Upgrading to 802.11n Wi-Fi: Easier Than Ever

In an earlier post, I made the point that web workers who rely on home Wi-Fi networks, and who haven’t yet upgraded to 802.11n Wi-Fi wireless technology should definitely do so. Even though the 802.11n Wi-Fi proposed standard is not quite ratified yet, and some potential upgraders fear that the ratified products won’t be compatible with what they use now, there are numerous reasons to upgrade anyway to Draft-n. Now, some good solutions are emerging for upgrading easily, and there are signs that more businesses are moving up.

Lots of readers of this blog are Mac users, and many readers are already using 802.11n Wi-Fi because it’s built in to Apple’s Airport Extreme routers and many Apple systems. However, if you have older Macs, Other World Computing is offering good ways to upgrade those inexpensively.

Wi-Fi is radio technology, so to be using 802.11n Wi-Fi you need it in your router as well as in the devices you connect to your Wi-Fi network. Other World Computing has a new line of Wi-Fi adapters that will inexpensively bring 802.11n to any G3, G4, G5, or Intel processor-based Mac or PC with an available PCI, USB 2.0, or PCMCIA Card slot running Apple OS X 10.3.x or later or Windows 2000/XP and later.

You can check the prices for routers and adapters here. They’re quite reasonable, and adapters start at $67.99.

What if the final 802.11n standard turns out not to be compatible with your Draft-n products? Most people think that firmware upgrades will make this a non-issue, but if it does occur, a typical user would need only a few hundred dollars of upgrades. Meanwhile, due to the MIMO (multiple-input, multiple-output) antennas in Draft-n products, and more, you get vastly better performance than you can get with 802.11g Wi-Fi.

On a related note, Aruba Networks, which works closely with the Wi-Fi Alliance on Wi-Fi certification, has announced that it has shipped its 10,000th 802.11n access point. Universities and other organizations are upgrading prior to the official ratification of 802.11n. It makes much sense for web workers to do so as well.

Are you using Draft-n Wi-Fi?