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?
- What is Wireless-G & Wireless-N?
- What is Wireless-AC?
- What is Wireless-AD?
- What is Wireless-AX?
- Why Should You Upgrade To Wireless-AC?
- Top FlashRouters By Maximum Speeds
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 to 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.
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.
Unveiled at CES 2018, Wireless-AX is the next step in wireless standards. Wireless-AX will be able to deliver as much as five times as much bandwidth as Wireless-AC.
Current routers are equipped with 4×4 MU-MIMO (multi-user, multiple input, and multiple output). Wireless-AX routers will come standard with 8×8 MU-MIMO on both 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz bands. Essentially, Wireless-AX will support eight data streams up and down your network, doubling the previous standard.
Other upgrades from previous standards include: increased efficiency, reliability, and better coverage in large areas.
While these specs sure do look enticing, you may have to wait a few years before Wireless-AX routers hit the market.
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.
|Max Throughput (Speeds):||54 Mbps||900 Mbps||5300 Mbps||7200 Mbps||10000 Mbps|
|Max Wireless Range (Radius):||75 Ft||200 Ft||500 Ft||500 Ft||500+ ft|
|Wireless Channel Widths:||20 Mhz||20/40 Mhz||20/40/80/160 Mhz||5/10/20 Mhz||Up to 160 Mhz|
|Wireless Bands:||One 2.4 Ghz (Single Band)||One 2.4Ghz & One 5 Ghz (Dual Band)||One 2.4 Ghz & Two 5 Ghz (Tri-Band)||One 2.4 Ghz, Two 5 GHz Bands, & 60 GHz Bands (Quad-Stream)||One 2.4 Ghz, Two 5 Ghz Bands|
Of course, these ranges are maximum distances in optimal conditions. Most of us don’t live in a world where there is 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
Wireless-AC 5300 Mbps
Asus RT-AC5300 DD-WRT – Best Range Router of 2018 (Pictured above)
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 routers with a DD-WRT upgrade can make a world of difference in their overall performance and create a new bedrock for your networking gateway.