Networking

What does each acronym for WiFi features mean

With the launch of the Wi-Fi 4 standard, manufacturers began to put different acronyms and nomenclatures on their devices to easily know what speed we could achieve via WiFi. This became popular with the Wi-Fi 5 standard, because with Wi-Fi 5 we have simultaneous double band or triple band, and the same happens with the Wi-Fi 6 standard, these acronyms will help us to identify the theoretical speed that we will achieve in the different frequency bands. Do you want to know what each of the acronyms that appear on all routers, access points, repeaters and also WiFi cards means?

Explanation of the different acronyms: N, AC and AX

Currently the manufacturers of routers, access points, repeaters and WiFI cards, make use of the acronyms N, AC and AX to perfectly identify which WiFi standard supports said device. All standards are backwards compatible with the previous standards, therefore, this acronym means the newest standard that it is capable of supporting to make the most of wireless communication. We must remember that for a wireless client to be able to take full advantage of its power, the router or access point must also support the same standard, otherwise they will “talk” to agree on their common standard.

N

The acronym “N” means that it supports the Wi-Fi 4 standard, or formerly known as 802.11n. This standard works in the 2.4GHz and 5GHz band, but today, if we find this acronym on a computer (regardless of whether it is a router, AP, repeater or WiFi card), in the vast majority of occasions it is because only it works on the 2.4GHz band. Dual-band WiFi N routers have gone down in history, in favor of the WiFi 5 standard that provides us with a higher speed in the 5GHz band because we have twice the channel width (80MHz) and also a greater amplitude modulation in quadrature ( 256QAM instead of the typical 64QAM).

The WiFi 4 standard was a before and after in home and professional wireless networks, because it allowed us to take advantage of several WiFi antennas in routers and APs, with the aim of increasing the real speed achieved and also the coverage, thanks to technologies such as Beamforming and MIMO. Today this standard has been relegated to the background due to the launch of WiFi 6, or also known as WiFi AX, because it has a higher speed due to the higher modulation (1024QAM) and other technologies that improve the efficiency of the available spectrum. like OFDMA and also MU-MIMO.

AC

The acronym “AC” means that it supports the Wi-Fi 5 standard, or formerly known as 802.11ac. We must remember that this standard can only work in the 5GHz band. Devices with Wi-Fi 5 that are dual band or simultaneous triple band, in the 2.4GHz band make use of the Wi-Fi 4 standard (or 802.11n), for this reason, when we see the acronym “AC” on a device it means that it supports the 5GHz band, but quite possibly, it also supports the 2.4GHz band with the WiFi 4 standard. On very few occasions we have seen that an «AC» device is only compatible with the 5GHz band.

This standard supposed an acceleration to the performance of the 5GHz band, now in the vast majority of cases we make use of this frequency band and it is popularly known as 5G WiFi, where users know that it is clearly faster than the typical band of 2.4G that we have always had at our disposal. In addition, this standard introduced unique features such as MU-MIMO and even the possibility (unofficially) to increase the amplitude modulation in quadrature.

AX

The acronym “AX” means that it supports the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard, or formerly known as 802.11ax. We must remember that this standard works in both frequency bands, both 2.4GHz and 5GHz, in addition, the new Wi-Fi 6E standard also enables the 6GHz band to connect with less interference. The WiFi 6 devices that are dual band or simultaneous triple band, make use of the Wi-Fi 6 standard in all frequency bands. However, we have cases in which some devices only support WiFi 6 in a frequency band (5GHz-2 with high channels, generally), but they are classified as AX, therefore, we must stop to verify their technical specifications, a clear example It is the RT-AX92U that is classified as AX because it has a band with WiFi 6, but we have a band with WiFi 4 and another with WiFi 5.

This new standard has all the improvements available for spectrum efficiency thanks to OFDMA, in this way, we can connect a greater number of wireless clients without being impaired in speed, thanks to OFDMA, we will have up to four times more capacity to When connecting dozens of wireless clients to the same WiFi router or wireless access point.

Explanation of acronyms and numbers

When we have a router, repeater or WiFi card in front of us, we will not only see the acronym N, AC or AX, but we will also see a figure just below, for example, we can see “N300”, “AC1200” or “AX6000” between many others. This means the maximum speed that we will achieve by combining all the WiFi frequency bands available on the device. While the acronym indicates the WiFi standard used, the figure that comes just behind will indicate the theoretical maximum speed if we add the individual speed of each WiFi frequency band. In RedesZone we call the combination of the acronym and the number “class”, because depending on the acronym and the number, we classify it in the low, medium or high range of routers.

We must remember that the maximum speed that we will achieve in a frequency band will depend on the WiFi standard used, the number of antennas we have (data flows), the channel width and also the quadrature amplitude modulation. To indicate the number of antennas, we will use «1T1R» indicating that it has an antenna to transmit and an antenna to receive.

N

In the case of N or the WiFi 4 standard, currently we will find several types of speed, depending on the number of antennas and whether they work in the 2.4GHz band only, or in the 5GHz band. Although nowadays it is rare to find a device with simultaneous dual band and WiFi 4, we are going to indicate all the possibilities that we find. We must also bear in mind that the indicated speed is theoretical, and, furthermore, it is with an “up to” speed.

  • N150 : 150Mbps in 2.4GHz, a single antenna in MIMO 1T1R configuration.
  • N300 : 300Mbps in the 2.4GHz band in MIMO 2T2R configuration, it may indicate simultaneous dual band with MIMO 1T1R in each frequency band.
  • N450 : 450Mbps in the 2.4GHz band with 3T3R MIMO configuration, sometimes they refer to simultaneous dual band with different antenna configurations in 2.4GHz and 5Ghz.
  • N600 : simultaneous dual band at 300Mbps on each frequency band, with 2T2R MIMO per band.
  • N750 : simultaneous dual band at 300Mbps in 2.4GHz with MIMO 2T2R, and 450Mbps in the 5GHz band with MIMO 3T3R.
  • N900 : simultaneous dual band at 450Mbps in 2.4GHz with MIMO 3T3R, and 450Mbps in the 5GHz band with MIMO 3T3R.

As you have seen, we have started with the lowest ranges, to reach the top of the range with the N900.

AC

In the case of AC or the WiFi 5 standard, we will also find different types of speed, in addition, for simultaneous dual band or simultaneous triple band equipment, we must bear in mind that WiFi 4 will be used in 2.4GHz. We must also take into account that the indicated speed is theoretical, and, furthermore, it is with an “up to” speed. All speeds in 2.4GHz are with 40MHz channel width, and in 5GHz it is with 80MHz channel width and 256QAM.

  • AC433 : 433Mbps speed at 5GHz with 1T1T MIMO
  • AC600 : simultaneous dual band, speed of 150Mbps in 2.4GHz and 433Mbps in 5GHz. It has 1T1R MIMO in each frequency band.
  • AC750 : simultaneous dual band, speed of 300Mbps in 2.4GHz with MIMO 2T2R and 433Mbps in 5GHz with MIMO 1T1R.
  • AC867 : 867Mbps speed in 5GHz with 2T2R MIMO.
  • AC1200 : simultaneous dual band, speed of 300Mbps in 2.4GHz with MIMO 2T2R and 867Mbps in 5GHz with MIMO 2T2R.
  • AC1300 : simultaneous dual band, speed of 300Mbps in 2.4GHz with MIMO 2T2R and 256QAM, in 5GHz a speed of 867Mbps with MIMO 2T2R. It is also possible for a team to only use 5GHz with 3T3R MIMO, but it would not be normal.
  • AC1350: simultaneous dual band, speeds of 450Mbps in 2.4GHz with MIMO 3T3R and 867Mbps in 5GHz with MIMO 2T2R.
  • AC1600 : simultaneous dual band, speed of 300Mbps in 2.4GHz with MIMO 2T2R and 1300Mbps in 5GHz with MIMO 3T3R.
  • AC1750 : simultaneous dual band is one of the most used by manufacturers, speeds of 450Mbps in 2.4GHz with MIMO 3T3R and 1,300Mbps in 5GHz with MIMO 3T3R.
  • AC1900 : simultaneous dual band, is one of the most used by manufacturers, speed of 600Mbps in 2.4GHz with MIMO 3T3R and 1,300Mbps in 5GHz with MIMO 3T3R.
  • AC2200 : simultaneous triple band, speed of 400Mbps in 2.4GHz, 867Mbps in 5GHz and 867Mbps in 5GHz-2. Used in WiFi Mesh with dedicated band.
  • AC2400 : simultaneous dual band, speed of 600Mbps in 2.4GHz with MIMO 4T4R and 1733Mbps in 5GHz with MIMO 4T4R.
  • AC2900 : simultaneous dual band, speed of 750Mbps in 2.4GHz with MIMO 3T3R and 1024QAM, in 5GHz speed of 2167Mbps with MIMO 4T4R and 1024QAM.
  • AC3000 : simultaneous triple band, speed of 400Mbps in 2.4GHz, 867Mbps in 5GHz and 1733Mbps in 5GHz-2. Used in WiFi Mesh with dedicated band.
  • AC3100 : simultaneous dual band, speed of 1000Mbps in 2.4GHz with MIMO 4T4R and 1024QAM, in 5GHz speed of 2167Mbps with MIMO 4T4R and 1024QAM.

As you have seen, we have started with “low” classes with few antennas, to end with four antennas in MIMO 4T4R and with a QAM quadrature amplitude modulation greater than the WiFi standard itself.

AX

In the case of AX or the WiFi 6 standard, we will also find different types of speed. Depending on the number of antennas, if the equipment is simultaneous double band or simultaneous triple band, and if it is compatible with 160MHz of channel width, we will have a greater number next to “AX” or less. In this case, we will always have 1024QAM modulation for “pure” WiFi 6 equipment, where all WiFi frequency bands use this standard.

  • AX1800 : simultaneous dual band, speed of 574Mbps in 2.4GHz with MIMO 2T2R and in 5GHz we can achieve 1,201Mbps with MIMO 2T2R, 160MHz of channel width in 5GHz is not used here.
  • AX3000 : simultaneous dual band, speed of 574Mbps in 2.4GHz with MIMO 2T2R and in 5GHz we can achieve 2.402Mbps with MIMO 4T4R by using 160MHz of channel width. WiFi cards can also be dual band selectable, like the Intel AX200 which is AX3000 class, but not at the same time.
  • AX5400 : simultaneous dual band, speed of 574Mbps in 2.4GHz with MIMO 2T2R and in 5GHz we can achieve 4.804Mbps with MIMO 8T8R by using 160MHz of channel width.
  • AX5700 : simultaneous dual band, speed of 861Mbps in 2.4GHz with MIMO 3T3R and in 5GHz we can achieve 4.804Mbps with MIMO 8T8R by using 160MHz of channel width.
  • AX6000 : simultaneous dual band, speed of 1148Mbps in 2.4GHz with MIMO 4T4R and in 5GHz we can achieve 4.804Mbps with MIMO 8T8R by using 160MHz of channel width.
  • AX6100 : simultaneous triple band, speed of 400Mbps in 2.4GHz with MIMO 2T2R (and WiFi 4), in 5GHz we can achieve 867Mbps with MIMO 2T2R (and WiFi 5), and finally, in 5GHz-2 we can achieve 4.804Mbps with MIMO 8T8R for use 160MHz channel width.
  • AX6600 : simultaneous triple band, speed of 574Mbps in 2.4GHz with MIMO 2T2R, in 5GHz-1 we can get 1,201Mbps, and in 5GHz-2 we can get 4,804Mbps with MIMO 8T8R by using 160MHz of channel width.
  • AX11000 : simultaneous triple band, speed of 1148Mbps in 2.4GHz with MIMO 4T4R, in 5GHz-1 we can achieve 4.804Mbps, and in 5GHz-2 we can achieve 4804Mbps. In the two frequency bands we have MIMO 8T8R for using 160MHz of channel width.

The WiFi 6 standard is still developing, and manufacturers continue to launch equipment in different antenna configurations, but these are all categories that we can find today in today’s WiFi routers, APs and repeaters.

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