Is your 802.11n Wi-Fi feeling sluggish? This simple solution could help

With many routers now transmitting Wi-Fi signals using the 802.11n standard (including all of Apple's current router offerings), some users may find that they are unable to take advantage of the increased speeds.

With many routers now transmitting Wi-Fi signals using the 802.11n standard (including all of Apple's current router offerings), some users may find that they are unable to take advantage of the increased speeds. This is most likely due to the password settings users have chosen for their network.

The maximum transfer rate, as outlined in the IEEE 802.11n standard, for networks using WEP or WPA (TKIP) passwords is 54 Mbps (megabits per second). To ensure that you are getting the best speeds from your 802.11n router or Base Station, be sure you are using the WPA2 password configuration. You may also choose to have no password protecting your network, though security risks obviously increase with that choice.

By default, Apple's AirPort Utility (Applications > Utilities) does not allow users to configure their Apple router (Base Station, Express, or Time Capsule) with a WEP or WPA password. Keep in mind, third-party routers may not have the option for WPA2 passwords. Check the manufacturer's Web site for more information on your specific router.

The best password choices for your 802.11n router are the WPA/WPA2 Personal option or the WPA2 Personal option.

  • WPA/WPA2 Personal will have the fastest transfer rates when only one device (unicast) is being served. When other devices are using the network, they will run in multicast at 54 Mbps.
  • WPA2 Personal will provide the best 802.11n transfer rates and is recommend for the majority of users.

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    Joe is a seasoned Mac veteran with years of experience on the platform. He reports on Macs, iPods, iPhones and anything else Apple sells. He even has worked in Apple retail stores. He's also a creative professional who knows how to use a Mac to get the job done.

     

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