802.11n is a Wi-Fi standard that was introduced by the IEEE in 2007 and officially published in 2009. It supports a longer range and higher wireless transfer rates than the previous standard, 802.11g.
802.11n devices support MIMO (multiple in, multiple out) data transfers, which can transmit multiple streams of data at once. This technology effectively doubles the range of a wireless device. Therefore, a wireless router that uses 802.11n may have twice the radius of coverage as an 802.11g router. This means a single 802.11n router may cover an entire household, whereas an 802.11g router might require additional routers to bridge the signal.
The previous 802.11g standard supported transfer rates of up to 54 Mbps. Devices that use 802.11n can transfer data over 100 Mbps. With an optimized configuration, the 802.11n standard can theoretically support transfer rates of up to 500 Mbps. That is five times faster than a standard 100Base-T wired Ethernet network.
So if your residence is not wired with an Ethernet network, it's not a big deal. Wireless technology can finally keep pace with the wired network. Of course, with the faster speeds and larger range that 802.11n provides, it is more important than ever to password protect your wireless network.
Updated: September 16, 2008