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Difference Between 802.11 a b g n ac

Difference Between 802.11 a b g n ac

Whether you are looking into buying a new wireless router or a WiFi adapter you will want to know what the difference between 802.11 a b g n ac is. If you are not a person that keeps up with technology then you most likely don’t even know what any of this is. Don’t worry though because we will guide you through the basics to give you an understanding of what this all is.


The first WLAN standard was released in 1997 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and they called it 802.11. This would only support a maximum of 2 Mbps for network bandwidth which is rather slow for most applications.

802.11 was created in 1997 by the ieee

WHAT IS 802.11B?

In July of 1999, the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEEE) expanded on the original WLAN standard and created 802.11b. Wireless B can be compared to traditional Ethernet since it supports  a bandwidth up to 11 Mbps and the signal is good for around 150 feet. Routers with just 802.11b are no longer manufactured these days. A problem with 802.11b is that it operates at a frequency range of 2.4GHz which is the same frequency as many common household appliances and it can cause interference.

WHAT IS 802.11A?

Wireless A or 802.11a was actually created around the same time as 802.11b. Wireless B gained more popularity when the wlan standard came out which makes many people believe that 802.11a came out before 802.11b. Wireless A supports up to 54 Mbps of bandwidth, operates at a frequency range around 5 GHz, and there is no signal interference. Wireless A is more expensive so it is found more on business networks. 802.11a and 802.11b operate at different frequencies so they are incompatible with eachother.

WHAT IS 802.11G?

Wireless G operates at the same frequency range of Wireless B at 2.4 GHz which means it has interference issues as well. It supports up to 54 Mbps of bandwidth and it is backward compatible with 802.11b devices. Wireless G is similar to Wireless B but it has more speed.

WHAT IS 802.11N?

Wireless N operates at frequencies of both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. It supports up to 300 Mbps of bandwidth due to the utilization of multiple antennas. Speeds normally stay around 130 Mbps or less without specific configurations being met. The Wireless N has increased signal strength and power over the Wireless G.

WHAT IS 802.11AC?

Wireless AC is the newest generation of WiFi and it supports simultaneous connections on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 HGz frequencies. It offers backward compatibility to 802.11b/g/n as well. It supports up to 1300 Mbps on the 5 GHz band and up to 450 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band. Wireless AC has an even greater coverage area and a stronger signal.


The main differences between all of these standards are the frequency at which they operate on, the bandwidth, signal strength, backward compatibility, the use of multiple antennas, and range. If you plan on purchasing a new router of WiFi adapter be sure to keep all of these things in mind.



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