Tech Tips: Understanding Advertised Speeds

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With faster products being made available to the market it can be confusing at times when looking at the various speeds that are mentioned for a given product. Today we look at some speed labels that you may see on some products.

 

1. What does “AC1200” mean?

 

The rate AC1200 (2.4G 300M + 5G 867M) is the maximum wireless link rate that your client can communicate with the router, also called the wireless negotiation rate, which is the physical rate derived from IEEE Standard 802.11 specifications. It will vary as a result of the following three factors:

 

  1. Environmental factors, including building materials, physical objects and obstacles.
  2. Network conditions, including local interference, volume and density of traffic, network complexity, and network overhead.
  3. Client limitations, including rated performance, location, connection quality, and client condition.


A common misconception is that the link rate always equals what your download should be. This is incorrect in that the rate and download are two different things. The download speed is the application rate. Generally, the physical rate is about 40%-50% of the linked rate, however, it is also limited by the bandwidth provided by your internet service provider. The following two pictures are the link rate and download rate on a test laptop (Bandwidth from ISP here is 100M, so the download rate is limited as about 92M):

 

 

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2. What does “Fast Ethernet Ports/Gigabit Ethernet Port” mean?

 

Fast Ethernet Port means the maximum speed is 100Mbps; Gigabit Ethernet Port means the maximum speed is 1000Mbps. If a product shows 2 Fast Ethernet Ports, it means the router has 2 100Mbps Ethernet Port, the maximum speed you can get from this router is about 90Mbps. If you have more than 100Mbps bandwidth from the Internet Service Provider, this router is not suitable for your environment, you need to buy a Gigabit Router.

 

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