Are you planning to purchase a new wireless router for your home? You might have done some research and seen different letters, numbers and single-band vs. dual-band routers. We will help clear that all up for you today.
What do the letters AX, AC, N, G or B mean on a router?
The letters you see on routers, typically as 802.11(insert letter), have great importance because it stands for the latest networking standards. As technology and Internet speeds advance, your router needs to as well to produce the speeds and wireless signal that you desire. AX is the latest and greatest networking standard, followed by older models such as AC, N, G or B.
If you have a router over five years old, then you’re likely using a third-generation N router. Any model other than an AC router means you are probably not getting great speeds or signal strength. By upgrading to a fifth-generation AX router, you’ll see faster speeds and a wider range of Wi-Fi. You aren’t likely to see many models other than AX or AC sold in stores or online anymore, but ensure you spot the “AX” before purchasing anything new.
If you aren’t sure which model letter of communication standards your router is running, simply search for one of the above letters, AX, AC, N, G or B, on your router or search the model number online.
What do the numbers mean on wireless routers?
Once you spot the AX while shopping for a new router, you will also see a bunch of different numbers following it, such as Ax1500. This isn’t very complex to explain, the higher the number the more maximum bandwidth, or speed, you can obtain. Read more about bandwidth here.
For example, on an AX1500 router, theoretically, you’ll be able to get 1500 megabits per second. According to the website TechTerms, bandwidth describes the maximum data transfer rate of a network or Internet connection, and how many data packets can be sent over a specific connection in an amount of time. In basic terms, Internet with higher bandwidth, or speed, gives you a faster and better experience over Internet with lower bandwidth.
While it is important to note the advertised speeds on boxes (1500), they are the maximums allotted. Your smart TV, smartphone, gaming system or any other device will not use all of that bandwidth individually, but the more devices you are using at one time the more you will need.
An average Internet user will find models 1000 above sufficient. Please note that the actual speeds you’ll get are determined by a variety of factors, such as your subscribed Internet speeds, modem, router and placement of the router within your home.
What is a dual-band router?
Typically, all AX and AC routers have dual-band technology. What this means is they can transmit signals in 2.4GHz and 5GHz. This will allow you to connect multiple different devices to the range that makes sense for them.
The 2.4GHz range is typically best chosen for devices that are a long distance away from the wireless router, such as a corner bedroom or the garage. This will allow for these devices to get a steadier signal, but possibly with reduced speed output.
The 5GHz range is important if you are focused on speed for gaming, streaming or working from home. This allows for a speedier connection, but you’ll have reduced range, so the devices that you would like to obtain more speeds from should be closer to the router and have fewer barriers, such as walls and concrete.
Most previous router models, N, G and B, transmitted single band signals only, so they would only transmit the 2.4GHz signal. With an AC model, you can obtain much faster speeds and a better wireless experience.
What is whole-home Mesh Wi-Fi?
While searching for a new router, you may come across a system with multiple different routers, or access points, called “Mesh Wi-Fi”. This Wi-Fi system is made to give you the best wireless signal in every room of your home. Simply put, it is like having 3 or more routers in your house, but they work together in one seamless Wi-Fi network.
Mesh Wi-Fi systems are more spendy, but you’ll be able to completely wipe out wireless dead zones throughout your home and get a faster, more consistent signal. This is especially helpful when you have a larger home, 3,000 square feet or more. That much range is tough for a typical Wi-Fi router to reach every nook and cranny.
One point of the system connects to the modem provided by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and acts as the router. This router then transmits the signal to the other access points where the signal is rebroadcasted. This system was built to give a strong, reliable Wi-Fi signal to every device you own in every area of your home.
With many people working from home and distance learning because of COVID-19, it is important to upgrade your Wi-Fi by following the tips in the article. Nuvera TechTrends has several AC routers available and two different Mesh Wi-Fi systems.
Our team will discuss the different routers with you, the speeds you require, the size of your home and many other questions you may have to help identify the best router for your household. Fill out the section below if you would like to set up a time to discuss options.