Wireless Network Update

     In our September, 2002 issue of The Next Wave, we described the two main standards at the time, 802.11a and 802.11b.  Proving once again that the only thing certain in the world of computers is change, there will shortly be a new standard, 802.11g.  Like the b standard, the g standard operates in the 2.4-Ghz radio spectrum thereby providing backward compatibility with the b products on the market.  

The advantage is that it can operate at a theoretical speed of 54 Mbps very similar to the a standard.  In reality, throughput is between 15 to 20 Mbps which is still acceptable for many computing applications.  Except for special circumstances, we predict that the g will be the winner because it does somewhat better at distances further from the access point (performance drops noticeably when the wireless device is more than 100 feet from the access point).

     If you want to hedge your bets, LinkSys model WRT55AG supports all three standards.  Note that performance drops considerably if you run both b and g clients simultaneously in mixed mode.  The best performance is to have only g devices on the network so that the access point can run g native.


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