Aug 102012

Each mode-type has it’s own advantages.

Streaming media on a local-area network:   802.11n is best choice: read more here

802.11n wireless adapters only work optimally when connecting to a 802.11n that’s operating in 802.11n mode.

Connecting to a 802.11G network?  Then an 802.11G wireless USB adapter will perform better than an 802.11n USB adapter

Frequency Ranges of the 802.11 network-types:

802.11b and 802.11g:  2.4GHz only:  Operate only in the 2.4GHz frequency band

802.11n:  2.4GHz & 5GHz bands:   802.11n equipment is made for either 2.4GHz or 5.8 frequency band:  5.8 is typically much less cluttered with signal-traffic

802.11a:  The Key Advantages:

  • It uses the frequency range 5.2 to 5.8GHz:  This range of frequencies is much less used than 2.4GHz
  • It allows for use of so many channels that you don’t have to worry about interference between access points.   In the U.S., 802.11a offers eight non-overlapping channels vs. three channels shared by 802.11b and 802.11g. If the company or department next door (or upstairs or downstairs) has an 802.11a network, more channels makes it easier to configure your 802.11a network to avoid interference.  In dense installations, extra channels can make 802.11a networks up to 14 times faster than 802.11b networks.

The following may be outdated in 2015:

If your purpose is internet connectivity only – trying to reach a distant or weak network signal for internet access:   

  1. 802.11b will provide better range/distance than 802.11g - and -
  2. 802.11b provides plenty of bandwidth for broadband-speed internet access:  Read more
  3. 802.11g cards automatically select 802.11b mode for long-distance connection
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