Upgrading your Wi-Fi hardware is critical to future-proofing your network. When the time for new components is at hand, it is important to select the products that fully support your communication and data transfer needs. From fiber cabling to Wi-Fi routers, the choices abound and each one can have direct impact on your overall network performance.
Today, we are going to take a look at the foundational 802.11 technologies that can power your network. Despite very similar nomenclature, the varying forms of 802.11 are all quite different.
How to Make Your Choice
Being able to clearly articulate the differences between Wi-Fi options is a must in order to help your management and procurement teams approve the right products for your applications. Following are the factors you will want to educate teams about so that they can effectively evaluate any new wireless purchase:
Bandwidth, measured in terms of Mbps or Gbps, determines the speed with which data can be transmitted across a network. As can be expected, a higher bandwidth rating delivers faster data transmission. Today’s 802.11 technologies offer bandwidths ranging from 11 Mbps to as high as 300 Mbps.
It can be easy to immediately believe you want the maximum bandwidth range but it is important to keep in mind your own use. The higher bandwidths are generally only needed by larger networks or those running intensive applications such as streaming video.
The frequency, measured in Gigahertz, determines a network’s range. It also directly affects interference by other wireless elements such as cell phones or microwaves or by physical obstacles such as walls. Standard Wi-Fi networks run on either 2.4 GHz or 5.8 GHz (commonly referred to as only 5 GHz) frequencies.
Frequency is one of those features that definitely does not comply with the “bigger is better” concept. A shorter frequency actually has a longer range, although it is more susceptible to interference from other wireless devices. A longer frequency flip-flops those benefits to provide a shorter range but better protection against other wireless interference. However, 5.8 GHz networks are more likely to be impeded by solid interference.
- Single or Dual Band
Most Wi-Fi technologies run on only one frequency but some tout the ability to run on both. Before you jump for joy and assume that is the best way to go, you better get the facts.
Technology that includes only one signal but says it is dual band does not actually give you both 2.4 and 5.8 GHz functionality at once—it simply gives you the ability to choose which one you want at any given time. Only 802.11n which leverages multiple antennas actually supports both frequencies simultaneously.
Knowing the different functionalities offered by the key Wi-Fi network features can [Read more…] about All Wireless Standards are NOT Created Equal