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What is Advanced-N?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2016
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Advanced-N is a term used by some companies, especially Intel®, to refer to wireless networking devices that utilize the 802.11n protocols as agreed on by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). These protocols greatly improved transfer speeds and connectivity reliability over previous generations of wireless protocols, such as the 802.11g wireless protocols. The addition of the term “Advanced” simply indicates different levels of wireless devices produced by Intel®, much like the use of the term “Ultimate-N.” Advanced-N uses multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) antennas and can operate on two different bands, allowing for faster transfer speeds and greater connectivity.

The “N” in Advanced-N refers to the wireless protocols utilized by devices labeled with this descriptor. IEEE 802.11 protocols have been established — and are likely to continue to be used for some time — to ensure usability between manufacturers and hardware developers. Different generations of wireless hardware are typically identified by the protocols they are developed to satisfy, with earlier generations labeled as 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g. The development of the 802.11n protocols greatly improved on previous generations, and those wireless devices advertised as “Advanced-N” typically use these protocols.

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Intel® is one of the primary users of the “Advanced-N” nomenclature, and uses it to differentiate the different types of hardware that utilize the 802.11n protocols with other features that also boost transfer speeds. The term “Ultimate-N” is also used by Intel®, and different products advertised as utilizing different types of 802.11n protocols often indicate differences in speeds and connectivity. In general, however, 802.11n protocols established the use of MIMO antennas that had a tremendous boost on speed due to increased potential for signal input and output. The utilization of both 5 gigahertz (GHz) and 2.4 GHz bands also provides greater connectivity to other wireless N devices.

Some Advanced-N devices are also designed with WiMax compatibility, which is a secondary type of wireless signal used in certain devices. WiMax utilizes microwave signals to send data wirelessly, and devices that are designed with both 802.11n and WiMax connectivity are able to connect to a greater number of wireless networks and devices. Actual transfer speeds for different Advanced-N devices can vary, depending on the hardware specifications of each device, so attention to the details should be paid by anyone interested in such devices. In general, however, 802.11n transfer speeds are greater than previous generations, and wireless N devices are backward compatible with older wireless generations.

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