Tri-Band Wireless Router Explained

If you are shopping for a Wireless Router and they all seem to be more or less the same, you are getting kind of bored and just gonna grab the one with the prettiest box. And suddenly, you look at Wireless Router 3200 MB!! Are you kidding me? Over three Gigabit Wi-Fi Speed with Tri Band Technology?

Time to throw it all, your wired devices that are limited to 1 Gigabit connections, right? Actually no and I will explain why, but first lets get our terminology straight. A Wireless router is a bit of a misnomer but the term is so universally used that we are kind of stuck with it.

Inside that silly router box is actually three discrete components each of which can usually be turned off, if you want to use a standalone appliance for that functionality instead.

  1. Router: The traffic controller between the whole network all of your devices are connected to and all the other networks out there on the internet.
  2. Network Switch: The traffic controller between all of your devices.
  3. Wireless Access point (AP): A Radio with antennas that are sort of like a mini cell tower in your house that communicates with all your wireless standard complaint devices over the approved frequencies, usually in 2.4 GHz and 5GHz Ranges.

So with that out of the way, the important piece of the puzzle for this discussion is “the Access Point“, how can it use the same Wireless AC Standard that we have already had for almost 5 years and achieves so much more than the 1900 MB max that we have seen advertised on dual band wireless APs up until now.

Well, a big part of the problem actually lies in the marketing for these devices a dual AC 1900 AP, never actually achieves a 1900 MB link speed to anything literally never. That is an aggregated value for both the Wireless AC 1300 MB, 5 GHz connection and the Wireless N 600 MB, 2.4 GHz connection, when they are being used concurrently.

But an individual client like your phone or computer would not be designed to utilize the two at the same time, so what would be the point of Tri Band or even Dual Band for that matter, if true max connection speeds are still stuck at 1300 MB.

Think of it like adding more Lanes to the highway, rather than increasing the speed limit. More bands or radios means smoother operation with a greater number of connected devices, because Wi-Fi is a polite communication protocol, every other device in a given frequency has to wait it’s turn while another one is talking.

So, if you move some of your devices onto one frequency and others onto a completely separate, non overlapping frequency. You are dramatically improving the overall amount of data, you can throw through the Air.

More bands also helps address overall. Wi-Fi slowdowns that occur when a legacy or slower client connects to the network using band steering technology and to separate 5 GHz radios each supporting three spatial streams, the AP can sort the device is connected to it according to their capability with all the slow clients on one radio by themselves.

And the faster ones on another radio improving performance for your shiny new gadgets, sounds good, but if adding more bands or discrete radios doesn’t increase point to point connection speed, then how can we ever replace our wires?

Well, the way its been done up until now has been to utilize more and more of the available wireless spectrum per radio by transmitting and receiving on more frequencies concurrently like a wireless 802.11 AC complaint device, must support at least two antennas operating together for example.

But there are some issues with that,

  1. More spatial streams increases power consumption and heat output. Which is a big deal on the client side, where you might have a phone or a laptop and if your clients don’t support the faster link speed, then you will get no benefit anyway.
  2. With the limited number of 5 GHz frequencies or channels available, creating new link speed standards that can only be achieved by sprawling across more and more of the available spectrum will result in interference from the overlapping networks of your neighbours, very soon just like we already have with 2.4 GHz.

So, this is how Tri Band wireless router works, it is totally upon you to choose that which router you want, Single band, dual band or tri band, based on the users. Let me know if you have any query related to Tri-Band router in comments.



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