A Comparison of Wireless-N and Wireless-G

A Comparison of Wireless-N and Wireless-G
Written by Alyssia Walmsley

This post is really old, there is a new version available: Best Wireless Access Point ~ Alyssia 🙂

Wireless networking is a wonderful addition to your computing. When you’re being lazy on the couch and want to watch your favorite HD movie, or listen to some music, chances are that you’re not willing to walk all the way upstairs to your room to your desktop and bring your files downstairs via a USB thumb drive. What you would need is a really fast wireless network in your house. In this article we are going to discuss the benefits and disadvantages of both Wireless-N and Wireless-G.

We have performed a few tests to experience the benefits of Wireless-N over Wireless-G, namely the transfer speeds and the range. For this we have created a small network, with a Wireless-N enabled laptop, a Wireless-N router, and a file server that is connected to the router. We attempted to download various files from movies to word documents, ranging from 2MB to 100MB in size. We did this on a Wireless-N router and through a Wireless-G router, and we observed that overall, transfer speeds on the Wireless-N were anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds faster.

Quality network Solutions?

Now we look at the range test, which truly defines the advantage a wireless network has over a wired one. For this we took our Wireless-N laptop and attempted to watch a streaming video from YouTube over the Wireless-G router. That’s another great thing about Wireless-N is that it is compatible with legacy G, B and A wireless devices. As we walked out of our house, we noted that the video began to stutter and stop downloading when we were about 80 feet from our house. 802.11b specifications state that its range is about 124 feet. When viewing our video using the Wireless-N router, we noticed that we could get to 300 feet before the signal was dropped. 802.11n specifications state that the range can go as high as 460 feet. Of course, individual results will always vary. This is because you have to factor in the material your house or building is made out of. And also how many walls stand between you and your wireless router, and if outside, what objects are in your way, like cars or trees.

So basically what we have learned here is that Wireless-N offers file transfers that are about twice as fast and about twice the overall coverage over Wireless-G. When purchasing your Wireless-N products, beware of some slightly overzealous claims such as “15 times speed” or “10 times the coverage.” It’s not that much, but it still offers a clear benefit. So upgrading your network to this standard is highly recommended.

About the author

Alyssia Walmsley

Alyssia is a Cornell University graduate of 2003 and a former lead technology development manager for Microsoft and Cisco Networking Systems. Between writing on her blog, SkyGone Inc, loves adventures and chocolate sprinkles!