Answer: It depends.  Don’t you love these types of questions?

Background: The wireless standard 802.11n is the next step in the evolutionary ladder of wireless PC to PC networking.  The current widely accepted standard is 802.11g.  These standards govern wireless communication between computers and are defined by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE – read “I triple E”)

802.11g vs 802.11n – How do you choose which type of router and / or wireless card to buy in your computer?  Consider the following points:

1. Many new laptops are coming with “N” wireless network cards.  The cards are usually all backward compatible for use with 802.11g routers (they have to be as it is so prevalent).

2.  While you do get higher throughput speeds with 802.11n, this will only make a difference if you will be moving large files between computers.  WHY?  For the vast majority of folks, the speed at which you connect to the Internet is below the speed 802.11g offers.

3. 802.11n does have slightly better range and can broadcast better through say a brick wall, or walls with a lot of copper piping.

4. 802.11g has been out for quite a bit and cards / routers developed by different manufacturers work well together.  802.11n devices manufactured by different vendors can sometimes prove problematic in working together.

5.  Note that if the PC does not support “N” technology, and you purchase a wireless N router, you will not be taking advantage of these items.

Bottom line: If you are looking for the basic and don’t want to pay the slightly higher price tag – 802.11g should cover a decent portion of the house with a wireless signal and be more than enough speed-wise for surfing the web.  Moving larger files between computers in your home, go with 802.11n.

On a side note: Need to stream HD video or high quality music between computers?  You’ll want to consider hard-wired connections between computers, and not trust wireless for reliability.  As always, contact us at P3C Technologies if you would like help designing your home or small business network!