On paper, this is how G and N fare out:

  • G has a maximum indoor range of 38m/125ft and outdoor of 140m/460ft.
  • N has a maximum indoor range of 70m/230ft and outdoor of 250m/820ft.

Does this mean that N will extend the range of how far a device can be away from the router to connect to it?

On paper, yes. In practical application, maybe – but probably not.

A general rule of thumb that’s unfortunately pretty darned accurate is that with minimal obstruction/interference, your wi-fi signal will only reach 50% of the stated maximum range. If there’s a lot of obstruction/interference, 25%.

Yes, this does mean G more often than not has a practical indoor range of 9.5m/31.25ft. to 19m/62.5ft. If you’re thinking, "There’s no way G can be that bad!", ask anyone who’s tried to get a G signal to travel up two floors of a three-story house; that can be the stuff of nightmares to get working.

N, given the 25-to-50 rule applied, has a practical indoor range of 17.5m/57.5ft to 35m/115ft.

In the absolute worst case scenario, N should give you a bare minimum indoor range gain of roughly 25 feet (8 meters), however this isn’t guaranteed for two reasons:

  1. The physical range gain by using N does not defeat any existing interference you already have.
  2. Thick walls that block out G will block out N just as easily.

The old tips and tricks you’ve read about a million times still hold true when it comes to wireless router signal. Less obstruction is better as is less electrical interference.

Using the three-story house example, were I in the situation where I couldn’t get a signal from 1st floor to 3rd, this is what I’d do:

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First, place a primary wi-fi router on the 1st floor next to a window with a proper shield (so the sun wouldn’t melt it or any wires attached).

Second, place a second wi-fi router acting as a WAP on the 3rd floor next to a window using the same side of the house as the 1st, also with proper shield. This gives both routers pseudo line-of-sight to establish connection and should allow any device on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd floor to connect wirelessly with a good strong signal.

If that didn’t work, I’d do the "poor man’s LAN" and run a network cable from router 1 to 2 from the outside of the house, window-to-window. That might not be pretty, and yes it’s true the network cable would be wrecked from the elements in a year or less, but it doesn’t require drilling any holes in the floor. ūüôā

And if you’re wondering what would protect a network cable outside other than burying it, the poor man’s LAN technique is to run it through a garden hose cut to proper length. Yes, that’s ugly as sin, but it shields the cable completely from the elements (except condensation, but you should be OK there given the network cable is shielded itself), and as long as both ends are secured properly, no ants or spiders will get inside it. Your neighbors might think you’re watering your third floor, but oh well. A geek’s gotta have his network, after all.