Let’s take a look at what these letters mean inside the world of our connections.
Before diving into what each of these letters stand for, we should first find out what they represent. For that, we need a quick definition of a relevant piece of hardware.
If you have Wifi internet at home, then you have a router. It can be a separate device from your modem or one that integrates into it.
Whichever the case, your router is responsible for your Wifi network. Your modem receives analog internet signals by cable. After it, your router processes these signals and turns them into Wifi.
Once you have wired access to the internet, your router takes your modem’s internet signal and transforms it into a wireless one allowing Wifi network connections at home.
So, why is this relevant when we’re talking about A, B, G, N, or AC?
A, B, G, N & AC: What they are and why we should know how to differentiate them
Although the concept of how routers work is quite simple, these are complex tools powered by state-of-the-art technology.
These letters attest to the challenging aspects of the workings of our networks. Each of them represents the model of a router.
Different types of routers allow various forms of connectivity because of the way each Wifi signal works. Experts describe Wifi signals according to the characteristics that define the standard where they belong.
What is a standard?
Think of Wifi network standards as ice creams.
Just like the dessert, Wifi is not an unvarying signal. It means there are multiple Wifi flavors with distinctive characteristics, and these flavors are what we call standards.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, IEEE, is the ice cream maker. They are the entity in charge of deciding the particularities that make up each standard. They choose how much of each ingredient goes into the making of the ice cream.
Just like ice cream flavors taste different, various network standards will have several features. These will include speed, frequency, and the compatibility too.
The A, B, G, N & AC letters are what the engineers named each particular standard. They’re the name of each ice cream flavor.
The difference between the latest wifi standards
Humans like to categorize things. Although not always a politically correct method, this is practical when it comes to naming wifi standards.
Each standard category allows people to know what they’re dealing with when managing their networks. Understanding each standard will give you an overview of what you can expect from your internet connectivity.
Wireless A is actually not the first standard to exist. However, the one preceding it was so outdated and obsolete that it’s not really worth mentioning.
Wireless A and B are contemporaries, meaning they were presented as network standards almost simultaneously.
They are, however, different.
Wireless A standards were faster than the other ones. Because of a series of choices from the developers, they decided to halt it and improve the Wireless B.
For this reason, there weren’t more developments from Wireless A.
We’ve pointed out that the B and A standards are about the same age. But this one is the one that prevailed.
From today’s point of view, wireless B is not a fast standard. Even so, it was more than enough for the ‘90s. The B standard could offer more speed than the ethernet cables could carry at the time.
Despite having considerably limited coverage and being prone to interference, wireless B became the standard of choice over the A-one. Well, if you’ve got a router for 200 Mbps speed then it might be connected to this very network type.
Initially, wireless G had the same velocity capacity as Wireless A, 54Mbps. It explains why it’s strange why Wireless A didn’t really stick.
Regardless, it became more popular than the B standard.
Just like Wireless B, Wireless G worked within 2.4GHz frequencies. But, due to how popular Wifi had become, more research and funds were invested into improving the wireless-connection world. So, this is how what we know as connectivity strength and reach started to grow.
The validation of this standard occurred in 2009, six years later after the ratification of Wireless G.
The new Wireless N technology could work in both frequencies that we know today, 2.4GHz and 5GHz.
The N standard offered their users up to 900Mps, which made it extremely popular half a decade ago. It was a far-reaching advancement for Wifi connectivity, for it doubled the reach of the previous standard.
Companies like Hughesnet are advanced and provides this type of wireless connectivity. However, for a HughesNet connection you need a dedicated router that could handle massive bandwidth served by its ISP.
This standard is almost a decade old, and it is the one we use today.
Wireless AC allows speeds up to 1 Gbps, although the coverage of the signal is as much as the Wireless B-one.
AC model routers are the descendants of all the other Wireless standards. They don’t have as much interference and allow multiple devices to connect without interruptions. Yeah, these routers are ideally found for apartment-bound connectivities.
The predecessor of Wireless AC was approved in February of this year and promoted as a network with higher efficiency, also called WiFi 6.
The design permits this standard to work with higher frequencies, which allows it to sustain itself in more trafficked areas.
With this standard, the goal is to generate wider networks for transited locations such as public spaces or offices.
1. What is the current WiFi standard?
While Wireless AC is the most used and common network standard in actuality, a new generation of standards is here.
The IEEE 802.11ax was presented at the beginning of this year, and it will be implemented gradually into our connectivity systems.
2. What is the fastest WiFi standard?
If we go back to the first IEEE 802.11, we’ll notice that one of the older ones provided the higher speed capacity.
The Wireless A was able to sustain a 54Mbps speed. The Wireless G, the second generation after the A standard, had the same speed capacity. However, due to the efforts invested in network connections, the Wireless G standard proved to be more efficient when it came to range and efficiency.
Understanding the communications of our future
This article means to offer more than a lesson on our wireless history. It is more than how our wireless connectivity was born and enhanced throughout time.
We might not make much of it, but wireless standards represent the way our communication evolved. It marks a before and after about how humans connect with each other and associate with the world around us.
Seeing how connectivity peaked in the last years is a route to understanding what is to come in the near future. How we interact in and with our digital environment is the bedrock of what is to come for humanity.