Internet, Networking, & Security Home Networking 98 98 people found this article helpful Broadband Router Standards Explained Gaming and streaming video benefit from fast home routers by Bradley Mitchell Writer An MIT graduate who brings years of technical experience to articles on SEO, computers, and wireless networking. our editorial process LinkedIn Bradley Mitchell Updated on April 10, 2020 The Ultimate Router Buying Guide The Ultimate Router Buying Guide Introduction Router Basics What Is a Router and How Does It Work? How to Pick the Right Wireless Router Router Standards Explained Modem vs Router Can You Use Two Routers Same Network? Do I Need a Modem and a Router? Routers, Switches and Hubs Explained How to Find Your Router's IP Addresses What Is MIMO Technology? Best Names for Routers & Home Networks Best Placement for Wireless Routers How to Set up a Home Network Router Best Overall Routers Best Wireless Routers Best Cable Modem/Router Combos Best Long-Range Routers Best Secure Routers Best Parental Control Routers Best Routers for Under $100 Best Routers for Under $50 Best 802.11ac Wi-Fi Wireless Routers Best VPN Routers Best Gaming Routers Best By Brand Best Linksys Routers Best Netgear Routers Top Routers Reviewed Google Wifi Review Netgear Orbi Review Netgear C3700 Review Netgear C3000 Review Linksys EA8300 Review Linksys EA9500 Review Linksys WRT3200ACM Review Samsung SmartThings Router Review Asus RT-AC88U Gaming Router Review Linksys AC1900 Review Best Router Essentials Best Wi-Fi Extenders Best Wi-Fi USB Adapters Best Cable Modems Best Powerline Network Adapters Tweet Share Email Broadband routers are designed for convenience in setting up home networks, particularly for homes with high-speed internet service. Besides making it possible for all the electronic devices in the home to share an internet connection, broadband routers also enable sharing of files, printers, and other resources among home computers and other electronic devices. A broadband router uses the Ethernet standard for wired connections. Traditional broadband routers required Ethernet cables that ran between the router, the broadband modem, and each computer on the home network. Newer broadband routers have a wired connection to the internet modem. They connect with the devices in the home wirelessly using the Wi-Fi standards. Many different types of routers are available, and each one meets a specific standard. The routers that use the most current standard are available at a higher cost than those on older standards, but they include better features. The current standard is 802.11ac. It was preceded by 802.11n and — even earlier — 802.11g. All these standards are still available in routers, although the older ones have limitations. Mark Jansen / Getty Images 802.11ac Routers 802.11ac is the newest Wi-Fi standard. All 802.11ac routers have newer hardware and software than previous implementations and are perfect for medium to large homes where speed and reliability are important. An 802.11ac router utilizes dual-band wireless technology and operates on the 5 GHz band, allowing up to 1 Gb/s throughput, or a single-link throughput of at least 500 Mb/s on 2.4 GHz. This speed is ideal for gaming, HD media streaming, and other heavy bandwidth requirements. This standard adopted the technologies in 802.11n but extend the capabilities by allowing for RF bandwidth as wide as 160 MHz and supporting up to eight multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO) streams and up to four downlink multiuser MIMO clients. The 802.11ac technology is backward compatible with 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n hardware, meaning that while an 802.11ac router works with hardware devices that support the 802.11ac standard, it also provides network access to devices that only support 802.11b/g/n. 802.11n Routers IEEE 802.11n, usually referred to as 802.11n or Wireless N), replaces the older 802.11a/b/g technologies and increases data rates over those standards by using multiple antennas, achieving rates from 54 Mb/s up to 600 Mb/s, depending on the number of radios in the device. 802.11n routers use four spatial streams on the 40 MHz channel and can be used on either the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz frequency band. These routers are backward compatible with 802.11g/b/a routers. 802.11g Routers The 802.11g standard is older Wi-Fi technology, so these routers are usually inexpensive. An 802.11g router is ideal for homes where the fastest speeds are not important. An 802.11g router operates on the 2.4 GHz band and supports a maximum bit rate of 54 Mb/s, but usually has about a 22 Mb/s average throughput. These speeds are just fine for basic internet browsing and standard-definition media streaming. This standard is fully compatible with the older 802.11b hardware, but because of this legacy support, the throughput is reduced by about 20 percent when compared to 802.11a.