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I have 50mb/s DL speed. Should I get wireless G or wireless N?

Last response: in Wireless Networking
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September 12, 2012 4:46:34 AM

Hey guys, thanks for reading my question. So the thread title is pretty self explanatory. I have a 50mbps connection with a hard wire into the modem. I have a computer a floor up from the modem (and the router) that I want to connect wirelessly.

Should I get a wireless G or a wireless N router? The G routers promise speeds of up to 54mbps, which would just meet my download speed, but would a wireless N router give better performance? Would it project a better signal strength? Thanks so much for the help!
a b F Wireless
September 12, 2012 2:55:48 PM

Quoted speeds for wireless (or any networking for that matter) are the theoretical max, not accounting for protocol overhead and such. Real world performance on wireless is generally 1/2 the quoted.
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a c 127 F Wireless
September 12, 2012 3:53:37 PM

To use N both your router and all your devices must also run N. If you have G devices your N router will fall back to G and if you use a mix of N and G devices it will likely force all to run at G.

Maybe a better question is how much will you save buying a g router over one that also does N. I suspect you will have a hard time even finding a router that does not support N.

Will it be any faster hard to say, in theory the N should work better but in the real world you never know because of all the difference in houses.
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a b F Wireless
September 12, 2012 10:15:09 PM

^^ At one time that was true, but times have changed, and for the better.

I’m running an ASUS WL-500gP V2 wireless G router (dd-wrt) and have an ASUS RT-N13U B1 wireless N router (dd-wrt) patched to it running in AP mode (mixed wireless).

All my wireless G clients run at wireless G speeds, while all my wireless N clients run at wireless N speeds, even when both are connected at the same time. And it’s been tested w/ actual tools (e.g., NetCPS, iPerf). The ONLY time my wireless N devices take a hit (and only minor, ~5Mbps) is when the wireless G devices are “active”. But even so, my wireless N devices always run at wireless N speeds when they’re active. Like any wireless client, they only suffer in terms of throughput when more than one wireless client (G or N) is accessing the AP at the same time.

The days of wireless routers downgrading ALL clients to the lowest commonly shared speed simply because you have mixed clients is no longer a given. Of course, it may still be the case for older equipment.

To illustrate, I’ve attached a dump of the wireless status screen from the wireless N AP. The first two are wireless N clients and show link-speeds of 65/72.2Mbps and 58/65Mbps. The third is a wireless G client showing link-speeds of 48/36Mbps. Now granted, the link-speeds don’t tell us the actual throughput. But it does at least suggest that the router hasn’t AUTOMATICALLY downgraded the links to wireless G, and actual testing confirms it.



So the bottom line is, whether wireless G or N, associated or active, it just doesn’t matter. The router merely delivers whatever the wireless client is capable of handling.
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