When it comes to the best wireless network connection (Wi-Fi connection) at home, 802.11n (Wireless n) is the best technology available at present.
But wait, 802.11n is not a singular technology. That means, all the products rated 802.11n are not the same! There are different configurations available for an 802.11n certified wireless routers/ wireless access points/ wireless adapters.
The different 802.11n configurations depend on the number of transmit/receive antennas & radios, number of spatial streams supported by each antenna & frequency band of operation.
Theoretically, the highest speed achievable by an 802.11n certified product is 600 Mbps. But with the technology available today (at least in the home segment), its not possible to achieve 600 Mbps. The highest speed achievable as per the current technology is 450 Mbps (theoretically, actual speed might be somewhat lesser).
To achieve that speed of 450 Mbps, one should make sure that the Wireless N certified product that they are going to use has the following configuration (at least): 3 x 3 Transmit and receive antennas, 3 spatial streams supported by each antenna & Dual band operation (2.4 Ghz & 5 Ghz).
This configuration should be supported by both the wireless router/ wireless access point & wireless adapter (on the desktop/ laptop).
Actually, a higher throughput is achievable when the wireless network is connected on the 5 Ghz frequency spectrum, instead of the 2.4 Ghz frequency spectrum. This is because 5 Ghz spectrum has wider and more non-overlapping channels. It is also free from interference from other wireless devices like microwave oven / bluetooth devices that operate in the commonly used 2.4 Ghz band.
Many people buy the latest wireless ‘n’ router/ access point but find that they are still connecting at lower speeds. That’s most probably because the wireless adapter (on the PC/ Laptop) does not support the latest 802.11n configuration. The wireless network can only operate at the highest speed supported by both the access point/ wireless router (and) the wireless adapter.
If your wireless adapter has a lower configuration and you still want to connect to the wi-fi network at high speeds, you might want to buy an USB based external wireless ‘n’ adapter like this one and attach it to your desktop/ laptop. But make sure that you have a wireless ‘n’ router like this one, as well. If you buy a new laptop, just make sure that it has the latest 802.11n adapter built-in. Laptops may advertise 802.11 wireless ‘n’ technology, but the actual 802.11n configuration offered might be lower.
One may not require such high speeds for browsing the net, accessing common applications like email/ documents, etc. But for certain applications like network gaming, live streaming of HD videos and other multimedia based ones, the speeds offered by the high speed 802.11 wireless ‘n’ technology could be very useful. Also, in certain places the Internet connectivity speeds are so high that an equally high speed Wi-Fi network might be required. We are talking about 3.9G/4G, Fiber To The Home (FTTH) and such high speed Internet connections.
When multiple users are simultaneously accessing the Wi-Fi network, the speed is divided among all the users. So, in case there are many users simultaneously accessing the wireless network at your home, the High speed 802.11 wireless ‘n’ technology could be very useful.
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