You finally received a wireless-N router as a Christmas present and are now ready to move on to the new and faster standard. (And even if you didn't, I would recommend that you go get one yourself.) Now that you have some relaxing time, let's go through the basics on wireless networking and how to generally set up your router like a pro.
Wireless-N router basics
The year 2009 is a very significant year for wireless networking as the N standard (or 802.11n, which offers speed up to 300Mbps and higher) was finally ratified in September after seven years of being in draft. However, chances are, your new router is still based on the latest revision of the draft N. As far as I know, there aren't any final N products on the market yet, though there will be soon.
Nonetheless, as long as has been certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance, it's guaranteed to be interoperable with N products when they come out. Even if it's not certified, it's likely that it will still work, and all existing draft N wireless routers can be upgraded via firmware to be fully compliant with the final N.
As some of you might not know, routers are platform-agnostic. It doesn't matter if you run a PC or a Mac, your new router will work. In other words, if you just upgraded to Windows 7 and your router's says it's "Vista-ready," you will not need a new router. That kind of labeling is just for marketing purposes. All wireless routers work with all consumer operating systems.
Wireless-N is backward compatible with previous standards of wireless networking including wireless-G, which caps at 54Mbps and is currently popular in mobile devices like smartphones and Netbooks, and the now obsolete wireless-B standards. This means clients (computers, phones, handheld devices, etc.) that use the old standards can connect to a wireless-N router and vice versa; the wireless-N clients can also connect to a wireless-G routers.
However, the cap speed of a mixed connection is that of the slowest standard. Most wireless-N routers are capable of delivering the slower speeds to clients of old standards while maintaining the high-speed connection to N client at the same time. So upgrading your router to an N one will not require changing the adapters to your computers, unless you absolutely need the faster speed.… Read more
Via e-mails and discussions with people, I've recently discovered that a lot of folks out there still have the impression that 300Mbps Wireless-N routers are not as affordable as the old 54Mbps Wireless-G routers are.
Granted, you may be able to get a Wireless-G router for free from your service provider, but those tend to be very basic and limited in networking features. If you are willing to pay anything more than nothing, Wireless-N routers can be really affordable.
Check … Read more
Since my CES blog on Netgear's WNDR3700, I have received a numerous e-mails asking about the availability of the product. Today, I can provide readers with a definitive answer.
Netgear announced Tuesday the immediate availability of what it calls "the ultimate networking machine for gamers, media enthusiasts, and small businesses," the RangeMax Dual Band Wireless-N Gigabit router WNDR3700.
This is Netgear's highest-end draft-N router that offers true dual-band (concurrent signals in both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands), as well as other features such as ReadyShare for high-speed access to a USB hard drive from any … Read more
However, Ruckus Wireless on Monday announced new outdoor wireless products it claims to be "world's first and only outdoor dual-band 802.11n with dynamic beam forming." The new product, the ZoneFlex 7762 access point, is supposedly designed to solve problems that have hindered outdoor Wi-Fi deployments, including interference, physical obstructions, as well as network management complexity and cost.
The ZoneFlex 7762 is the company's first centrally managed, concurrent dual-band 802.11n (2.4Ghz and 5Ghz) outdoor … Read more
Known for offering one of the biggest wireless mesh networks for regular hot spot users and being the first that brought Wireless-N to the outdoors, Meraki on Monday showed that it can also mean serious business with its new enterprise class wireless local area network (WLAN) solutions.
WLAN is nothing new. Buy a wireless router to set up at home and you have one. However, it's a lot more complicated and expensive when it comes to the enterprise-class WLAN, where both large coverage and high performance are needed.
What Meraki introduced offers just that, plus lower price points. For … Read more
It seems the transition to dual-band wireless networking is in full force at Cisco. The company announced Thursday three brand-new Wireless-N products that operate in both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies.
The WET610N Wireless-N Ethernet Bridge is designed to add high-speed Wireless-N connectivity to devices that have an Ethernet port. Examples of these devices include desktop computers, set-top boxes, game consoles, network printers, and certain models of TVs.
The new Bridge operates … Read more
Though Wireless-N (an 802.11n draft standard that offers throughput speeds up to 300Mbps or faster) has been used in home and small-office routers for a long time, routers for outdoor hot spots are still mostly based on the 802.11g standard that caps at 54Mbps. This is primarily because the 802.11n hasn't been ratified yet.
Nonetheless, Wireless-N standard's proven superiority over 802.11g both in throughput and range means hot-spot equipment makers and providers can't ignore it any longer.
It's been about a year since the debut of dual-band routers, those that support both the ever-popularly used 2.4Ghz and the newer, less busy 5Ghz frequencies. This was very exciting news at first, but after having worked with a few of them, I wonder if they are really worth it.
If you turn on a wireless network scan in a neighborhood of a big city (like where we are right now in downtown San Francisco), chances are you'll find multiple existing wireless networks.
Wireless routers are so popular now. Up till about a year ago, they all … Read more