SOHO is an acronym for Small
Office Home Office, a term used to distinguish small businesses from mid-sized
and large businesses. Technically, SOHO businesses have zero to ten
employees, although many of them are one-person shops. (Ward, 2016)
SOHO users looking to implement a wireless networking device
face a variety of choices with many devices at different price points available
from the 802.11a, 802.11b/g/n, and 802.11ac wireless standards in
The 802.11 standard was established in
1997; it used the 2.4 GHz band and had a maximum data rate of 2 Mbps. The 802.11
standard was too slow for practical purposes and is no longer used, newer
standards were developed and we will focus on these standards that have everyday
use in today’s SOHO environment.
Established in 1999, the 802.11b
standard uses a 2.4 GHz frequency and is able to reach a maximum speed of 11
Mbps, which was very comparable to traditional Ethernet speeds at that time. In a SOHO environment an 802.11b access point can
communicate with devices up to 300 feet away. Speeds will decrease the further
you are from the device. By utilizing an unregulated frequency, 802.11b devices can expect
interference from microwave ovens or cordless phones. (http://etutorials.org)
The Pros of 802.11b are
the low cost and a good signal range that is not easily obstructed, the Cons of 802.11b are the Slower speeds
and the interference from home appliances on the unregulated frequency band.
Also established in 1999, the
802.11a standard is a high-speed and higher cost alternative to 802.11b,
transmitting at 5 GHz and speeds of up to 54 Mbps. The move to the 5-GHz band
provides two important benefits over 802.11b. First, it increases the maximum
speed per channel from 11 Mbps to 54 Mbps. This increased speed is especially
useful for multimedia files, transferring data, and faster Internet access.
Second, the bandwidth available in the 5-GHz range is larger than available at
2.4 GHz, allowing for more simultaneous users. However, the 802.11a’s higher
frequency as compared to 802.11b shortens the range of 802.11a networks. The
higher frequency also means 802.11a signals have more difficulty penetrating
walls and other obstructions. (http://etutorials.org)
Because 802.11a and 802.11b utilize different frequencies,
the two technologies are incompatible with each other.
Established in 2003, the 802.11g
standard brings high-speed wireless to the 2.4-GHz band, while maintaining
backward compatibility with 802.11b. 802.11g supports bandwidth up to 54 Mbps, while
using the 2.4 GHz frequency for greater range. An 802.11g network card will work with an 802.11b access point, and
802.11b cards will work with an 802.11g access point. In both of these cases,
the 802.11b component is the limiting factor, so the maximum speed is 11 Mbps.
To obtain the 54-Mbps speeds, both the network cards and access point have to
be 802.11g compliant.
Pros of 802.11g standard are the Fast maximum speed and
increased signal range, the cons of 802.11g are increased cost and interfere
on the unregulated signal frequency.