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Seven Troubleshooting Tips for Wireless N Networks

Article Description

Are your wireless N connections not getting the speeds, performance, or range you hoped for? If so, this is a must-read. There are many things that can hold your networking equipment back from operating at the peak performance, and Eric Geier, author of Wi-Fi Hotspots: Setting Up Public Wireless Internet Access, helps you get your money's worth.

Were you all hyped about wireless N[md]its higher speeds and increased ranges[md]but are disappointed after hooking it up? If so, this article is for you. There are many things that can hold back the wireless N gear from delivering the great data rates and coverage everyone is talking about.

In this article, we'll review numerous things to consider, verify, and change to get past the fine print and on to a network that is as strong as possible.

Remember, what you see is not what you get. The box and marketing materials usually mention the maximum data rates and ranges for the wireless standards. The realistic values will be much less.

For example, you'll probably only get up to around 100Mbps of true throughput instead of the touted rates around 300Mbps. Windows also lies; it shows you the standardized data rates rather than the true values. You have to use other throughput testing programs to get a realistic value.

One more thing to consider before you start troubleshooting: The final 802.11n standard is not complete. The products released today are called Draft N 2.0 products. Thus the products and their behavior might change when the standard is actually done.

#1 Confirm that You're Using New Adapters

If you are seeing only a maximum data rate of 54Mbps (or lower), first check to see whether you're using a wireless N adapter instead of an old wireless G card.

Old adapters can connect to the new N gear, but the high speeds and performance are possible only on connections between a wireless N router or access point (AP) and a wireless N adapter. In short, you probably have to upgrade all the wireless gear.

2. #2 Verify that Hardware is from the Same Manufacturer | Next Section