Wireless G vs. Wireless N

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Difference between Wireless G and Wireless N

The vast universe of wireless device is indeed a joy to behold, and today, there are numerous ways by which we can enjoy the conveniences afforded by this modern technology. On the other hand, the wealth of wireless devices also results in a fair bit of confusion with regard to the proper device to purchase. It also doesn't help matters any that many of the attendant technologies have similar naming conventions, hence the confusion between Wireless G and Wireless N. Let's take a look at these two related wireless technologies and what they mean for you.

Base Technology

Both Wireless G and Wireless N are based on the 802.11 wireless protocol standardization series, which was implemented by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers society or IEEE. The “802” in the phrase is used to denotes the networking usage if the device in question. Devices bearing that number may be WAN, LAN, or WLAN devices. Most wireless devices today use Wireless G, although the number of devices that utilize the newer Wireless N is fast catching up. Keep in mind that while you may be able to use Wireless G devices on networks designed of Wireless N, you will still be limited to Wireless G speeds.

Features

Wireless G was previously the fastest wireless communication standard in the industry, until the introduction of the Wireless N standard. Wireless G offered similar speeds to the previous Wireless A, which runs at 56Mbps max. Unlike the "A" standard however, Wireless G runs on a bandwidth of 2.4GHz band. As for Wireless N, it uses what is known as MIMO or “multiple input, multiple output” technology. This means that Wireless N devices use more than one antenna for signal transmission, giving it maximum range and reception.

Performance

Wireless G devices are theoretically fast enough for most applications, although they are often hindered by the fact that they share bandwidth with other devices such as cell phones, cordless phones, bluetooth and even microwave devices, all of which run at 2.4GHz. Barring such interference, Wireless G devices should be able to get up to 108Mbps. As for Wireless N devices, they have has a theoretical speed of 130 to 160Mbps, although this is if the router used transmits at full 802.11n mode. In reality, this scenario is impossible when the Wireless G is connected to the network. Wireless N devices can work on 2.4 or 5GHz bands.

Summary

Wireless G

  • Based on the 802.11 wireless protocol standardization series established by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers or IEEE
  • Still used in a large number of wireless devices
  • Was the fastest wireless networking protocol until the release of the N protocol
  • Supports a maximum speed of 56Mbps and works on the 2.4GHz band
  • Is not compatible with the Wireless A protocol
  • Sharing bandwidth with other devices can cause interference leading to slowdown

Wireless N

  • Based on the 802.11 wireless protocol standardization series established by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers or IEEE
  • Used in a variety of wireless devices
  • Uses a MIMO or “multiple input, multiple output” technology
  • Utilizes multiple antennae instead of a single one
  • Theoretical speeds of 130 to 160Mbps with a maximum speed of 300Mbps
  • Actual speed could be considerably lower

Which one is worth the upgrade?
  • Wireless G
  • Wireless N
 
 

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