How to know the maximum speed that a WiFi router can give

by Kelvin
How to know the maximum speed that a WiFi router can give

Surely you have noticed that when we talk about connectivity there are always some strange names like WiFi b / g / n / ac, WiFi b / g / n and others. If you do not know what they mean the same, you stay the same, but those letters refer to the protocols of the IEEE 802.11 standard and, basically, can give us an approximate idea of ​​the maximum speed a WiFi router can offer.

Depending on what protocols our router is compatible with we can access at one speed or another. Now, it is important to know that they are maximum theoretical numbers. In practice, it will depend on the connection speed we have contracted, the interference, the modem of the device, the distance … Be that as it may, if we know the standards, we can better understand what does a fabricant mean to use when you tell us that your router is WiFi b / g / n / ac.


Understanding the acronym of a router

Before starting, it must be made clear that the WiFi Alliance has decided to abandon this confusing nomenclature to opt for something simpler: WiFi 4, WiFi 5 and WiFi 6. It is a simpler way of referring to these standards that we mentioned before, but they still do not usually look much. For you to have a reference, WiFi 4 is 802.11n, WiFi 5 is 802.11ac and WiFi 6 is 802.11ax.

That said, when we buy a router the manufacturer always specifies the protocols with which it is compatible. Typically, we find something like "WiFi b / g / n / ac" or "802.11a, 802.11n, 802.11g, 802.11b". What does the manufacturer mean by this? The next:




5 GHz

54 Mbps


2.4 GHz

11 Mbps


2.4 Ghz

54 Mbps

802.11n (WiFi 4)

2.4 GHz and 5 Ghz

600 Mbps

802.11ac (WiFi 5)

5 Ghz

1.3 Gbps

802.11ax (WiFi 6)

2.4 and 5 GHz

10 Gbps

The theoretical maximum speed that a router can offer it will always be the "fastest" standard. What does that mean? That a WiFi router b / g / n can give up to 600 Mbps speed. The most normal, what you may have at home, is an 802.11ac WiFi router, capable of giving up to 1.3 Gbps.

Although the table says that the band of WiFi 5 or WiFi 802.11ac is 5 Ghz, the manufacturer can add technologies to also emit in the band of 2.4 GHz. it is normal to find WiFi routers b / g / n / ac, which are more complete and, in a way, compatible with a greater number of devices (not all mobile phones can take advantage of the 5 GHz band, for example).

Now, as we said before, these are standard speeds. That means may vary based on countless factorssuch as the number of antennas of the router and devices, the distance to the router, the saturation of the band and the superposition of channels … Take them as a reference when choosing a router. If you want to know how to choose a good router, in Xataka you will find a buying guide with everything you should consider and recommended models.

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