Is WiFi N Faster Than WiFi G?

dlink-dir-655-wifi-n-router

The DLink DIR-655 WiFi N Router has been a solid performer

I frequently get asked why someone’s new WiFi N router does not give them 10 times the internet speed of their old WiFi G router like the guy at (fill in the blank store name) said. Here’s the scoop on buying a WiFi N router to get faster network performance.

A decent WiFi G router with a fair connection is already faster than almost everyones internet connection – unless you have Verizon FIOS or some other rare, blazing speed internet. Note: faster internet is coming more people’s way every day. A WiFi G router can, under the best of circumstances, deliver 54Mbps speed. Your internet is likely 20Mbps or slower (most people are doing good to get 5Mbps).

So upgrading to a WiFi N router for internet speed doesn’t make any sense.

What will be different, however, is in-house network data transfers, such as if you have a home NAS where you store your music, photos, video and the like.

Newer N class routers are likely to have a Gigabit switch (10/100/1000) included instead of just 10/100. So for computer to computer WIRED connections, speed can be up to 10 times faster than your old router.

And since WiFi N should connect up faster than your old WiFi G, and possibly with better range, you will probably see in-house network WiFi speeds increase as well.

But your internet will probably NOT be any faster UNLESS you were not connecting up to your old WiFi G router with a solid wireless signal.

When shopping for a fast WiFi N Router you need to look at a few different things:

  • A WiFi access point is to be avoided UNLESS you are simply trying to ADD WIFI to your network. If you need the device to connect to your internet connection then you want a WiFi router.
  • Make sure the new device still supports any older devices you might have around (WiFi a/b/g), unless you keep your old WiFi router on your network for that purpose. If you do that, just make sure you turn off DHCP on the old router and do NOT use the “wan” or “internet” port for anything. Most ‘N’ models will support G, but maybe not something older.
  • Some routers have more ports than others. You want all ports for WIRED connections to be 10/100/1000; and at least 4 of those ports in addition to the “wan” or “internet port”.
  • Look at the customer reviews. You can ignore a one-off comment here and there, perhaps the person is a competitor, a goof ball, or just happened to receive a lemon. Look at routers that have LOTS of reviews and make sure that OVERALL, people are happy.
  • Spending the extra money for extra range may or may not work out that well. In my experience, the building – and how many other WiFi routers are in the area – has more to do with reception than how much you spent on the router. Learn how to search for other routers, see what channel they are operating on, and set yours for the least competitive air waves.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Callum Coleman November 19, 2012 at 3:28 am

Thank you for all the information about the different wifi’s and routers, it really helped me to learn about it.

John S October 19, 2013 at 4:24 pm

While I totally agree that a N router won’t make your internet faster. The overall selling points of the new N routers always point that way. Such as streaming video from a service, multiple devices accessing a wireless router along with a wired devices not only reduce throughput on each device, but also split up your internet bandwidth. I keep seeing ads about 450 Mbps wireless but accessing a 20 Mbps broadband won’t do justice to that routers abilities. Yes, as the author states, local network speed will no doubt increase, such as streaming video from one device to another. Also providing more headroom if other devices are also accessing the local network. But for many this is simply over buying bandwidth many will never use. I have 8 devices running off a wireless router I paid $30 for. It streams Netflix and Amazon just fine in HD, also while other devices are doing the same. Until my broadband triples or at least doubles. I find it difficult to justify a expensive router.

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