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HP Notebook PCs - Using Wireless G and Wireless N Devices on a Home Network

As wireless technologies evolve, it is important to understand some issues that could occur when upgrading your home network, computers, and other wireless devices from 802.11g to 802.11n standards.
An 802.11n wireless connection provides enough speed, range, and reliability to support streaming HD videos while simultaneously listening to digital music files, engaging in VoIP (Voice over IP) phone calls, and playing multi player online games, but only if the router and the rest of the network also support those speeds.
To take advantage of the newest 802.11n technology, the computer, other wireless devices, and the WLAN router or access point must be 802.11n compliant. If you have an 802.11n router but the devices connected to your wireless network are 802.11g compliant, the speed of the network will reflect the 802.11g connection.

Wireless network standards

Wireless local area network (WLAN) devices can use different wireless standards (such as IEEE 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g or 802.11n). Each standard provides a wide range of connection speeds, bandwidths, channels, and security measures. There are some compatibility issues when using 802.11g and 802.11n devices on the same WLAN.

Access Points

A wireless Access Point (AP) is a relay between a wireless client (such as a notebook or printer equipped with a WLAN adapter) and a network access device (such as a DSL modem or a VDSL router). A wireless router, such as the kind most often found in home networks, is simply the physical union of two separate pieces of hardware: an AP and a network access device. For larger, more complex networks, APs are physically separated from the network access device and connected to them by Ethernet cables.
For the following examples, the term AP means the device that manages wireless connections on the network. The term client means a computer, a printer, or other wireless enabled device that connects to the AP.
An AP can affect your notebook's bandwidth and connection speed as follows:
If there are multiple wireless clients, most APs will detect the device with the oldest standard and throttle back all connections to that slower speed. Newer APs may detect both the 802.1g and 802.1n connections and communicate with each device at its best speed. See the documentation that came with your AP for instructions on how to determine its throughput, and its configuration options.
Remember: The slowest link in the network chain sets the limit on your client's maximum throughput.

Actual throughput vs. maximum throughput

Tests on notebooks equipped with an 802.11n WLAN adapter indicate that the computer's actual throughput is lower than what was described in the specifications. This is because the specified throughput is the maximum throughput physically possible barring all outside interference and using raw data that is free of any network overhead.
Actual throughput tends to be lower because the networks overhead, such as link management, quality of service, error detection and correction, will always reduce the maximum throughput. With wireless networks, you also have to factor in signal degradation if the client device is too far from the access point, and interference from other devices in the area, such as cordless telephones which often operate on the same radio bands as the clients.
Generally speaking, a device can typically achieve 60% of its specified throughput rate. So, an 802.11n wireless adapter that can potentially achieve a maximum throughput of 300 Mbps is more likely to achieve an actual throughput of 130 Mbps (or less).

Sharing bandwidth with multiple clients

When multiple computers and wireless clients share a single connection, either through the same access point or router, the total amount of available bandwidth gets divided by the devices. For example, on a wireless network, when one person plays video games while another streams a movie, and yet another tries to surf the net, the total amount of bandwidth available is split between all the users. This can have a significant impact on your client's throughput.
Likewise, when your computer is connected wirelessly to a public hotspot or a corporate network, the computer's throughput is reduced because you are sharing bandwidth with everyone else on the network.

Wireless security and network performance

Any time you are connected to a wireless network you should use a security protocol to protect your data. The 802.11n standard requires you to use WPA2 authentication with AES encryption or no security at all in order to fully utilize 802.11n speeds. Choosing other wireless security algorithms, such as WEP or WPA which were popular with 802.11g, or TKIP encryption methods, can dramatically reduce performance to 802.11g levels.

Multiple input, multiple output (MIMO)

The 802.11n standard allows for dual signals to transmit and receive data, but only if a wireless adapter has two antennas. This type of configuration is called Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MIMO). Each signal allows a maximum throughput of 150 Mbps, so two antennas together allow a total maximum throughput of 300 Mbps. Note that this is not necessarily the actual throughput. In some wireless adapter configurations, there may be two antennas but transmitting data is limited to one antenna (150 Mbps) while receiving data utilizes both antennas (300 Mbps).
If you do not think an 802.11n client is achieving true 802.11n speeds, check its specifications to see if it has a MIMO configuration.

Wireless bandwidths and frequencies

All wireless devices operate over either the 20 MHz bandwidth (802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n), or the 40 MHz bandwidth (802.11n). These two bandwidths are further divided into three frequency bands: 2.4 GHz, 3.6 GHz, and 5.0 GHz. Moreover, each band allows a specific number of channels. When a wireless client connects to an access point, it connects to a specific channel on a specific frequency and bandwidth.
There are a number of bandwidth and frequency-related issues that can affect a client's throughput on a wireless network. The most common issues are:






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