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I am configuring a new hp computer and I was wondering if I should get 802.11ac network card that is 1x1 or if I should get a 802.11n network card that is 2x2. I am on an ac network. So the ac card should have a maximum theoretical performance of 433mbps, which is far above what I get now. The 1x1 stands for input and output streams, so the ac card will only have 1 input stream and 1 output stream, but the streams are 80mhz wide on the ac and the n has 2 40mhz wide streams. So, a few questions:

  1. Is all of the information above accurate or have I been misinformed?
  2. Will there be a network stability issue with only 1 input and 1 output stream?
  3. With the ac card, on a n network(if I go somewhere), will I only get a maximum theoretical performance of 150mbps?
  4. If I'm not mistaken, ac card will be faster on an ac network(433mbps on ac, 150mbps on n), but the n will be faster on a n network(300mbps on ac, 300 mbps on n). Is this true?
  5. I'm assuming that on an n network, only half of the 80mhz stream will be used?

So the main question I want to ask is which is better for ac network, which is better for n network, which is better for older types of internet(a/b/g), and which will be the most reliable?

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the 802.11AC network will be faster then any 802.11N network you could build. of course this all depends on factors. If you have lots of legacy devices your better off with a 2x2 802.11ac network so it an support 2x2 802.11n – Ramhound Feb 11 '14 at 14:28
I would get that, but it is not an option in the configuration and I don't want to void the warranty by switching it out right away. – user2615467 Feb 11 '14 at 14:39
Look at your network make the decision based on device will exist on the network. if you have a single ac device it makes no sense to go to a 802.11ac network. – Ramhound Feb 11 '14 at 14:40
I think you are mistaken. I'm talking about an adapter, not a router. – user2615467 Feb 11 '14 at 15:20

First, let me just say, what a terrible choice to have to make. Why couldn't they just offer modern 3x3 AC?

Is the 2x2 N card dual-band? Because if it's not, if it's 2.4GHz-only, then that automatically disqualifies it and you should go with the 1x1 AC (assuming it's dual-band, which it almost certainly is).

Are you going to get an 802.11ac AP for home? If not, then don't bother with an AC card, since AC networks aren't that common yet.

Your information is correct, but the biggest question is which is going to give you better throughput and reliability on the networks you're likely to be on, in the RF conditions you're likely to see, at the distances you're likely to be from the AP.

802.11ac adds some impressive new modulation schemes (plus wider channels) that get 433Mbps per spatial stream, but only if your client is just 2-3m from the AP. If you're farther away, the data rates drop off quickly. Also, the 80MHz-wide channels required for those top rates are more likely to overlap with other networks or interference sources; it can be harder to find a clean 80MHz channel than it is to find a clean 40MHz channel.

In the 2x2 N card's favor, MIMO (having more than one radio chain and more than one spatial stream) doesn't just help with data rates, it also helps get better rates at range.

Overall, I have a hunch you'll get better rates and rage with the 2x2 N solution on a variety of real-world networks under real-world RF conditions and distances. But I don't have any data to show you to back up that hunch.

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Thanks for the information. I have an ac AP. Most of the time I wire it up or have the computer within a few feet of the AP. Most of the time when I am not wired up, I am about 15 feet away from the AP. When I travel on business and I have no idea what type of wifi they, which will be better then? – user2615467 Feb 11 '14 at 20:58
Oh. And the n card is dual band. – user2615467 Feb 11 '14 at 20:58

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