My ISP now supports up to 300Mbps down. I would like to buy and configure a wifi router that can offer this speed via WiFi, but can also support max speeds on legacy N clients with no impact to the max AC speeds.

I have a laptop that supports 'AC' on 5GHz, but my iPhone supports 'N' on 5GHz. If I set up a 5GHz 'AC' access point on a wireless router, will my 'N' iPhone be able to connect to this 'AC' network? If so, because my iPhone is 'N', would this degrade overall performance? Will the 5GHz 'AC' access point then only offer max speeds up to the 'N' limit?

I want to ensure my 'N' 5GHz iPhone can get 150Mbps (max 'N' speed) and my 'AC' laptop can get 300Mbps. How can this be achieved? Is this native in the 802.11ac spec to support N at max speeds with 0 impact on AC max speeds? Does this vary by wifi router manufacturer or router firmware? Is this even possible with a single wireless router?


You can think of it this way. 100% of the time is available. If a 300Mbps link is transferring 150Mbps, it's in use half the time, leaving half the time available for other connections.

But I should warn you that advertised speeds are maximum links speeds. Real world link speeds are much lower. In addition, the bandwidth has to be divided between inbound and outbound traffic and it takes time to turn the link around when the direction changes.

What this also means is that one device that has a lousy link and is transferring even just a moderate amount of data can saturate the link. So if you have a device that has a poor connection and can only transfer at 30Mbps, it will consume 100% of the available link bandwidth even when only transferring 30Mbps.

One possibility is to set up more than one access point, connected with gigabit Ethernet, on different channels.


802.11ac typically carries 1300 Mbps on each 5 GHz radio so you should not hit a threshold at only 300Mpbs, that assuming you meant 300mbps, not 300 MBps

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.