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What are the different Wi-Fi protocols and data rates?

IEEE 802.11 Wi-Fi protocol summary

Protocol

Frequency

Signal

Maximum Data Rate

Legacy 802.11

2.4 GHz

FHSS or DSSS

2 Mbps

802.11a

5 GHz

OFDM

54 Mbps

802.11b

2.4 GHz

HR-DSSS

11 Mbps

802.11g

2.4 GHz

OFDM

54 Mbps

802.11n

2.4 or 5 GHz

OFDM

600 Mbps (theoretical)


Legacy 802.11

  • Released in 1997
  • Two raw data rates of 1 and 2 Mbps
  • Frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) or direct-sequence spread spectrum (DSSS)
  • Three non-overlapping channels in industrial, scientific, medical (ISM) frequency band at 2.4 GHz
  • Originally defined carrier sense multiple access with collision avoidance (CSMA-CA)

802.11a

  • Released in 1999
  • Data rates with varying modulation types: 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48 and 54 Mbps
  • Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) with 52 sub-carrier channels
  • 12 non-overlapping unlicensed national information infrastructure (UNII) channels in 5 GHz frequency band

802.11b

  • Released in 1999
  • Data rates with varying modulation types: 1, 2, 5.5 and 11 Mbps
  • High-rate direct-sequence spread spectrum (HR-DSSS)
  • Three non-overlapping channels in industrial, scientific, medical (ISM) frequency band at 2.4 GHz

802.11g

  • Released in 2003
  • Data rates with varying modulation types: 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48 and 54 Mbps; can revert to 1, 2, 5.5, and 11 Mbps using DSSS and CCK
  • Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) with 52 sub-carrier channels; backwards compatible with 802.11b using DSSS and CCK
  • Three non-overlapping channels in industrial, scientific, medical (ISM) frequency band at 2.4 GHz

802.11n

  • Data rates with varying modulation types: 1, 2, 5.5, 6, 9, 11, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48, 54 Mbps; see table below
  • Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) using multiple-input/multiple-output (MIMO) and channel bonding (CB)
  • Three non-overlapping channels in industrial, scientific, medical (ISM) frequency band at 2.4 GHz
  • 12 non-overlapping unlicensed national information infrastructure (UNII) channels in 5 GHz frequency band with and without CB
Note Channel bonding is recommended for the 5GHz because there are a limited number of non-overlapping channels available in the 2.4GHz band.

Mode

Maximum Rate (Mbps)

Antenna Transmit/Receive Arrangements

Legacy a/b/g with antenna
diversity and CB

121.5

1 Tx
1 Rx

2x2 20MHz

130

2 Tx
2 Rx

2x3 20MHz

144.44

2 Tx
3 Rx

2x2 40MHz

270

2 Tx
2 Rx

2x3 40MHz

300

2 Tx
3 Rx

3x3 20MHz

405

3 Tx
3 Rx

3x3 40MHz

450

3 Tx
3 Rx

This applies to:

Intel® Centrino® Advanced-N + WiMAX 6250
Intel® Centrino® Advanced-N 6200
Intel® Centrino® Advanced-N 6205
Intel® Centrino® Advanced-N 6205 For Desktop
Intel® Centrino® Advanced-N 6230
Intel® Centrino® Advanced-N 6235
Intel® Centrino® Ultimate-N 6300
Intel® Centrino® Wireless-N + WiMAX 6150
Intel® Centrino® Wireless-N 100
Intel® Centrino® Wireless-N 1000
Intel® Centrino® Wireless-N 1030
Intel® Centrino® Wireless-N 105
Intel® Centrino® Wireless-N 130
Intel® Centrino® Wireless-N 135
Intel® Centrino® Wireless-N 2200
Intel® Centrino® Wireless-N 2200 For Desktop
Intel® Centrino® Wireless-N 2230
Intel® Dual Band Wireless-AC 3160
Intel® Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260
Intel® Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 for Desktop
Intel® Dual Band Wireless-N 7260
Intel® PRO/Wireless 2200BG Network Connection
Intel® PRO/Wireless 2915ABG Network Connection
Intel® PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Network Connection
Intel® WiFi Link 1000
Intel® WiFi Link 5300 and Intel® WiFi Link 5100 products
Intel® WiMAX/WiFi Link 5350 and Intel® WiMAX/WiFi Link 5150 products
Intel® Wireless WiFi Link 4965AGN
Intel® Wireless-N 7260

Solution ID: CS-025321
Last Modified: 17-Jul-2014
Date Created: 27-Dec-2006
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