WiFi | 802.11n vs. 802.11ac

BySteve Lowry 2018-07-12 8952

You may usually see 802.11 n / ac in WiFi specification, but what is 802.11 n ? What is 802.11 ac? What is the difference between them? Follow me please.

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What is 802.11n?

802.11n is a wireless networking standard that uses multiple antennas to increase data rates. Sometimes referred to as MIMO (multiple input and multiple output), it is an amendment to the IEEE 802.11-2007 wireless-networking standard.


The purpose is to improve network throughput over the two previous standards—802.11a and 802.11g—with a significant increase in the maximum net data rate from 54Mbit/s to 600Mbit/s (slightly higher gross bit rate which is including error-correction codes and slightly lower maximum throughput) with the use of four spatial streams at a channel width of 40MHz. 802.11n standardized support for multiple-input multiple-output, frame aggregation, and security improvements, among other features. It can be used in the 2.4GHz or 5GHz frequency bands.



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What is 802.11ac?

802.11ac is the newest generation of Wi-Fi signaling in popular use, 802.11ac utilizes dual-band wireless technology, supporting simultaneous connections on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi bands. 802.11ac offers backward compatibility to 802.11b/g/n and bandwidth rated up to 1300 Mbps in the 5GHz band plays up to 450Mbps on 2.4GHz.



Difference between 802.11n and 802.11ac


  IEE 802.11n IEE 802.11ac
Frenquency Band 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz 5 GHz only
Channel widths 20, 40 MHz 20, 40, 80, 160 MHz
Spatial streams 1 to 4 1 to 8 total, up to 4 per client
Multi-user MIMO No Yes

Single stream (1x1)Maximum client data rate

150 Mbps 450 Mbps

Two stream (2x2)Maximum client data rate

270 Mbps (40 MHz channel)

866 Mbps (80 MHz channel)



 You may also want to read:
How do WiFi signal extenders work?
Essential WiFi guide: How NOT to kill your traffic plan
What is WiFi and how to configure it?



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