WiFi Questions: What Does A/B/G/N Mean & Which Dual/Single Band to Choose?

Updated on May 1, 2016
WFi | Source

Today, almost every modern home has PCs, smartphones, broadband, laptops, tablets. Of course, the technical word Wi-Fi has become the newly popular word in internet connectivity. The main benefit that these Wi-Fi technology gives is, it let's you break out from thin flexible wires and other benefit is that it allows many different users to use/share one single internet connection. It is used for other purposes too like printing documents wirelessly, data transfer between any devices and many more.

WiFi working
WiFi working | Source

First, what exactly Wi-Fi is?

Wi-Fi stands for Wireless fidelity, it allows gizmos to exchange files with one another using a specific device known as Wi-Fi router which act as the main hub. Communication or data exchange between devices with Wi-Fi takes place via these ROUTER. Depending on the distances, surrounding circumstances like any physical obstacle, walls, other wireless networks in the vicinity and the router used - The range of Wireless-LAN (WLAN) or Wi-Fi is around 20-25 feet indoors.

What do 5GHz and 2.4Ghz in these means? Which one is superior between 2.4GHz and 5GHz?

These Wi-Fi or any wireless networks like wireless phones, network towers communicates, exchange and transmits data with the help of radio waves. Any devices who use these radio waves are adjusted to a specific frequency such that without any type of interference from any other neighborhood wireless networks it allows it's users to communicate with each other freely.

If you find 5GHz printed or sticker on the router then it means, it transmits datum at that specific frequency only. 2.4GHz frequency is used by most gizmos to communicate which results in interference and network jam. Because of these, for better broadcasting, newer wireless fidelity routers use the 5GHz frequency which is less crowded compared to 2.4GHz one. Though, Wireless signal may have high frequency, it's range is that much shorter. So frequency of 2.4GHz can cover larger zone than 5GHz. In addition, These frequencies cannot pervade solid objects, therefore, limiting their stretch.

What does a/b/g/n means in Wi-Fi?

Although, the Wi-Fi technology came into existence in 1997, with time, the technology has been updated with fresh criteria to meet the growing bandwidth requirements of the latest devices.

About ' a/b ' - Both of these Wi-Fi standards were able to provide very small bandwidth to transmit information, so standards 'a' and 'b' were quite unrealizable to use in today's modern world, so now they are not in existence.

About ' g ' - Wi-Fi standard 'g' is currently the most common used standards which uses 2.4GHz frequency to communicate and transfer data. Standard 'g' is more tolerant to single interference compared to standard 'a/b' and theoretically, it's utmost transfer rate is 54Mbps.

About ' n ' - Standard 'n' is the latest among the Wi-Fi standards which theoretically transfers data at a speed of 300Mbps. Almost all the latest tablets, laptops, smartphones support these Wi-Fi standard 'n'. Besides, standard 'n' provides good signal strength compared to other standards because of improved signal intensity as it can use any of 2.4GHz or 5GHz frequency for transferring, but it is more prone to signal intervention.

What to choose, Dual band/Single band?

Wi-Fi technology has three different type of routers -

Dual or single Band?
Dual or single Band? | Source

#1. Single band - These router does not support 5GHz frequency and operates only at 2.4GHz frequency.

#2. Dual band - As name implies, it's router supports both 2.4GHz as well as 5GHz frequency but it uses only one band of them at a time like if a router is working at the latest standard 'n' mode and at 5GHz then the other older devices that don't have ability to support standard 'n' cannot/won't connect to it, if the user want to use 2.4GHz band then the user has to change the settings of the router or set up another 2.4GHz router.

#3. Simultaneous Dual band router - They provide more speed and flexibility as they can work with both bands at the same instant.

WiFi routers
WiFi routers | Source

Wi-Fi routers + DSL/ADSL?

ADSL/DSL technology makes use of cable wires to provide broadband connections to many homes such that, your broadband connection works when a phone line wire is inserted in DSL or ADSL modem. ADSL/DSL modems do have built-in WI-Fi routers which can be purchased which excludes the requirement of an individual router and modem. But most budget modems with built-in Wi-Fi routers lacks various features, so it is recommended to use an individual router and modem since it is cheaper too. Another reason to use a separate Wi-Fi router and modem is that the modems with built-in Wi-Fi routers can get unstable under heavy load because of the heat produced.

Password protection
Password protection | Source

Worried about security? you can protect your network.

Anyone within Wi-Fi range can use your broadband for free if it is left unprotected that also without your knowledge. So it is recommended to have your Wi-Fi network password-protected so as to prevent any unknown person from using it.

Hiding your Wi-Fi network name is the best and effective way of protecting a wireless network from strangers, hiding its name, known as Server Set Identifier (SSID), which means that when any unknown person searches for wireless connectivity, the router will not show your Wi-Fi network name, so if no one can see it, no one can access it. If you or any known person want to access then you need to manually enter your Wi-Fi network name every time which can be complicated. Whereas to stay protected, every Wi-Fi router has tons of safety modes, the extremely common are the WEP, WPA2, WPA. Out of these three, best one is WPA2- WiFi protected access 2, it is secure, progressive and most ordinary protocol out there and it is mandatory.

Security | Source

There are two modes of WPA2 - One is Personal mode(PSK) and other is Enterprise mode. Personal mode allows it's users to set a password within the 8-63 characters, if nothing is determined then the [00000000],which by default is automatically used. For small office and home users where information or data is encrypted using a 256-bit key before sending- personal mode is used. It is not recommended to use Enterprise mode for small office and homes as it has advanced security standards.


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    • profile image

      Tagman65 16 months ago

      Thank you for the info. Helped me alot.

    • infoshare18 profile image

      infoshare18 5 years ago from India

      You're welcome servantiam :-)