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Active WiFi network devices

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Choosing the right wireless router depends primarily on its required speed and the type of data transfers that you want it to do. The maximum speeds are determined by the router's transmission standards which use two different frequency bands. These are common for both routers and end devices such as mobile phones. The less congested 5 GHz band is better for intense data transmissions and high-volume data transfers that are needed for online gaming or streaming video in HD quality. For simpler tasks, such as sending e-mail or web browsing, the 2.4 GHz band is fully sufficient. And what are the differences between the standards?

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Differences between wireless routers standards - 802.11n and 802.11ac

802.11n

  • The 802.11n standard operates at 2.4 GHz, with the usual bit rate of the device at 300 Mbit / s.

  • The operating speed and signal range of 802.11n are several times higher than those of older devices according to 802.11g.

  • Some routers have a USB port which enables connecting an external printer or an external drive. Those devices can then be shared over a local network.

802.11ac

  • The latest 802.11ac standard uses two bands, namely 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.

  • The 5 GHz band offers a greater number of channels and is less congested than 2.4 GHz, therefore the interferences are low. The support for the 2.4 GHz band ensures backward compatibility with older devices that use the standards 802.11b / g / n.

  • The less congested 5 GHz band is better for intense data transmissions and high-volume data transfers that are needed for online gaming or streaming video in HD quality. For simpler tasks, such as sending e-mail or web browsing, the 2.4 GHz band is fully sufficient.

  • Basic 802.11ac mid-range routers offer a combined speed of up to 1.2 Gbit / s, whereas the top-of-the-line models can achieve incredible speeds of up to 3 Gbit / s.

  • Using omnidirectional antennas with high performance signal amplifiers and beamforming technologies will significantly increase your signal strenght.

  • Powerful encryption standards (WPA-PSK / WPA2-PSK) provide a high level of security.

Most devices enable sharing a connected printer or an external drive over your network. The difference may be whether the router already supports the faster USB 3.0 or works only with the older USB 2.0 standard.

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Active WiFi network devices

Active element in a wireless WiFi network represents a device that acts as an access point (AP) or router. These devices offer facilities that connect a computer, multiple computers or other network devices (clients), and are responsible for subsequent communication and connection to wireless networks. They can also be used to create a wireless network. Active devices are most commonly used to create wireless home or office networks, where the computer (client) connects wirelessly, while the active element is connected to a cable Internet connection (eg. ADSL, cable internet) for sharing Internet access. Active elements can simply be used to wirelessly connect two computers without a line of sight. Line of sight is in fact ideal for establishing a wireless connection between two points.


Routers and access points were originally two different kinds of devices, however, today's AP function handles both. Although routing technically runs on a different principle in the majority of the AP devices (the NAT table is used for connecting clients and then the external network appears as one IP address of the access point), but it has no effect on the fact that it practically functiona as a router. For more demanding applications where it is necessary to connect two computer networks (eg distribution of wireless Internet access in the context of a large WiFi network or internet) it is appropriate to use a classical router (routerboard or MikroTik are ideal for this application - or a separate computer equipped with the necessary components and software).

When selecting a new AP, focus mainly on the key parameters, which include support for newer versions of standard 802.11 wireless communications and the related frequency at which WiFi access point works (2.4GHz or 5GHz), its function (AP or client - access point in AP mode only transmits, while to connect your PC or notebook to a wireless network, you need a client function) and sufficient security. The standard WPA (WiFi Protected Access) and WPA2 will take care of it (older WEP encryption is easily cracked). This standard is also in AP with built-in DHCP server functionality.

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