TMCNet:  Micro: do you need a 'dual-band' Wi-Fi router?

[December 09, 2012]

Micro: do you need a 'dual-band' Wi-Fi router?

Dec 09, 2012 (Austin American-Statesman - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- If you're shopping for gear to create or improve a wireless network in your home, one question you'll need to answer is whether you want a "dual-band" Wi-Fi router.


When they debuted, dual-band routers were pricey and aimed at early adopters with newer laptops and other bleeding-edge electronics using 802.11n Wi-Fi (faster so-called "Wireless-N" Wi-Fi as opposed to the older "Wireless-B" or "Wireless-G" standards).

Most routers, even ones that could do Wireless-N (also known as 5 GHz), would simply put out a signal compatible with new and old devices or give you the option to go all-N, making for a faster network that shut out older non-N electronics.

Dual-band routers instead create two separate networks, one for older devices (the B and G networks running at 2.4 GHz) and one for faster N devices like newer cellphones, laptops and some video streaming boxes. You might have a Wi-Fi network called "My Home Wi-Fi" and a second network that shows up as "My Home Wi-Fi 5Ghz." This allows the N devices to get faster speeds on the 5 GHz network without sacrificing support for older Wi-Fi gadgets. Dual-band routers have dropped in price as Wireless-N has gone mainstream. Manufacturers like Netgear, Apple and Cisco all make dual-band routers in the $100-$150 range.

In this space every week, we'll define a tech term, offer a timely tip or answer questions about technology from readers. Email ogallaga@statesman.com ___ (c)2012 Austin American-Statesman, Texas Visit Austin American-Statesman, Texas at www.statesman.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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