Full Speed 802.11n Needs WPA2 + AES

This is  a quick tip for those of you looking to invest (or already have invest) in the latest 802.11n wireless routers and access points that are making their way into the digital mainstream.

The final specification (802.11n-2009) allows for a theoretical maximum of up to 600Mbps on a 40MHz channel which is a whopping improvement over the theoretical 54Mbps allowed by the 802.11g standard. Unfortunately, there aren’t any 802.11n devices yet that support those breakneck speeds as they don’t have enough antennae to physically make that possible. Currently, devices top out at 300Mbps which is still admirable.

That aside, those speeds will be snatched away from you if you don’t use anything other than WPA2 security with AES encryption. The 802.11n standard specifies that you can only achieve the higher speeds when WPA2 + AES is in operation otherwise all devices will be throttled back to 802.11g speeds of 54Mbps.

Needless to say, Wi-Fi networks using the older WEP protocols for security have been well and truly broken and there is no reason why anyone with modern equipment should be using it. There are tools available on the Internet that can crack WEP passwords in under sixty seconds so it would be foolish to say the least to continue using it. Even if you aren’t using 802.11n equipment, make sure you are using WPA2 + AES (or WPA/WPA2 + TKIP/AES hybrid mode if you must).

If there is any incentive to decommission older equipment, security and faster speeds should be sufficient justification in any case.

4 pings

  1. […] – Techworld.com The 802.11n wireless LAN does not achieve full line rate performance – ThinkPad Full Speed 802.11n Needs WPA2 + AES | Boydo’s Tech Talk There’s quite a few others, but if you’re using TKIP on a N network, you’re not doing yourself any […]

  2. […] such as WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) and WPA2. In particular, 802.11n devices will require that you use WPA2 in order to obtain faster speeds otherwise you get knocked back down to 54Mbps tops. However, WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) is […]

  3. […] encryption protocols being used (if you don’t use WPA2 + AES then speeds are throttled back to 54Mbps), […]

  4. […] […]

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