What Is Beamforming Technology On A Wi-Fi Router?

what is beamforming on a wi-fi router?

When it comes to increasing the speed of your wifi connection there are many options. These options include 802.11ac technology, upgrading your wireless adapter and also buying a router that supports Beamforming.

While the first two options are pretty well known, many of you may be asking the question “What is Beamforming?”

First up let’s take a look at some of the advantages. Beamforming can help with the following:

  • Extend your wifi coverage
  • Deliver a more stable wifi connection
  • Deliver better wifi throughput
  • Reduce router interference

Because of these advantages, Beamforming is becoming more and more popular. While it has been around for a number of years, it is only recently that it has really started to become affordable and that the number of compatible devices has increased.

What is Beamforming?

To answer this question we first need to discuss how a wireless router works.

Simply put, a wireless router sends out a wifi signal. The closer you are to the router, the stronger the signal will be. As the signal moves away from the wireless router it gets wider and wider and as such your connection will start to lose strength.

This can cause problems if you need to access your wireless network from far away, as your signal can be weak and as such your wifi connection slow. This is especially a worry if you have a large house or workplace.

Beamforming, is therefore, one way to improve your wifi signal when you are far away from your router. When you use Beamforming, instead of your router sending out a signal that gets wider and wider, the signal will reach your device in a straight line which will give you a stronger signal.

D-Link's Smart Beam Technology Overview

Types Of Beamforming?

There are two types of Beamforming, these are implicit and explicit Beamforming.

Explicit Beamforming

Explicit Beamforming is when both the router and the client support Beamforming. Any 802.11ac wifi device that supports Beamforming will have the same standard so if you have two 802.11ac Beamforming devices it is guaranteed that they will work together well.

Having two devices working together will give you the strongest possible connection and as such explicit Beamforming is much more effective than implicit Beamforming.

It should be noted that just because a device is 802.11ac doesn’t mean that Beamforming is automatically supported. You should, therefore, check if it is supported before you buy your device.

Implicit Beamforming

Implicit Beamforming, on the other hand, allows older devices without 802.11ac technology to get some of the benefits brought by Beamforming. If your router has Beamforming technology but your client doesn’t, implicit Beamforming means the connection should still be improved slightly.

While you won’t see the type of speeds you would get if you use two Beamforming supported devices, you should still see some benefits.

Asus AiRadar vs Netgear Beamforming+ (Plus)

One of the more confusing things about Beamforming is that many brands have come up with their own attempts at branding their Beamforming technology.

Two examples of this are Asus AiRadar and Netgear Beamforming+. Despite their branding, the terms are simply how each brand has chosen to name its Beamforming technology.

The good thing is that while 802.11n Beamforming had no universal standard, 802.11ac Beamforming does have. This means that whether you buy a router with Asus AiRadar or Netgear Beamforming Plus they should be compatible with any Beamforming enabled device.

It is worth noting that as well as wireless routers, both Asus and Netgear (and other brands) offer wireless adapters so you can upgrade your computers and notebooks even if they did not originally support Beamforming.

Best Wireless Routers for AC Beamforming

There are many wireless routers out there now that support Beamforming. While these routers will generally be a bit more expensive than some of the more basic routers, it can certainly be a worthwhile buy if you are having problems with signal strength in your network.Here are three of the best wireless routers for AC Beamforming.

Netgear Nighthawk R7000

One of our old favorites, the original Nighthawk router comes with lots of goodies, including 802.11ac, data rates of up to 1900Mbps and a dual-core 1GHz processor.

As well as this, its Beamforming capabilities and four antennas help to provide a fast, lag-free wifi connection.

Read the full Netgear Nighthawk R7000 review

Asus RT-AC88U

This hugely powerful 802.11ac router comes with data rates of up to 3100Mbps, a 1.4GHz dual-core processor and 4 antennas that allow it to cover an area of up to 5000 square feet.

It’s a high-end model that will help with intense wifi connectivity.

Read the full Asus RT-AC88U AC3100 router review

Linksys WRT1900AC

Linksys high-end offering comes with a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, rapid data rates, and four antennas to ensure maximum signal strength and therefore performance.

Read the full Linksys WRT1900AC AC1900 router review

Conclusion

All in all, Beamforming is a great way to improve the speed of your wifi network. If any of your current devices already support Beamforming then it could be worth upgrading to a Beamforming enabled router like the ones above.

Even if you don’t have Beamforming supported devices, if you are thinking about upgrading your wifi router it is worth considering one that supports Beamforming. This is because you will get some benefits with the devices you already own through implicit beamforming.

Buying a Beamforming supported device will also future proof your wifi setup as more and more devices are soon likely to support Beamforming.

Thanks for reading our article on Beamforming. Hopefully, you found it useful, but if you have any question please feel free to comment below.

References:

Netgear 

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