Networking upgrades

I recently completed the final steps of my multi-step plan to transition to 802.11n for my home network.  I previously had upgraded Clementine to have a 802.11n adapter.  The next step was to upgrade my router.  Previously I had a standard Actiontec 802.11g router that was issued with my Verizon FiOS service.  Since Verizon now offers an 802.11n version of this router, and a Verizon-issued router is required in order to provide network access to the set-top box, I decided to buy the new 802.11n Actiontec router and replace the existing one.  The alternative would have been to daisy-chain a third-party router off of the Verizon router, but I wanted to attempt to not make the set up more complicated.  With that new router in place, Clementine’s adapter can now work at its 802.11n speeds.  The final step was to get a new 802.11n adapter for Beaker, my laptop.  I went with a micro adapter from On Networks.

On the whole, I do see increased speeds, but have been somewhat underwhelmed with 802.11n.  Based on my own experience and subsequent Googling, it seems that 802.11n is much more temperamental than 802.11g — in order to get the maximum advertised speeds you really need just the right combination of adapter, router, and environment.  Without that perfect mix, speeds fallback to a default of 65Mbps — which is faster than 802.11g, but not by much.  And getting that perfect mix can be more luck than skill, as there are so many variables.

Clementine seems to be getting speeds around that 65Mbps fallback speed for transfers internally within my network, and Beaker seems to be getting slightly faster than that.  And the other wireless clients — iPhones, iPads, etc. — are able to get the full speed of my 50Mbps internet connection.  So that’s all positive.  But, nowhere near the 300Mbps speeds that you see advertised on boxes.  I’m sure these devices are all capable of that under the right conditions, but it sure is difficult to achieve those speeds, even as a person who is relatively knowledgeable about technical things.

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