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The majority of problems experienced with Wi-Fi network Understanding the Most Common Wi-Fi Standards Understanding the Most Common Wi-Fi Standards Wi-Fi can be a bit confusing because there are a handful of different standards being used. Here's what you need to know. Read More connectivity arises from the wireless router. Most of the time, the problem can be traced back to the cheap modem-router combinations that telecommunications companies like AT&T and Comcast foist off on their customers. While these units provide cheap Internet connectivity, they often don’t provide better connection speeds than 802.11g, colloquially referred to as “Wireless G”. Since the release of 802.11g in 2003, wireless standards rocketed past even wireless-G’s successor, 802.11n.

The newest standard today is 802.11ac, which adds not just increased transfer speeds but also better connectivity. To get the most out of the latest wireless standards, however, you need a wireless adapter with the 802.11n or 802.11ac technology in addition to a router capable of providing such speeds.

Another issue complicating the various wireless standards is that of channel saturation When Defaults Are Bad: How To Pick a Unique Wireless Channel For Your Router When Defaults Are Bad: How To Pick a Unique Wireless Channel For Your Router Wired ethernet will always be better than wireless connections, but sometimes you don’t have a choice - all manner of mobile devices need wifi. There is however one very basic step you can take which... Read More . For those living in apartments, you may frequently experience Internet disconnections. That’s because the 2.4 GHz spectrum remains the most popular bandwidth for modern devices. A very recent trend among device manufacturers has been to include 5 GHz, along with the older 2.4 GHz band. These routers are known as “dual-band” and can connect to either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz wireless adapters.

Wireless-N and Wireless-AC Explained

802.11n

80211n

Two different standards: Little do users know, different mainstream versions of 802.11n exist, distinguished by connection speeds. As of 2013, there are over 2 common standards for wireless-N devices. These range in speed from 144.4 Mbit/s to 300 Mbit/s. Most importantly, unless your router supports the same transfer rate, then you won’t be able to hit the maximum advertised data transfer speeds, even if you have an adapter rated for 300 Mbit/s speeds.

Range: Also important, the 802.11n standard features improved range over the previous 802.11g standard. You get over double that of a 802.11g with a wireless-N router.

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Feasibility: What this all means is that if you pick a next generation wireless standard, consider what your requirements are. Most users won’t actually get that much benefit going from a wireless-G to a wireless-N device. However, if connection stability or file transfer rates are a problem, switching over to wireless-N will make a qualitative difference in performance.

802.11ac

80211ac

5 GHz: 802.11ac broadcasts entirely on the 5 GHz broadcast spectrum. The wireless-AC standard remains today’s fastest, consumer-available means of connecting to your computer. Until the end of 2013, the AC standard will remain in an unsolidified beta. The format will likely receive its final draft in 2014, with it becoming the dominant standard in 2015.

Multiple versions: Several versions of the AC technology exist, although the maximum speed has yet to be realized. For example, the fastest version of the wireless-AC standard reaches speeds up to 866.7 Mbit/s. The slowest standard falls shot of even wireless-N at speeds of up to 87.6 Mbit/s. When buying, make sure you buy the faster versions.

Draft: 802.11ac standards are commonly referred to as “draft”, meaning they aren’t finalized specifications. As a result of its unrefined status, four different standards for it currently populate the marketplace. Of these four, the transfer speeds vary wildly.

Beamforming: Wireless-AC also includes a promising technology known as “Beamforming”. Beamforming permits a router to direct its signal toward an adapter. So rather than shooting Wi-Fi signal everywhere, it focuses it in the direction of your computer. So while higher frequencies have lower wall penetration than lower frequencies, Beamforming allows better quality connection even in the 5 GHz spectrum. Not all wireless-AC routers possess this capability, though, so make sure this feature is supported before making a purchase.

different standards

How Are Dual-Band Routers Different?

Dual-band routers broadcast on two different frequencies: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Currently, 2.4 GHz is oversaturated with devices. That’s because almost every smartphone, tablet and laptop uses either Wireless-G or Wireless-N to connect to receive Internet. Imagine what would happen if twenty people tried to exit a bus through the same exit at the same time – the same holds true for data transmissions. The air can only hold so much traffic at any one time.

The simplest solution to solving oversaturation of a broadcast frequency: Try switching to another frequency. Almost no one uses the 5 GHz bandwidth. In my apartment complex, out of the 18 different routers detected by my computer, only one broadcast on the 5 GHz bandwidth: mine.

routers

Conclusion

In short, the maximum speed attainable by your network can bottleneck from two choke-points: First, the router and second, the wireless adapter. It sounds commonsensical, but I have often seen wireless-N devices on wireless-G networks, the owners believing that they had faster connection speeds.

If you want to optimize the speed of your home network, consider switching over to a dual-band router What You Need To Know When Buying A WiFi Router For Your Home What You Need To Know When Buying A WiFi Router For Your Home Many people find that they don’t know much about routers when it comes time to buy one. There’s no shame in that. Consumers usually don’t bother to learn much about them because we don’t often... Read More and start buying devices using at least the wireless-N standard (802.11n). While the wireless-AC standard is not yet finalized, you can still get an extremely fast device for not much more money than a wireless-N router or adapter.

Does anyone want to upgrade? Please share in the comments.

Image credit: Pierre Lecourt/flickr, Loozrboy/flickr

  1. frankie cunes
    September 9, 2016 at 3:54 am

    Timely commentary - I was fascinated by the analysis . Does anyone know if my business might obtain a sample UK SET(Protection Route) form to use ?

  2. Susan Tonjes
    December 10, 2015 at 11:48 pm

    I just had a UBee dual band 2.4GHz & 5GHz modem/router installed. The 5GHz connection appeared immediately on my iPhone 5 & iPad Mini along with the standard 2.4GHz connection. However, my laptop (with a Qualcomm Atheros AR9485 802.11b/g/n WiFi Adapter) does not show the 5GHz connection as an available network? Since my adapter is 802.11/b/g/n, shouldn't it recognize the 5GHz connection? I checked the modem/router device setup, and the mode for the 5GHz connection is set to 'Mixed a/n/ac'. So logically I expected to be able to utilize the 5GHz on my laptop with the 802.11n. Am I missing something? I am new to this stuff, but am fairly technologically capable (meaning I can usually figure my computer/device software configurations better than customer care or even some techs - both of which I spoke with earlier today regarding having 2 networks populating on my iPhone & iPad with the install of the new modem/router. They had no idea! Insisted the 5G one had to be a neighbors and that the UBee modems were not duel band! Even after I started reading the tech the label affixed to the side of the modem stating both bands! Crazy. Quickly decided not to waste my time trying to teach the tech and just do it myself! I had the 5G band renamed and password configured in less than 10min.)

    I'd just really like to use the 5GHz for my laptop connection since it is utilized in the same room as the modem/router 99.9% of the time! I noticed a definite improvement in speed on both my iPhone and iPad on the 5GHz connection.

    Any thoughts or advise? Maybe I've missed something I need to change in my laptop settings? I've run out of ideas!

    Thanks for any insights or advise you have. They will be much appreciated!

    Suze
    PS: I did add it as a network in my list of wireless networks under manager networks in case that would help, but of course this was of no help.

    • Kannon Yamada
      December 15, 2015 at 2:54 am

      Hi Susan, sorry for the delayed response. I'm afraid that you will not be able to get 5GHz on your laptop.

      Not all 802.11n devices are dual-band. Some are 802.11n single band. The Atheros card in your laptop is unfortunately single band. It's really confusing for device manufacturers to have created that division in the N classification, since there is such a big gap in performance between the 2.4 and 5GHz spectrums.

      You do have the option of replacing the wireless card inside of your device, with a relatively inexpensive wireless AC card, though. I've seen them go for around $20.

    • Kannon Yamada
      December 15, 2015 at 2:58 am

      I'm not sure what kind of laptop you have. Most Windows laptops made in the last few years use what's called mini-PCIe cards. Here's an example of a well-regarded 802.11ac wireless card:

      http://www.amazon.com/Intel-Dual-Band-Wireless-AC-Bluetooth/dp/B00E7QGHE6

      I have this model in my desktop and laptop (I got them for $12 elsewhere on sale a while ago... it was Rakuten.com).

      If you have a Macintosh of some type, you would need to do a little more research on it, but I'm sure you could get something relatively inexpensive.

  3. harry
    February 27, 2015 at 3:05 am

    i have a new echo router from my cable company i am signed for 75 mbps the router has 2.4 and the 5. When i am hooked direct i pull 85mbps when i hook up wifi i get about 35mbps on 2,4 and that is my smart phone,apple i 5 phone, i am about 3 ft away my 5g is ok but the rang is not as good , why is the wifi slow with only 1 device active

  4. Eric
    January 31, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    Hello,
    I have a PC (Windows 7) and a Mac (10.6.8) connected to the same Linksys single band
    wireless N router. I have gone through my router and changed settings to maximize my
    speed. Both computers have 802.11n cards in them. I get 50 Mbps download on my PC
    and 35 Mbps download on my Mac. Is there any network preference (for my Airport Extreme
    card or any other preference) on my Mac to help bring up the speed to match my PC?
    Hard wired from my cable modem I get 50 Mbps on both.

    thank you!

  5. Kannon Y
    January 25, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    That sounds more like a MAC address conflict or a QoS issue. Try disabling QoS:

    http://community.us.playstation.com/t5/PlayStation-4-Support/Cannot-use-Wifi-on-ps4-at-same-time-as-pc/td-p/42612837/page/2

  6. Hoots
    January 25, 2015 at 3:02 am

    I have issues with my Smart TV not connecting to the WiFi when the PS4 is connected. The TV sees the WiFi but will not connect. We unplugged the PS4 and all is well. What should I do so everything will work at the same time?

  7. Brielle
    January 22, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    Hi Kannon~ Thanks for the article (sometimes a bit over my head, lol), and thanks for your input with questions. My question is this. I have a netgear 3400 dual band, and I have it set for both 2.4g and 5g. My laptop, which is a new Dell Vostro e5540, switches back and forth CONSTANTLY between the two. So it drops one signal, and tries to pick up the other signal, back and forth, all the time. I'm also having trouble with my daughter's new iphone 6 (first smart phone in our family and I'm trying to get it set up properly) because since we're at home we're not "worried" about data usage, but her phone seems to drop the wi-fi connection, I guess, quite a lot, because she used 2.4 gb of data in about 10 days. So I honesty don't know what to do about my connections. Any advice? I did just buy a netgear extender which I haven't installed yet. We are in a tri-level home and the iphone gets used on the 3rd floor, and the router is on the bottom floor. Maybe this is the issue and the extender will fix it? Thanks in advance for any help - I'm very frustrated! :D

    • Kannon Y
      January 24, 2015 at 2:37 am

      5GHz signals have issues penetrating walls. If a dual-band device is set up for both bands (you must log in separately to each band through the router), it will switch to signal that provides a better connection.

      If you use an extender that's dual-band, you might want to try placing it on the second floor (which I'm sure you planned on doing in the first place), which will improve your signal on the 3rd floor. If that doesn't resolve the issue, I would try forgetting the 2.4GHz network and connecting exclusively through the 5GHz connection.

      I hope that makes sense. Let me know if you have any other questions.

    • Brielle
      January 29, 2015 at 10:31 pm

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful response. I'll try the extender and see how it goes. :)

    • Kannon Y
      January 30, 2015 at 12:17 am

      No prob!

      I should also mention that if you have a router-modem combo (which rolls the router and modem into the same device) AND also have a router, you may want to consider disabling the wireless capabilities on the combo device. Having two routers broadcasting at the same time can cause serious connection issues.

      There should be directions on how to disable wireless on your particular device.

  8. Ryan
    January 14, 2015 at 1:56 am

    Great post!

  9. Tim
    December 14, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    UBEE Wireless Cable Modem from Time Warner Cable - Need to replace it so that I can take advantage of the 30 MBS + speed that I get. My PS3 is only able to get 11 MBS Down at best out of that. (BTW there is no selection on this modem to "avoid dropping" of IP due to non static nature of RoadRunner Extreme)

    Have Samsung Smart TV also which can act as Wireless Access Point - but still only able to get 7-9MBS Wireless on the PS3. What am I doing wrong?

    I dont understand is there some settings on the PS3 that I am just missing. Have tried Port Forwards and Static IP still same same.

    • Kannon Y
      December 14, 2013 at 11:08 pm

      30 MB/s or 30mbps? It's the difference between bytes and bits. My aDSL offers 30 mbps, which is SUBSTANTIALLY slower than 30MB/s.

      30mbps is about equal to 4MB/s.

      Another caveat is that, aside from being a horrible provider, Time Warner advertises their peak transfer speeds, but the average usable is oftentimes dependent on how overburdened their service is. Cable is notorious for offering great speeds on paper, but in reality offering substantially reduced speeds.

      In my opinion, they're breaking the spirit of their contract, although not the letter.

  10. James B
    October 11, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    My macbook air just got a firmware update to use 2 channels of AC, and I just bought a new apple airport extreme for testing. Wifi speeds shot up - transferring a movie from my NAS took 3 1/2 minutes before, now less than 30 seconds. Shame none of the mobile idevices use the standard yet ;(, but i did gt a speed increase there too anyway with the new router, despite the old cable company supplied one also being N-rated.

    • Kannon Y
      October 11, 2013 at 8:32 pm

      Nice. The great thing about AC devices is that they can receive performance buffs simply through firmware update. I imagine very few companies will actually release updates, unfortunately. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Kevin
    October 10, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    Us too have been using the Netgear 3700 (first edition - not the latest 3700v4) to power all laptops and all i-devices, PS3 and Xbox they do get "great" 2.4G signal, and only my little boy's latest Sony laptop picks up the 5G signal in full power. Sooner or later we will all replace our laptops and others and they would be all pick up the 5G's. Then lately, my kids and i read up the new Netgear Nighhawk which is an AC router and thinking to get it to replace the N3700 and turn the N3700 as a bridge for the older TV set. Our whole intend is to utilize the "beam" technology from the Nighthawk to boots those i-devices as advertised, are we insane? does it even work that way? This is how I ended up here, please advise. I don't mind paying $199 for the Nighthawk if everything work out as advertised, and also to pave a map for future usage. Since AC is backward compatible, i guess it's fine to get an AC router now when your old router is dying or is giving out bad signals (completely skipping N).

  12. Eric L
    October 9, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    5GHz is extremely limited in actual application. Yeah, it doesn't conflict with most cordless phones, baby monitors, etc. but it also will not penetrate walls. For devices in the same room, it's great. But if you have a home with more than one room, or floor, or devices which exist in rooms where your router isn't, 2.4GHz is the way to go.

    • Kannon Y
      October 10, 2013 at 2:27 am

      Yeah, those higher bandwidths don't like solid walls. 5GHz on a decent router can penetrate one wall and sometimes two, but that's about it. Most people end up relying on using repeaters.

  13. Gregg L. DesElms
    October 9, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    What? Paragraphing doesn't work in comments, here? Is this website insane?

    • Kannon Y
      October 10, 2013 at 2:24 am

      Potentially there's an issue. Let's try it out:

      What? Paragraphing doesn’t work in comments, here? Is this website insane?

      If that didn't work, I would try this:

      What? Paragraphing doesn’t work in comments, here? Is this website insane?

      Hopefully that did it.

      If it didn't, it may be that the site upgrade didn't migrate our custom wordpress quote tags. I'll mention this to our web developer.

    • Kannon Y
      October 10, 2013 at 2:26 am

      It looks like the blockquote and q tags both work, but not in preview mode. Just refresh the page and it should display properly.

  14. Gregg L. DesElms
    October 9, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    There are virtually no wireless routers in use today which don't have at least "N" band. And, of course, if the have that, then they likely also have "B" and "G" bands. The "AC" band is sufficiently new that no one who doesn't have it should feel bad about it; or should be made to feel like they need to scrap the B/G/N router they now have just so they can say they have the latest and greatest "AC" band, too.

    I've been in IT (as a pro, not merely an end-user) for pushing 40 years. I don't mind articles that explain new standards; but I'm sick-to-death of new and still-being-worked-out standards being presented as must-have. The "AC" standard is a long way from being "needed" by anyone, yet. The "N" standard is the current normative standard, with no small number of devices still using "G" and sometimes even "B ". All anyone has to do to verify that is look at the log of virtually any public-place WI-FI router, such as at a Starbucks or McDonalds.

    The "AC" standard is nice, and I look forward to it becoming normative; but shame on anyone who makes those who don't really know a lot about this sort of thing to feel like they need to scrap the perfectly-fine B/G/N router they now have so that they can have the fledgling (and so, then, not really needed yet) "AC" standard.

    People who both write and read articles like this on websites like this need to remember that they're a bit more into the techno-geekiness of it all; and they need to keep that in mind whenever talking to or in front of mere end-users so they're not confused. By the time most end-users really and truly need the "AC" band, they'll probably also need a new router, or will be getting new service somehwere, and so will get a new B/G/N/AC router without them having to think or even know about it.

    There's nearly never a reason for mere end users to be early adopters of pretty much anything... or for those who want, for example, the latest iPhone to camp on the sidealk outside Apple stores. It's just stupid. There is, again, nothing wrong with the more techno-geeky types, like me, doing it... after all, if we don't early adopt, then how will the makers of new technologies get any feedback so they can perfect it; and/or how will the techno-geeks learn about it so we can help others. I get that, and that's fine. But just please don't present it like everyone just has to have it or they can't get good service, or things won't work, because that's just not true... and everyone reading this knows that.

    __________________________________
    Gregg L. DesElms
    Napa, California USA
    gregg at greggdeselms dot com

    • Kannon Y
      October 9, 2013 at 8:42 pm

      Hey Greg, great comment!

      I must have botched the tone of the article - I want to make this clear: People only need to upgrade if they're experiencing connectivity issues and are on a wireless-G router. Everyone else who is fine with their connection should keep what they have.

      The reason I wrote this article is my provider just gave me a wireless-g router/modem and there's about 18 networks within the same complex that are wireless-g. My connect issues were horrible. Going to wireless-N and AC fixed the issue.

      But otherwise everything you wrote I agree with! Thanks for the comment!

  15. Jeannette
    October 9, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    I tried to post this to my facebook page... but would not go. FB cited some error connected with Make Use Of. Please fix!

    • Kannon Y
      October 11, 2013 at 4:56 am

      I would try logging out and then logging back in. That always seems to solve my social login problems. If that doesn't work, let us know and I'll speak to the web developer about it.

  16. Julia Erickson
    October 9, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Does it matter what ISP you have? Will this work with Verizon Fios? Do you need someone who really knows what they are doing to make this switch or can us tech neophytes do it too?

    • Robert B
      October 9, 2013 at 4:33 pm

      Hi Julia,
      I too have FIOS, the easiest way to set it up is to use your existing FIOS router. You cannot get rid of your FIOS router because it is the only one that will talk with the FIOS network so you would still use your FIOS router but not the built in WiFi that it comes with. What speed do you buy from Verizion? If it is less than the 75Mbps/35Mbps plan then they will not give you one of the newest routers free, with the 75/35 speeds and up it is included. The new routers are WiFi N routers and have Gigabit ethernet (1000Mbps), if you have a lower plan you can buy an upgraded WiFi N FIOS router from Verizion, I think it costs 79 dollars. The problem with using the older type FIOS routers are they only have 10/100 Mbps wired ports. If you do have one of the newer FIOS routers the way to use one of the new AC WiFi routers is to turn off the radio for WiFi in the FIOS router then plug in a wired ethernet cable into the FIOS WAN port and then into the port the new AC router tells you to. If the WAN port is not working on the FIOS router then you can connect the AC router to a regular ethernet port on the FIOS router. If you have problems knowing how to turn off the WiFi in your FIOS router then call FIOS support and they can walk you though how to do this. Before you purchase a new AC router read several reviews before you decide on a brand. From what I have been seeing the new Asus AC routers are out performing most of the other ones. Do not buy one that does not have external antennas, there are a lot of companies that have gone with internal antenna designs and they suffer from WiFi range/coverages issues in comparison to the brands using external antennas. There may be a way to configure your Windows PC to share your internet connection but I am not sure how to do it, if you have two network (ethernet) ports on your PC then you would plug the FIOS router into one and the new AC WiFi router into the other one. All the other computers in your home network will connect to the new AC WiFi router and the main PC acting as a Server that is connected to the FIOS router would share its internet connection. I know how to set this up in Linux but not Windows. If this is possible you do not have to worry about the existing FIOS router type and you would not have to upgrade your FIOS router just to get the Gigabit ethernet ports.

    • Kannon Y
      October 10, 2013 at 2:35 am

      For me, my router automatically changed settings. All I had to do was turn off the wireless on my router/modem combo (through the web browser) and the dual band router automatically handled the rest of the settings when I activated the automatic setup wizard.

      Not all routers are that easy to setup though. But overall, you only need to follow the directions in the installation instructions.

  17. E O'Callaghan
    October 8, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    I upgraded to a Netgear 3700 and it solved my connectivity issues. My other equipment is older so I do not use the 5 GHz frequency even though it is set up and active. The previous modem/router fell over daily and needed constant attention.

  18. Chico
    October 8, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    How can I know the frequency I'm in?

    • Kannon Y
      October 11, 2013 at 5:00 am

      I would Google the model of the wireless adapter AND the wireless router that you're using. Most of the time you'll be connected on a 2.4GHz bandwidth. If your router offers a 5GHz bandwidth, it will broadcast on two different SSIDs (names of your network). Normally, if you have a dual-band, it will label the 5GHz network as "5G" or something like that.

      If it's a laptop, you can Google the laptop model and add "wireless adapter" to the search.

      Most laptops don't include 802.11 support, or dual-band support, for that matter. Although you can easily replace that functionality on many laptops nowadays.

  19. Gee
    October 8, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    May sound funny or coincidence but I just connected a linksys dual band router and my garage door fobs stop working from distance, do you think I possibly have interference or two totally different things ?

  20. Robert B
    October 8, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Hello,
    A very good article, however a lot of people with wifi that is bundled with cable TV here in the US will not benefit from most N and especially the newer AC routers. Unfortunately most cable providers are only giving their customers the very antiquated wifi G modem routers that all come with only 10/100 Mbps wired connections. I noticed that Asus has just released a new model AC router called the RT-AC68U Wireless AC-1900. They advertise a band width of Up to 600+1300Mbps Wireless Data Rates. One of the customer reviewers on NewEgg.com reported that he gets a consistent 866.3 Mbps. If you are unable to upgrade your current modem/router with a newer N wifi that will come with 1000 Mbps wired connections then the fastest that any wifi router will ever be able to achieve will be the older 100Mbps of the past generation of Ethernet. Fortunately for me I have Verizion FIOS and recently upgraded to 75 Mbps down and 35Mbps up wifi. It was not until I upgraded to this level of service that Verizion offers a wifi n router with gigabit ethernet. At least with Verizion if you have the slower connection speeds they offer the same router that came with my service for sell for only 79 dollars. Buying this will not increase what you have purchase with respect to your internet connection speeds but would still be a good upgrade if you have a home network setup because with the gigabit Ethernet at least if you connect your main server via Ethernet you will be able to use the new AC wireles routers for streaming content to the other clients on your network. This new Asus AC router is over 200 dollars so before you spend the money on AC find out if you can get an updated cable modem/router that has gigabit ethernet connections. I am not sure if you are running Windows if you have two gigabit ethernet connections on your pc using one for your cable modem and one for the AC router that have all the other computers in your network connected to, how difficult it is or even if it is possible to share your internet connection via your main server as I have never done this with Windows. Most people usually have everything connected to the cable modem/router that is provided by their cable companies including addition routers. If you know how to configure a network like this then perhaps it would be beneficial if you could explain how to set this up

  21. Min Xuan X
    October 8, 2013 at 12:15 am

    I have an ASUS dual band wireless-N router, and it also has beamforming, ASUS calls it "Ai Radar". I'm not sure whether it works on the 2.4GHz band, but it seems that as long as the router handles 5GHz frequencies, it will have beamforming no matter the technology standard.

    Funny(though sad) thing about having my new router that I've been using it for only about 2 weeks, is that out of the many devices in my household that connect by wireless, only one can receive the 5GHz frequency: my Nokia Lumia 620. The wall penetration is awful, especially since the frequency has to go through the couch in the living room, the window next to it, and then reinforced concrete to enter my room. I ended up using a powerline adapter in my room instead.

    • Kannon Y
      October 9, 2013 at 9:44 pm

      Thanks for the comment! I've read that Beamforming implementation varies by manufacturer - and there's several kinds that are available within the wireless-AC standard. Compatibility, then, must be an issue.

      Because 802.11ac is a draft spec, not all routers include Beamforming technology. But they could all probably add Beamforming via firmware update.

  22. likefunbutnot
    October 7, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    Many consumer 802.11 clients, routers and access points are implemented without support for the 5GHz band. That "Dual Band" terminology is extremely important! Without it, you can more or less assume that your devices are 2.4GHz only.

    It's also important to understand that the higher-performing sorts of 802.11 rely on using multiple sets of transceivers. Just because your phone, tablet or laptop supports 802.11 on one band or other, does not mean that it supports the promised 450Mbit or 600Mbit or whatever lie they put on the box.

    Nope, if you want a "300" or "450" Megabit 802.11n connection , you need a NIC that supports a 2x2 or 3x3 connection (note: this is highly unlikely for most consumer hardware). And you need to be close enough to your access point or router to negotiate a high speed connection. That will more or less never happen in actual reality, and even if it did you'd find that the real-world top speed of a completely perfect 802.11 connection is at best perhaps half as fast as the negotiated data rate. 802.11 bandwidth is also shared among devices on the same access point, so if any particular AP or router is serving multiple clients at the same time, they should all expect to have a somewhat degraded experience. I've found this to be common in homes that have a large number of wireless clients.

    The most important thing - something that needs to be pounded into every person's head over and over and over again from now until forever - is that connections that are both fast and reliable use WIRES. The real world file transfer performance of clients connected via 802.11AC still doesn't match that of a device connected to a 15 year old 100Mbit ethernet switch. If you need speed and reliability and ethernet is for some reason out of the question, I suggest taking a long, hard look at a Homeplug kit or revising your expectations downward.

  23. Arvinder K
    October 7, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    I recently switched to a dual band router when my current router was unable to handle the number of devices connecting to it. It's working sweetly, I am using 2 different frequencies.

  24. Dany B
    October 7, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    I know its possible to have 2 different SSID for the 2.4 and 5, not sure if you can have two different MAC address and website filters on each one.

    • Nahum L
      October 7, 2013 at 10:47 pm

      hey Dany B visit the manufactures docs, hey everything is possible!

  25. Rodolfo L
    October 7, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Is it possible to have two different SSID, one in each band, and have two different MAC address and website filters, one on each one?

    • Thomas Nord
      October 7, 2013 at 6:38 pm

      I have the Asus dual band AC router and I set it up with two different SSIDs and each one has its own MAC filter.

    • Kannon Y
      October 11, 2013 at 3:07 am

      In my experience, yes, but I haven't tried out blocking MAC addresses or using filters. I would imagine that it is possible, though, with the right router. That's a very interesting question.

  26. brian carr
    October 7, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    nice write up ive been using dual band for a while now and while the 5GHz band can remove congestion from the 2.6GHz but its not very good its only for short distance connection and it is hopeless at penetrating walls etc.

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