What Do You Know About WLAN Data Rates?

I’m doing a talk in a few weeks about Wi-Fi data rates and how they affect WLAN performance.  Since I am still in the research stage, I’d like to ask my blog readers to answer a few questions below about data rates?   To respond, use “Leave a Reply” below or you can DM me on Twitter (@grcate) and we can exchange email addresses.

Data rates can really improve (or degrade) a wireless network and understanding them is a key feature in Wi-Fi technology.  I appreciate your feedback and look forward to your answers to these data rate questions.  Thank you for your input!

Wi-Fi Data Rates:

  1. What you would say in a twenty second elevator speech to answer the question, “What is a data rate”?
  2. What do most WLAN engineers NOT understand about data rates?
  3. You are designing a network and have freedom to set data rates. What rates do you set and why?
  4. When do you think it is good to keep low data rates supported (viz 6 Mbps for 5 GHz or 11 Mbps for 2.4 GHz—or even 1 or 2 Mbps) ? Why?
  5. If you set your AP at higher data rates (e.g. 24 Mbps), have you ever seen or heard of a client that can ‘force’ the AP to transmit at a lower rate? (I don’t think that can happen, but I have heard that it can occur.)
  6. What terms do vendors use for basic rates and supported rates. Example: some vendors use basic and mandatory rates as synonymous.  Some vendors say supported and optional rates are the same term.  Also, what do you normally set as basic and supported rates?
  7. What other areas in a WLAN do data rates greatly affect? QoS?  High capacity?  Mesh APs? Specific verticals?  Airtime fairness?  Others?
  8. A good reason to use higher data rates is to help get the user on and off the medium faster, which helps keep utilization lower. What is(are) another good reason(s) for using higher data rates?
  9. From what you know about 802.1ax, how will data rates be affected by this new PHY?
  10. What questions have I missed that I SHOULD be asking about data rates?

** Bonus question:  If you had to choose only one URL that really has helped you understand data rates, which one would that be?  (Yes, only one URL allowed—thank you!)










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