802.11n Wi-Fi in Computer Networking

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802.11n is an IEEE industry standard for Wi-Fi wireless local network communications, ratified in 2009. 802.11n is designed to replace the older 802.11a, 802.11b and 802.11g Wi-Fi technologies.

Key Wireless Technologies in 802.11n

802.11n utilizes multiple wireless antennas in tandem to transmit and receive data. The associated term MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) refers to the ability of 802.11n and similar technologies to coordinate multiple simultaneous radio signals.

MIMO increases both the range and throughput of a wireless network.

An additional technique employed by 802.11n involves increasing the channel bandwidth. As in 802.11a/b/g networking, each .11n device uses a preset Wi-Fi channel on which to transmit. Each .11n channel will use a larger frequency range than these earlier standards, also increasing data throughput.

802.11n Performance

802.11n connections support maximum theoretical network bandwidth up to 300 Mbps depending primarily on the number of wireless radios incorporated into devices.

802.11n vs. Pre-N Network Equipment

In the last few years before 802.11n was officially ratified, network equipment manufacturers sold so-called pre-N or draft N devices based on preliminary drafts of the standard. This hardware is generally compatible with current 802.11n gear, although firmware upgrades to these older devices may be required.