Question: I’ve had a wireless network in my home for a few years, but it seems slow and doesn’t reach to a lot of places in my house. How can I improve the network performance?
Answer: Wireless networks have evolved quite a bit in the last several years. Replacing an older wireless router with a new router using current technology may significantly expand the range and increase the speed of your network. Replacing/upgrading your wirelss adapters may also help.
Latest Wireless Network Technology
Most new routers, including those utilizing the latest 802.11”n” and MIMO technology, are backwardly compatible with earlier 802.11“g” and “b” WiFi adapters and will substantially enhance the performance of these older adapters. While it will not be necessary to replace your older wireless adapters, using the latest technology wireless adapters will increase the benefits you receive from the new wireless router.
Current technology utilizes advances in the WiFi transmitters and receivers, advances in antennae technology (MIMO), and new chip technology to provide dramatic increase in data transfer rates and much broader areas of coverage. The newest technology is tied to the coming (but not yet finalized) 802.11n standard.
802.11 – The Wifi Standard
The first wireless or “WiFi” network was identified by the name assigned by the IEEE Standards Committee – 802.11b. This had a maximum data transfer rate of 11 megabits per second (Mbps). This was followed a couple years later by the 802.11g standard. Wireless “g” equipment has a maximum data transfer rate of 54 Mbps. Along with a faster data rate, “g” WiFi equipment also cover a greater area. Recently, newer technology has been available in advance of the next WiFi standard 802.11n. Projected maximum data transfer rates for the 802.11n standard are in excess of 200 Mbps or potentially even faster than many wired networks.