09:28 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren


The eye-triple-e recently took another baby step toward ratifying the 802.11n standard, which is said to be finalized by this summer. I say, "So what?"

The eye-triple-e recently took another baby step toward ratifying the 802.11n standard, which is said to be finalized by this summer. I say, "So what?"C'mon, people. Do we have to think that hard about it?

DSL broadband provides speeds between 384kbps and 1.5Mbps. Cable broadband speeds rank at 784kbps to 10 Mbps. T1 lines rate at 1.544Mbps. T3 lines pull down up to 45Mbps. Only Fiber goes beyond that, with Verizon offering consumers a 30Mbps package, and enterprise customers up to 100Mpbs.

Any way you slice, the speed at which you can browse the Internet wirelessly is strapped down by the speed of your hardwired broadband connection. And if you can't tell from the figures above, most people are only capable at browsing in the 1.5 - 5Mbps range. Even 802.11b, which has speeds up to 11Mbps, is sufficient for that. 802.11g, which blasts bits up to 54Mbps is great, but there's no way for anyone to notice the difference in their surfing speeds.

802.11n, the latest in the alphabet soup of standards to come from the IEEE, will be able to snag files from the Internet and download them at (real-world) speeds of up to 100Mbps. Great. That's freaking cool. Too bad my broadband connection is only 5Mbps.

The only foreseeable benefit of 802.11n is the capacity it can handle. Because of its multiple-in, multiple-out (MIMO) antenna arrays, it will be able to better manage more computers connecting to it and because of the added antennas and receivers, will have better range. This efficiency is great, but it won't be any faster for the end user.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
InformationWeek Elite 100
InformationWeek Elite 100
Our data shows these innovators using digital technology in two key areas: providing better products and cutting costs. Almost half of them expect to introduce a new IT-led product this year, and 46% are using technology to make business processes more efficient.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Dec. 9, 2014
Apps will make or break the tablet as a work device, but don't shortchange critical factors related to hardware, security, peripherals, and integration.
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.