Wireless AC vs N – What You Need To Know

Users and the applications that they access are demanding faster Wi-Fi connections to support their needs more than ever before.

For example, users now want to have the convenience of streaming HD video across the home from their NAS boxes or router storage. This would have been fine in the old days when we used cables that have supported Gigabit speeds for many years now. But nowadays users want the convenience of going wire-free as well as having lightning fast reliable speed.

Now that it’s 2015, this is all entirely possible. Let us take a look at the comparison between the toe – Wireless AC vs N.

Popular Wireless AC Router – Asus RT-AC68U

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Wireless 802.11ac (that’s Wireless AC to most people – and a lot easier to type!) is the latest Wi-Fi standard (as defined by IEEE). The previous standard, officially released back in 2009, was the Wireless N standard, which remains the most commonly used standard within Wi-Fi networking. However, as time goes on, AC will become “the norm”.

Wireless AC is the only standard that supports Gigabit wireless speeds and is suited to fast data transfers, as well as being able to stream HD video smoothly and reliably. However, in the right circumstances and environment, Wireless N can also support HD streaming.

As each year passes, Wi-Fi is becoming more important as having connectivity to the Internet becomes necessary for more and more devices. Yet another reason why Wireless AC is going to become more popular and why Wireless N will increasingly struggle to “do the job”.

Popular Wireless N Router – TP-Link TD-W8970

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Wireless AC vs N Comparison

The 802.11ac has some improved features and technologies which makes it a better performer overall. However, there are similarities and differences between the two standards:

Wireless AC vs N Comparison Table

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Of course, Wireless AC is considerably faster (note the rates shown above are all theoretical for the standard).

Wireless AC vs N – What Are the Advantages of AC?


Wider Bandwidth & Less Interference

Wireless 802.11ac on the 5GHz band has a wider channel width of between 80MHz to 160MHz. The 5GHz band thus provides a wider bandwidth and less interference hence better performance. The 5GHz band does not have as many interference issues as the 2.4GHz range which is affected by home appliances such as microwave ovens, bluetooth headsets and baby monitors etc.
It’s also worth noting, that at this time the 5GHz band is considerably less congested with wireless devices compared to the 2.4GHz range. A big thumbs up for the Wireless AC here (as far as 5GHz goes anyway)!

Support For Multiple Simultaneous Devices

The 802.11ac standard employs the Multi-User MIMO (MU-MIMO) technology to transmit multiple frames to different devices or clients. All the transmissions are done simultaneously and over the same frequency spectrum.



802.11ac Compatibility

802.11ac devices generally support backward compatibility with the older standards devices and networks. Older equipment will be able to use Wireless AC networks, however users will not enjoy the benefits of AC’s improved performance. To get round this, use a Wireless AC USB adapter.

High Speed, Capacity and Improved Performance

As previously explained, Wireless AC facilitates much higher speeds. This means more data throughput and improved performance. Theoretically, it will eventually perform at up to 6.77Gbps.

Better Time And Battery Saving

Wi-Fi clients will have better overall battery performance as downloading takes less time over AC.

Improved Coverage And Range

802.11ac has a wider band range and stronger signals. One of the benefits of the 5GHz spectrum is being able to bond more channels together in order to accumulate higher bandwidth speeds over Wireless N.

Stronger Signal Using Beamforming Technology

Another important advantage of Wireless AC is Beamforming technology. Beamforming detects each wireless device’s location (from Beamforming compatible devices) and concentrates the signal towards the device as opposed to other older standards where the signal is spread equally in all directions.
This means improved wireless range with faster and more reliable connections.

Do you agree/disagree? Why not comment below and let us know what you think…


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