Networking

04:00 AM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Review: 802.11n Wi-Fi Routers

Though the 802.11n specifications are still in beta, major vendors are already pushing N routers. Is it time to move to the new spec, and if so, which device should

This story originally appeared on Oct. 2, 2007

As more products hit store shelves with the promise of Wi-Fi connectivity, more households and small businesses are getting rid of their wired networks. However, while 802.11g has been the standard for quite some time, 802.11n -- in beta form -- has begun to replace 802.11g with its purported faster speeds and longer range.

What does it bring to the party that's new? Well, 802.11n builds on the 802.11 spec by allowing for a new feature called Multiple Input/Multiple Output (MIMO). MIMO uses multiple transmitter and receiver antennas to improve system performance. To further enhance its capabilities over a legacy router (a/b/g), the new 802.11n spec uses the 5GHz spectrum to reduce the interference issues found on 802.11g routers using the 2.4GHz spectrum.

For the past few years, the IEEE Standards Association -- the wireless spec governing body -- has issued a number of upgrades to the N spec, from pre-N to Draft-N to its current stage of development: Draft 2.0. Generally speaking, newer routers work on this new spec, which is the result of thousands of minute improvements to previous iterations. It's also worth noting that 802.11n has not been approved by the IEEE and should still be considered a work in progress.

Currently, there are two key questions to ask before purchasing any specific 802.11n router: Is it worth buying? And does it perform well enough to justify junking your 802.11g router and spending money on the new device?

Previous
1 of 11
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Cartoon
Hot Topics
7
VMware NSX Banks On Security
Marcia Savage, Managing Editor, Network Computing,  8/28/2014
5
How To Survive In Networking
Susan Fogarty, Editor in Chief,  8/28/2014
White Papers
Register for Network Computing Newsletters
Current Issue
2014 Private Cloud Survey
2014 Private Cloud Survey
Respondents are on a roll: 53% brought their private clouds from concept to production in less than one year, and 60% ­extend their clouds across multiple datacenters. But expertise is scarce, with 51% saying acquiring skilled employees is a roadblock.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed