It was such a non-event because the draft standard really worked from the beginning with no real issues and great backwards compatibility. Now that the standard has been fully ratified, what does that mean for companies that are still lagging a generation or two behind in their wireless communication setup?
While 802.11n is a lot faster than previous standards—it will transmit data at speeds of up to 160M bps over short distances—it offers other improvements, as well. These include a better method of encoding packets, making delivery more reliable; support for QOS (quality of service); and support for MIMO (multiple input, multiple output), which allows the radios in wireless devices to use multiple antennas to improve reception. Last but certainly not least, 802.11n devices operate on both the 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands. And when using dual-band N access points this means is that B and G devices on your N network won’t slow things down…its win-win. There’s no risk - everything will just work better as portions of your net- work move to 802.11n.
So, is it time to upgrade? Other than cost, there’s very little to worry about…so the answer is basically YES. Here are six things to consider when looking to upgrade your wireless networking to 802.11n:
· You can just replace your existing access points with new ones when you upgrade your Wi-Fi. However, if you do so, you’re probably wasting money, since you almost certainly won’t need as many of them.
· Even your old 802.11g clients will work fine, and their connections will be stable over longer ranges.
· You have two frequency bands available for 802.11n: 2.4GHz and 5GHz. When possible, use the 5GHz range because there’s less interference on it, but the 2.4GHz and the 5GHz ranges are nearly the same.
· When possible, use dual-band access points. You’ll gain significant flexibility and a lot more capacity.
· 802.11n supports things that older versions of Wi-Fi didn’t, including HDTV and streaming multimedia. However, you’ll get more benefit if you focus on capacity and reliability.
· It’s perfectly safe to buy Wi-Fi products that say they meet the “Draft N” standard because those were certified along with the newer products that don’t have the word “draft” in them. However, steer clear of “pre-N” gear—it’s not certified and may not work with current wireless products.
I originally authored this article for the Real Deal Technologies website.