The Difference Between Wireless-N, Wireless-AC and Wireless-AD

Difference Between Wireless G, N, AC

UPDATED 7/17/2018

People generally refer to all Wireless Internet as WiFi but, as with a lot of technical jargon, WiFi as a term is often misused. Are you one of those people constantly asking: Why is my Internet or my WiFi so slow?

Very often, it is not the Internet provider’s fault. Rather, it all comes down to the type of router you are using and the speed it offers.

Table Of Contents

What Are The Different Wireless Standards?

The wireless standard that we know today was created by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE.

IEEE 802.11 is a wireless networking standard created to keep manufacturers wireless routers and wireless networking devices (PS4, Laptops, Tablets, SmartTVs,  XboxOne, iPhones, Roku) on the same page. These standards include IEEE 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, 802.11ac and 802.11ad. So what are these standards and what do they have to do with you?

What is Wireless-G & Wireless-N?

Wireless-G and Wireless-N are terms referring to 802.11g and 802.11n wireless networking standards set by the IEEE.

802.11g was a wireless standard is on its way out from modern usage. It offered speeds of up to 54 Mbps and was quickly adopted due its its upgrade in speed over 802.11b.

For example, most coffee shop hotspot routers run on Wireless-G (54 Mbps) or even Wireless-B (11 Mbps). They are constantly being shared by many people so it can be somewhat slow to connect and actually surf the web.

Wireless-N was created to improve network throughput (maximum speed and transmission capabilities) over the two prior standards—802.11b and 802.11g.

Wireless-N was a significant upgrade from Wireless-G for the following reasons:

  • Increased maximum data transmission rate from 54Mbps to up to 900Mbps
  • Wider bandwidth capabilities to 40 Mhz
  • Increased security and improvement of stability and range

While these features may have been an upgrade from Wireless-G, Wireless-N is now being phased out with a new successor. Luckily, new routers and wireless standards will still support Wireless-N and the older wireless standards.

Looking for a router that supports your Wireless-N devices? Check out our Netgear Nighthawk R7000 AC1900 DD-WRT FlashRouter!

What is Wireless-AC?

Wireless-AC is the next iteration of the IEEE’s wireless standards. The 802.11ac standard greatly improves nearly every aspect of Wireless-N.

Wireless-AC has increasingly become more formalized and is essentially the minimum for every wireless-capable device. Some improvements include:

  • Increased maximum data transmission rates of up to 5300 Mbps
  • Wider bandwidth capabilities of 80 Mhz as well as an optional 160 Mhz channel
  • Additional 5 Ghz frequency band for faster speeds and less wireless clutter

For the best Wireless-AC speeds we recommend the Linksys WRT3200ACM DD-WRT FlashRouter.

What is Wireless-AD?

Wireless-AD is among the newest wireless standards to hit the consumer market. As with any new wireless standard, nearly every aspect has been improved and upgraded. Some of these upgrades include:

  • Increased maximum data transmission rates of up to 7200 Mbps
  • Additional 60 Ghz frequency band
  • High quality 4K movie downloads in mere minutes

However, Wireless-AD is not backward compatible. Simply put, there are few very Wireless-AD compatible devices that support the new 60 Ghz frequency band.

What is Wireless-AD? The Netgear R9000 DD-WRT

Currently, that makes Wireless-AD a great future proofing feature on the routers that support it, such as the Netgear Nighthawk R9000 X10 AD7200 DD-WRT FlashRouter. When Wireless-AD becomes adopted as the standard, you will be ready.

Why Should You Upgrade To Wireless-AC?

Hanging onto an older Wireless-G or Wireless-N router means you are sacrificing overall speed and security while actually hindering the wireless capabilities for newer devices.

Using a Wireless-G or Wireless-N router with your iPad may feel like trying to catching a fish with a stick. It may eventually work, but it certainly not the most efficient way to get the job done. This is not an iPhone 6S to iPhone 7 type upgrade where you have a little bit sleeker device and a few new features to play with. When a wireless standard is jumped, you are talking MAJOR wireless connectivity improvements.

Want to see the differences between Wireless AC, Wireless-N and Wireless-G? Well, here’s a quick breakdown for you.

 Wireless-GWireless-NWireless-AC
Max Throughput (Speeds):54 Mbps900 Mbps5300 Mbps
Max Wireless Range (Radius):75 Ft200 Ft500 Ft
Wireless Channel Widths:20 Mhz20/40 Mhz20/40/80/160 Mhz
Wireless Bands:One 2.4 Ghz (Single Band)One 2.4Ghz & One 5 Ghz (Dual Band)One 2.4 Ghz & Up To Two 5 Ghz (Tri-Band)

Of course, these ranges are maximum distances in optimal conditions. Most of us don’t live in a world where there are no other wireless interference. Even if you don’t see any other wireless signals in your range, there is still a laundry list of devices that can cost you range, such as cordless phones, baby monitors and even microwaves.

While Wireless-AD is the latest iteration of the standard, getting a premium Wireless-AC router is the best way to ensure compatibility with the best performance.

Here is a handy list of some of our most popular Wireless-AC Routers and their manufacturer speed maximums:

Top FlashRouters By Maximum Speeds

Wireless-AC 1900 Mbps
Linksys WRT1900ACS/AC v2 DD-WRT Top Budget Wireless-AC Option
Netgear R7000 Nighthawk DD-WRT

Wireless-AC 2400 Mbps
Asus RT-AC87U DD-WRT

Wireless-AC 2600 Mbps
Netgear R7800 X4S DD-WRT

Wireless-AC 3200 Mbps
Linksys WRT3200ACM DD-WRT – Best Recommended Wireless-AC Router
Netgear x6 R8000 AC3200 DD-WRT

Wireless-AC 5300 Mbps
Asus RT-AC5300 DD-WRT

Wireless-AD 7200 Mbps
Netgear R9000 DD-WRT – Most Powerful DD-WRT Router of 2018

If you are looking to get “faster wifi,” these are the devices you want to buy.

Upgrading these router’s firmware to the powerful DD-WRT firmware platform on all of these routers, as FlashRouters does, allows you more control over the signal while improving signal strength and stability. Many of these routers have excellent hardware but the manufacturer’s firmware actually hinders their abilities.

Buying one of these router with a DD-WRT upgrade  can make a world of difference in their overall performance and create a new bedrock for your networking gateway.

For more DD-WRT Router & VPN Service Provider info, product updates, and specials, follow us on Twitter @flashrouters or like us on Facebook.

13 thoughts on “The Difference Between Wireless-N, Wireless-AC and Wireless-AD

  1. Pingback: Router Thomson

  2. Peter Stock

    Is your Comparison Chart backwards?
    It’s not clear which metric relates to which standard. the way it’s presented (“Wireless N vs Wireless G Comparison”) I would assume that the first metric is the N number and the second metric the G.
    so on range (“Wireless Range (Radius): 75 ft vs up to 200-450 ft”) I would assume the G standard had a longer range than N. And I expect that is neither correct nor the idea the writer means to convey.

    Reply
    1. joeso Post author

      Hey Peter,

      Thanks for pointing that out. It has been switched. Your assessment of the chart is correct.

      Joe S.
      FlashRouters Sales Manager

      Reply
    2. Jeff

      I don’t think that there is any ambiguity here. The specs quoted as far as speed and range are clearly associated with the appropriate standard. I am not seeing any confusion.

      Reply
  3. Steve

    Great write-up, thanks for including details on the latest Wireless AC standard. I recently upgraded to a Cable Modem AC Router combo device and it was a great decision. I can now work in my backyard and connections to my Roku and Galaxy S5 are lightening fast. Its also nice to only have one device although I did strongly consider a handful of stand-alone units.

    Reply
  4. Devin M

    i have 129mbps network speed through ethernet, my roommate moved the router to far away and i can only use this G+ mimo adapter with a max speed of 22mbps, if i purchase a N adapter would my speeds increase?

    Ps. I’m only 20-25 feet away from the router which is a motorola arris SURFboard Modem & Router dual band 802.11n

    Reply
  5. P. Mota

    Very thorough, yet very comprehensive, read on the different type on wireless standards! Very nice to learn about the “new” AC.
    You guys should release an update for the article to include some news!

    Reply
  6. kiran

    will following network smaprt phone from Europe will work in USA? please inform.
    thanks.
    GSM 850/900/1800/1900 / HSDPA 850/900/1900/2100,

    Reply

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