Different Wi-Fi Protocols and Data Rates

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Product Information & Documentation

000005725

13-Sep-2018

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IEEE 802.11 Wi-Fi protocol summary
Protocol Frequency Channel Width MIMO Maximum data rate
(theoretical)
802.11ac wave2 5 GHz 80, 80+80, 160 MHz Multi User (MU-MIMO) 1.73 Gbps1
802.11ac wave1 5 GHz 80 MHz Single User (SU-MIMO) 866.7 Mbps1
802.11n 2.4 or 5 GHz 20, 40MHz Single User (SU-MIMO) 450 Mbps2
802.11g 2.4 GHz 20 MHz N/A 54 Mbps
802.11a 5 GHz 20 MHz N/A 54 Mbps
802.11b 2.4 GHz 20 MHz N/A 11 Mbps
Legacy 802.11 2.4 GHz 20 MHz N/A 2 Mbps
1 2 Spatial streams with 256-QAM modulation.
2 3 Spatial streams with 64-QAM modulation.
802.11ac wave2
  • Released in June 2016.
  • Key New Features for Wi-Fi clients:
    • Multi-User MIMO
    • 160 MHz channels
Mode Maximum rate Antenna transmit /
Receive arrangements
1x1 40 MHz 200 Mbps 1 TX (Transmit, Upload)
1 RX (Receive, Download)
2x2 40 MHz 400 Mbps 2 TX
2 RX
1x1 80 MHz 433 Mbps 1 TX
1 RX
2x2 80 MHz 866 Mbps 2 TX
2 RX
1x1 160 MHz 866 Mbps 1 TX
1 RX
2x2 160 MHz 1.73 Gbps 2 TX
2 RX
802.11ac wave1
  • Released in January 2014.
  • Data rates varying modulation types and number of spatial streams; 200 Mbps, 400 Mbps, 433 Mbps, 600 Mbps, 867 Mbps. See table below.
  • 24 non-overlapping unlicensed national information infrastructure (UNII) channels in 5 GHz frequency band.
Mode Maximum rate Antenna transmit /
Receive arrangements
1x1 40 MHz 200 Mbps 1 TX
1 RX
2x2 40 MHz 400 Mbps 2 TX
2 RX
1x1 80 MHz 433 Mbps 1 TX
1 RX
2x2 80 MHz 866 Mbps 2 TX
2 RX
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 We recommend channel bonding for the 5 GHz because there are a limited number of non-overlapping channels available in the 2.4 GHz band.
Mode Maximum rate Antenna transmit /
Receive arrangements
1x1 20 MHz 72.2 Mbps 1 TX
1 RX
1x1 40 Mhz 150 Mbps 1 TX
1 RX
2x2 20 MHz 144.4 Mbps 2 TX
2 RX
2x2 40 MHz 300 Mbps 2 TX
2 RX
3x3 20 MHz 216.7 Mbps 3 TX
3 RX
3x3 40 MHz 450 Mbps 3 TX
3 RX
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 subcarrier 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.
802.11a
  • 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 subcarrier 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.
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).