a Linksys E4200 and saw immediate improvement to 148mbps, and better distance. I found my speed would only go to 148mbps on 2.4GHz, but 284mbps on 5GHz. 5GHz is supposed to give less distance, but my straight-line (through walls and multi-story (4-floors)) was OK, so I put b/g on 2.4GHz only and set N on 5GHz exclusive. Bingo! 284mbps, improved distance, and minimum speed to weakest location over 70mbps. N is rated to 300 so I tweaked some more. the final key was disabling IPv6 on the CPUs adapters, that gave me 300mbps. I don't need or use IPv6 so that's no loss, and great gain!
—Guest FastFreddie

Better range - not

Apparently not......I was told that it would increase the range from the router. My ancient D-Link transmitted as well if not better.
—Guest Doug

N works for me

Just got a Cisco-Linksys N to replace a misbehaving G. Went from a max of 8-12 down to 18-27 on Mediacom.
—Guest wirelesswillie

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

Explain Why or Why Not

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

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