May 17th, 2012

What is the difference in all the wireless N speeds?

Cedric wrote a great explanation of dual-band routers, but I keep getting questions from my customers about the difference between the N150, N300, N450, N600, N750 and N900 labels on our various wireless routers and what value the higher-priced routers provide.


The simplest is N150. These are single-band 2.4 GHz-only routers.  N150 routers simply use a single stream instead of utilizing two. Speeds are therefore limited to a maximum of 150 Mb/s when used with wireless N equipped devices.


N300 devices may be either single-band or dual-band.  On either band, they can utilize two streams and hit a maximum of 300 Mb/s.  However, if you’re looking at an N300 simultaneous dual-band router, it’s important to note that neither band will be able to exceed 150 Mb/s when both bands are in use.  For simple home use, it’s hard to go wrong with one of these when the price premium over an N150 router is usually only $10 or $20.


As with N300 routers, N450 routers may be either single-band or dual-band, but since this technology tends to crop up in more premium products anyway, they are usually dual-band.  These utilize three streams to deliver 450 Mb/s speeds, making them faster than N300 routers, but still subject to the same limitations during simultaneous dual-band use.


N600, N750 and N900 all make the guarantee that simultaneous dual-band usage won’t impede the performance of any single network.  With N600, users get 300 Mb/s on both the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands.  N750 ups the 5 GHz band to 450 Mb/s, and N900 gives you two simultaneous 450 Mb/s connections.


Now, you may have no use for triple-stream 450 Mb/s networks right now, but an N750 or N900 router is a great way to future-proof your home or business.  If you want to go dual-band, but don’t want to splurge for a triple stream setup, N600 routers are becoming quite affordable and for current wireless equipment pack the best bang for the buck.


Chris at Store 2
Granville & Georgia

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