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Comparing Wireless Technologies

Last Updated: Wed, 20 Apr 2011 > Related Articles

Summary

Learn about Wireless standards for the a, b, and g technologies.

Solution

 

Wireless networks have become increasingly popular over the last few years. In some cases it can be easier to set up than running the traditional Ethernet wires throughout your office, but the cost can be higher.

The newest wireless routers have a range of approximately 300 feet indoors and up to 1000 feet outdoors. This range is dependent on external influences, such as other equipment using the same frequency, thick concrete and steel walls, electrical interference, etc.

Here is a break down of the three wireless networking standards widely used today.

802.11a

  • Supports bandwidth up to 54 Mbps. Actual throughput is around 27 Mbps.
  • Signal can be blocked by walls due to the high frequency range it uses.
  • Incompatible with 802.11b and 802.11g.
  • Can be more expensive than 802.11b and 802.11g.
  • Uses signal in a regulated 5 GHz range. The 5 GHz range is regulated so other devices will not interfere with the signal, such as cordless phones.

802.11b

  • Supports bandwidth up to 11 Mbps. Actual throughput is around 4 to 5 Mbps.
  • Uses signal in a regulated 2.4 GHz range. This range is unregulated by the FCC and cordless phones and microwave ovens may interfere with your wireless network.
  • Lower cost than 802.11a.
  • Slower speed than 802.11a and 802.11g.
  • Signal is not affected by walls, such as with 802.11a.
  • Compatible with 802.11g

802.11g

  • Supports bandwidth up to 54 Mbps. Actual throughput is around 20 to 25 Mbps.
  • Compatible with 802.11b.
  • Uses signal in a regulated 2.4 GHz range. This range is unregulated by the FCC and cordless phones and microwave ovens may interfere with your wireless network.
  • Signal is not affected by walls, such as with 802.11a.
  • Cost is just a bit higher than 802.11b, but not much.
  • Signal is not easily obstructed.

Deciding which wireless solution or even whether to adopt a wireless solution will depend on your business needs.

 


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