Understanding the Benefits and Uses of a 600 Mbps Wireless Home Router

Wireless Router On Table Against White Background
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The WiFi standard 802.11n theoretically allows for speeds of up to 600 Mbps, but that is the total that the router offers over multiple channels. When you connect to a computer or device, you won't be connecting at the full 600 Mbps rating of the router.

When considering a 600 Mbps router, there are a host of caveats and limitations that determine how close to that speed your WiFi connection will be in reality.

If you are considering getting a router that offers an 802.11n standard for increased WiFi speed, here are points to consider.

Internet Connection Speed

If you want to improve your speed when connecting to the internet, you want to make sure the connection from by your internet service provider (ISP) offers enough speed for the new router to take advantage of. ISP connections like cable, fiber optic, or DSL have package levels with speed ratings, and even the low-end packages will likely offer speeds that an 802.11n standard router could take advantage of.

However, check the advertised speed of your connection to be sure, because though you may have a 600 Mbps router, it isn't going to improve your speed on the internet if your ISP connection is slower than 300Mbps (since you can only connect to one of those 2.4GHz channels with a single device).

Home Network Connection Speed

If you're primarily interested in how fast your network is inside your home (not how fast your internet speed is), then an 802.11n router would be an improvement over an older router of the 802.11 a/b/g standard. For example, if you share files between computers and devices inside your home, the faster router would speed up how quickly those files are transferred.

However, again, that is only within the network inside your home; as soon as you go out to the internet, you will be limited by your ISP speed as mentioned in the previous section.

Computer and Device Compatibility

If you want to get a faster router with the 802.11n standard, make sure the computers and devices that will use it are compatible with 802.11n. Older devices may only be compatible with 802.11 b/g, and though they will connect and work with a router that has the newer n standard, those devices will be limited to the slower speeds of their older a/b/g standards.

Also, the number of antennas available in the device you will be connecting to the router will have an impact on how much of the router's bandwidth and speed it can take advantage of. Some devices have only one antenna, and those will be limited to 150Mbps (and in reality may be slower). Unfortunately, this information may not be easy to locate for the device.

2.4GHz and 5GHz Channels

Modern WiFi routers have two channels, one is 2.4GHz and the other is 5GHz. The 5GHz channels offer faster speeds but have a slightly shorter distance that they can reach from the router. With both channels, the farther away from the router you are, the slower your connection speed is going to be. So, if you're looking for improved speeds from an 802.11n router, you will need to factor in where you place the router to take greater advantage of the improved speeds.