OIT HelpDesk - Knowledge Base
What is the Difference Between 802.11B, 802.11G, and 802.11N?
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) certified a new standard, 802.11g, by merging two incompatible wireless networking standards 802.11b (goes far but not fast) and 802.11a (goes fast but not far). The new "g" standard has a 150-foot range, and the top speed is 54 Mbps (as opposed to 11 Mbps that we had with the "b" standard).
Among its key innovations, 802.11n adds technology called multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO), a signal processing and smart antenna technique for transmitting multiple data streams through multiple antennas. This results in up to five times the performance and up to twice the range compared to the earlier 802.11g standard.
All of the wireless access points on our campus are now compliant with the "n" standard so that you can take advantage of the faster connections. The good news is that 802.11n is backward-compatible with 802.11b/g. This means that if you have a "b" or "g" card you do not have to purchase a new wireless card if you are satisfied with your connection speed.