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