What is Wi-Fi 5?

What is Wi-Fi 5?

The Gold Standard of WiFi


In an age of streaming media and online gaming, Wi-Fi 5 (Wireless-AC) is not just a luxury: it is the networking standard you need and deserve.

Do you often find yourself asking: Why is my Internet and/or WiFi so slow? Often, it all comes down to how powerful your router is. Today’s connected devices need a high-performance wireless networking standard that can handle immense bandwidth pressure, like Wireless-AC (802.11ac). Wireless-AC can transmit wireless at rates more than 6x the best Wireless-N devices, and 100x the best Wireless-G devices.

Higher Bandwidth

Wi-Fi 5 (Wireless-AC) has wider bandwidth capabilities of 80 MHz (and an optional 160 MHz). By comparison, Wireless-N’s bandwidth was only 20 or 40 MHz. Imagine the MHz as lanes on a highway: 20 MHz represents 2 lanes and 80 MHz represents 8 lanes. The more lanes available, the larger the amount of data that can pass through simultaneously, thus allowing for maximum performance connection speed.

Features MU-MIMO

MIMO (Multi-Input, Multi-Output) isn’t new, but MU-MIMO (Multi-User, Multi-Input, Multi-Output) allows communication with 4 different devices at the same time where you only used to be able to connect one. No longer is there a queue of connectivity on a router waiting for availability. With Wi-Fi 5 (Wireless-AC), more devices can connect instantly to a single router, with less interference or disruptions.

Avoid Wireless Interference

Wi-Fi 5 (Wireless-AC) focuses its power by running on the 5 GHz frequency band. The 2.4 GHz band used by Wireless-N & Wireless-G is cluttered with signal interference from cordless phones, Bluetooth headsets/keyboards, baby monitors, neighboring wireless networks, remote door openers, and even microwaves, to name a few disruptive devices. Just about anything wireless thing in your home builds the level of interference, but 5 GHz rises above that din and avoids being affected.

Why Should You Upgrade to Wi-Fi 5 (Wireless-AC) from Wireless-G or Wireless-N (Wi-Fi 4)?

Hanging onto an older Wireless-G router means you are sacrificing overall speed and security while hindering the wireless capabilities for newer devices. Using a Wireless-G router with an iPhone/iPad may feel like trying to catching a fish with a rock: it may eventually work, but it is certainly not the most efficient way to get the job done. This is not an iPhone-6-to-iPhone-6S-type upgrade, where your device is a little bit sleeker and you have a few new features to play with. When a wireless standard is jumped, you are talking about MAJOR wireless connectivity improvements.

Best Selling

Wi-Fi 5 (Wireless-AC) Routers

Wireless-AC (Wi-Fi 5) vs. Wireless-N (Wi-Fi 4) & Wireless-G

  • Wireless-AC (Wi-Fi 5) offers premium speeds for the latest smartphones, tablets, streaming players, and Smart TVs.


  •  • Wireless-G – 54 Mbps
  •  • Wireless-N (Wi-Fi 4) – 600–900 Mbps
  •  • Wireless-AC (Wi-Fi 5)– 1200–5300 Mbps


  •  • 75 Ft
  •  • 200 Ft
  •  • 500 Ft

Wireless-AC (Wi-Fi 5) is backward compatible to Wireless-N (Wi-Fi 4) and Wireless-G. 


  • • 20 Mhz 
  •  • 20/40 Mhz
  •  • 20/40/80/160 Mhz


  •  • 1 2.4 Ghz (Single Band)
  •  • 1 2.4 Ghz & 1 5 Ghz (Dual Band)
  •  • 1 2.4 Ghz & up to 2 5 Ghz (Tri-Band)


Comparing wireless speeds throughout the history of WiFi from 802.11 to 802.11ac.


The path from the Wireless-G classic WRT54G to the Netgear R8000 x6 AC3200 Nighthawk.


The latest have introduced tri-band, adding an extra wireless band to Wireless-AC (Wi-Fi 5) routers.


Configure Wireless-AC (Wi-Fi 5) Only (802.11ac) on DD-WRT Firmware.

A Brief History of WiFi

Wi-Fi Predecessors

Wi-Fi was born in 1985 after the United States FCC opened up the wireless frequencies 900Mhz, 2.4Ghz, and 5.8Ghz to be used without a license. These radio bands were used by household appliances such as microwaves, and were assumed to have no practical application in communications due to interference from the aforementioned appliances. To make these frequencies usable for communication, the FCC mandated usage of spread spectrum technology over these bands.


Wireless Local Area Network Technology

Around the same time as WiFi, WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) technology emerged, but the technology was proprietary, so wireless devices from one manufacturer wouldn’t work with technology from another. However, in 1988, the NCR Corporation wanted a WLAN standard for use in their wireless cash registers and turned to Victor Hayes, author of many of their data transfer standards. Hayes, along with Bruce Tuch, a Bell Labs engineer, asked the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) for assistance in utilizing these frequencies for a WLAN standard. A committee was created - with the incredibly catchy title “802.11” - to develop this standard. Nine years later, in 1997, the standard was published and named after the committee.


The Beginnings of Wi-Fi

The 802.11 standard was capable of transmitting data at a speed of only two megabits per second but was quickly enhanced. In 1999, a faster version called 802.11a was released, offering a speed of fifty-four megabits per second but with limited range and high production cost. Later in that same year, 802.11b was released, which brought Wi-Fi into the mainstream with its cheap production cost and greater range.

The sudden popularity of wireless networking created a flood of new 802.11b hardware on the market, but there was no way to ensure compatibility between devices from different manufacturers. In 1999, a group of six companies banded together to create the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance, or WECA, an organization that aimed to test Wi-Fi equipment for compatibility. In 2002, they coined the term "Wi-Fi", combining "Wireless" and "Hi-Fi" (a term used in the music industry as an abbreviation of High Fidelity), and renamed themselves Wi-Fi Alliance.


And Then There was Wireless-N…

Wireless-N (802.11n) was released in 2009, and was the first to operate on two bands (2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz), which explains the term dual band router. What made Wireless-N significant is that it increased the maximum data transmission rate more than tenfold from 54 Mbps to 900 Mbps.

Wireless-N also opened up additional spectrum area for wireless transmission, allowing for the use of four spatial streams in a channel width of 40 MHz. That is double the channel width of Wireless-G. 802.11n standardized support/technical specifications for multiple-input multiple-output (AKA MIMO). It also increased security and improved several additional features.