IEEE 802.11 Wi-Fi protocol summary
Protocol Frequency Channel Width MIMO Maximum data rate
(theoretical)
802.11ac wave2 5 GHz 80, 80+80, 160 MHz Multi User (MU-MIMO) 1.73 Gbps1
802.11ac wave1 5 GHz 80 MHz Single User (SU-MIMO) 866.7 Mbps1
802.11n 2.4 or 5 GHz 20, 40MHz Single User (SU-MIMO) 450 Mbps2
802.11g 2.4 GHz 20 MHz N/A 54 Mbps
802.11a 5 GHz 20 MHz N/A 54 Mbps
802.11b 2.4 GHz 20 MHz N/A 11 Mbps
Legacy 802.11 2.4 GHz 20 MHz N/A 2 Mbps
1 2 Spatial streams with 256-QAM modulation.
2 3 Spatial streams with 64-QAM modulation.

802.11ac wave2

  • Released in June 2016
  • Key New Features for Wi-Fi clients:
    • Multi-User MIMO
    • 160 MHz channels
Mode Maximum rate Antenna transmit /
Receive arrangements
1x1 40 MHz 200 Mbps 1 TX (Transmit, Upload)
1 RX (Receive, Download)
2x2 40 MHz 400 Mbps 2 TX
2 RX
1x1 80 MHz 433 Mbps 1 TX
1 RX
2x2 80 MHz 866 Mbps 2 TX
2 RX
1x1 160 MHz 866 Mbps 1 TX
1 RX
2x2 160 MHz 1.73 Gbps 2 TX
2 RX

802.11ac wave1

  • Released in January 2014
  • Data rates varying modulation types and number of spatial streams; 200 Mbps, 400 Mbps, 433 Mbps, 600 Mbps, 867 Mbps. See table below
  • 24 non-overlapping unlicensed national information infrastructure (UNII) channels in 5 GHz frequency band
Mode Maximum rate Antenna transmit /
Receive arrangements
1x1 40 MHz 200 Mbps 1 TX
1 RX
2x2 40 MHz 400 Mbps 2 TX
2 RX
1x1 80 MHz 433 Mbps 1 TX
1 RX
2x2 80 MHz 866 Mbps 2 TX
2 RX

802.11n

  • Data rates with varying modulation types: 1, 2, 5.5, 6, 9, 11, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48, 54 Mbps (see table below)
  • Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) using multiple-input/multiple-output (MIMO) and channel bonding (CB)
  • Three non-overlapping channels in industrial, scientific, medical (ISM) frequency band at 2.4 GHz
  • 12 non-overlapping unlicensed national information infrastructure (UNII) channels in 5 GHz frequency band with and without CB
Note We recommend channel bonding for the 5 GHz because there are a limited number of non-overlapping channels available in the 2.4 GHz band.
Mode Maximum rate Antenna transmit /
Receive arrangements
1x1 20 MHz 72.2 Mbps 1 TX
1 RX
1x1 40 Mhz 150 Mbps 1 TX
1 RX
2x2 20 MHz 144.4 Mbps 2 TX
2 RX
2x2 40 MHz 300 Mbps 2 TX
2 RX
3x3 20 MHz 216.7 Mbps 3 TX
3 RX
3x3 40 MHz 450 Mbps 3 TX
3 RX
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