Home wireless networking standards

Wireless home networking has become an integral part of our daily lives. It allows us to connect multiple devices, such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, smart TVs, and gaming consoles, to the internet without any physical cables or wires. This article aims to explain how wireless home networking works and touch on wireless standards like 802.11g, 802.11n, 802.11ac, and 802.11ax.

How wireless networking works

Wireless home networking uses a wireless access point (WAP) or router to create a local wireless network. The router is connected to a modem, which is then connected to your internet service provider (ISP). The router acts as a central hub for all the devices connected to it, enabling them to communicate with each other and access the internet.

The router uses radio waves to send and receive data from connected devices. It broadcasts a wireless signal that devices can pick up and use to connect to the network. When a device is connected to the network, it is assigned an IP address that enables it to communicate with other devices on the network and access the internet.

Wireless Standards

Wireless standards refer to the different versions of the 802.11 protocol that are used to transmit wireless signals. Each new version of the standard improves on the previous one, increasing the speed, range, and reliability of wireless signals. Some of the most popular wireless standards used in home networking are:

  1. 802.11g: This is an older wireless standard that operates on a frequency of 2.4 GHz. It supports data transfer speeds of up to 54 Mbps, which is slower than newer standards. 802.11g is compatible with most devices, but its limited speed and range make it less popular today.
  2. 802.11n: This is a more modern wireless standard that operates on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies. It supports data transfer speeds of up to 600 Mbps, which is much faster than 802.11g. 802.11n also offers better range and reliability, making it a popular choice for home networking.
  3. 802.11ac: This is the latest wireless standard and operates only on the 5 GHz frequency. It supports data transfer speeds of up to 1.3 Gbps, which is significantly faster than 802.11n. 802.11ac also offers better range and reliability than its predecessor, making it ideal for large homes with multiple devices.
  4. 802.11ax: This is the latest wireless standard, and it is also known as Wi-Fi 6. It offers significant improvements in speed, capacity, and battery life compared to 802.11ac. It supports data transfer speeds of up to 9.6 Gbps and is designed to handle high-density environments with many devices.

Speed Differences

The speed differences between wireless standards can be significant, and it’s essential to understand them when choosing a router. The maximum speed of a wireless network depends on the standard used and the frequency band it operates on. For example, a 2.4 GHz network can achieve maximum speeds of 600 Mbps with 802.11n, while a 5 GHz network can achieve maximum speeds of 1.3 Gbps with 802.11ac.

It’s worth noting that the speed of a wireless network is affected by many factors, such as distance, interference, and the number of devices connected. The further away a device is from the router, the weaker the signal, and the slower the speed. Interference from other wireless devices and materials like walls and furniture can also reduce the speed and range of a wireless network.


Wireless home networking has revolutionized the way we connect to the internet and each other