What is 802.11n?
802.11n is the latest wireless standard. It supports substantially higher data rates, and at greater distances, than any of the previous wireless standards. Users looking to get 802.11n speeds should ensure that any new products purchased have the WiFi Alliance certification logo.
How fast is 802.11n?
Unlike 802.11a/b/g, the theoretical maximum speed of 802.11n varies by the supported client frequency, and the number of radios. While 802.11n can operate in either the 5GHz frequency or the 2.4 GHz frequency, many clients only chose to implement 802.11n in one or the other.
In addition, clients can have anywhere from one to three transmit and receive radios. The WPI access points are a mix of higher performance 3x3 units in heavier use areas, which means they have three transmit radios, and three receive radios, and lower cost 2x3 elsewhere. While clients with fewer radios will still work, they will have lower performance.
For a client with 3x3 radios and operation in the 2.4GHz band, the theoretical maximum rate is 150 Mbps. For a 3x3 client in the 5GHz band, the theoretical maximum rate is 300 Mbps.
Please note that, in addition to the usual list of factors which can reduce wireless performance, there are many optional 802.11n features which not all clients are required to support, such as wide channels and reduced inter-frame spacing. A client which is lacking any of these optional features will still likely see higher speeds than non 802.11n clients, but not the theoretical maximum.
802.11n imposes additional requirements. If any of these requirements are not met, you may still be able to connect, but not at 802.11n.
- An 802.11n Draft 2 or newer certified wireless card
- WPA2 Authentication
- AES Encryption
- WMM quality of service
Last modified: Dec 02, 2011, 16:24 EST