Is there really a difference between 150 mbps and 300 mbps wirless adapters?

Fruhstuck

Honorable
Nov 28, 2012
54
0
10,630
0
Hello Community,

I currently am running a NetGear WPN311 Range max wireless card. It is old as you can tell and I would like to upgrade to a newer faster card. However, a thought occurred to me (Keep in mind that I am not very knowledgeable in the wireless adapter world), If I can only download at 2 to 3 mbps and the data transfer rate of my current card is 108 mbps, why would need to buy a card that is any faster? If someone could explain to me the difference between the transfer rates I would appreciate it. Are newer cards advertised as faster because they can but it just does not matter?

Thank you
 

bobsilver

Reputable
Jul 5, 2014
119
0
4,860
53


The difference in the speed has to do with the number of radios in the device. A 150mbs device uses a single radio. This is the baseline wifi N standard. The 300mbs uses 2 radios. 150 *2 to get your 300mbs.

Single radio devices are the baseline as I mentioned. If you have a 150mbs router and plans to upgrade that then no point changing the client. If you have a newer higher end router and wish to improve throughput then upgrade to a higher speed client.

To gain any benefit your router or wifi source must be equal or better then your clients.

Lastly comments about internet speeds are accurate. Except I will add wifi networks are serial networks meaning nothing goes faster then the slowest device. So if you have multiple things going on a faster home network will allow you to at least enjoy your full internet performance.

Bob Silver
NETGEAR AV Consulatnt
 

Fruhstuck

Honorable
Nov 28, 2012
54
0
10,630
0
I understand that but I guess what I am asking is, most people I know only download at around 1 to 10 mbps, so why do these adapters need to transfer data at 300 mbps?
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
130,988
5,573
165,040
20,200


Primarily, because they can. Short range, it costs no more or less to make the router/WiFi do 300Mbps or 3 Mbps.
It is rare that you would ever actually see 300Mbps between a PC and router in real world activities, but it is a good standard and advertising point. 300 is more than 150, so it is 'better'.

My desktop and router has 1Gbps ports. My ISP speed is 50Mbps....a small percentage of that 1Gbps. Talking to the outside world, I will never see more than ~50Mbps.
But...when I am transferring data from my PC to the HTPC on the other end of the house.....fast.
 

bobsilver

Reputable
Jul 5, 2014
119
0
4,860
53


The difference in the speed has to do with the number of radios in the device. A 150mbs device uses a single radio. This is the baseline wifi N standard. The 300mbs uses 2 radios. 150 *2 to get your 300mbs.

Single radio devices are the baseline as I mentioned. If you have a 150mbs router and plans to upgrade that then no point changing the client. If you have a newer higher end router and wish to improve throughput then upgrade to a higher speed client.

To gain any benefit your router or wifi source must be equal or better then your clients.

Lastly comments about internet speeds are accurate. Except I will add wifi networks are serial networks meaning nothing goes faster then the slowest device. So if you have multiple things going on a faster home network will allow you to at least enjoy your full internet performance.

Bob Silver
NETGEAR AV Consulatnt
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY