We have a large number of options today when we go shopping for a wireless router today. Among the list of technical specifications there is one that stands out,
It’s the official IEEE WiFi specification. A lot of devices make a big deal these days about supporting the “N” standard (Though some are even supporting the newly proposed “ac” draft, but that’s neither here nor there). Most of the advertisements go with the catch line “It’s FASTER than before”.
From my testing I can confirm that “N” is a lot faster than “G”. But I faced an interesting problem with it a few days ago.
The story began in my hostel room. One of my neighbors was configuring his WiFi router to be able to reach everyone else on the floor. It wasn’t exactly a stellar success. You see, no matter what he did, the signal strength severely diminished as soon as we left his room (where the router was located). I think it was a Belkin router, but I’m not sure. Still, there was a configuration page on the router box that we fiddled with and barring a few times (I’m shrugging them off as glitches) when the signal appeared to boost, overall, the signal strength was low.
The intent of this configuration was for speed. Still, having nothing else to try we switched over to “G”. And lo, wonder of wonders, the signal actually shot up! I’m not kidding. In the corridor where we had barely anything, the signal strength shot up to near full!
This … puzzled me. Shouldn’t the “N” specification have a superior performance? A bit of digging revealed an unpleasant fact – “N” works best when the router is in line-of-sight!
What The Heck ???!!!
I couldn’t believe what I was reading. But, the facts wouldn’t change – “G” has a better penetration capacity than “N”.
And, to my utter disappointment, I have just confirmed the same thing at home. Sitting in my usual computer spot, with “N” I can barely get any signal at all, but using “G”, I can comfortably use the internet. Heck, even youtube streams just fine!
So why on earth did I spend so much money on the “N” router?
IEEE committee, I would like an answer !!!!!