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Is the outdoor distance covered by the G standard the same as B?

As a Network Engineer and a SearchNetworking reader, I've followed all discussions about WLAN 802.11. Currently, I implemented a regional WLAN 802.11b in south of Brazil, connecting several places (Toll Plazas) through 13 point-to-point links, with distance up to 37 Km (23.12 miles), carrying data and VoIP traffic. My question is: As 802.11 B/G use the same frequency (2.4GHz) - is the outdoor distance covered by the G standard the same as B?
Using the same frequency does suggest comparable distance. However, the encoding used by 802.11g (OFDM) at higher speeds is more resilient than the encoding used by 802.11b (CCK at 5-11 Mbps, Barker code at 1-2 Mbps). Thus, 802.11g performance should be better at similar distances, particularly in freespace (outdoors). I am hedging because early products are still working out bugs, particularly regarding coexistence with 802.11b (yours or someone else's in the same footprint). Furthermore, two "pre-802.11g" products may be quite different - perhaps more different than 802.11b and g products from one vendor. Here are a few examples of testing that's been done to date:

  • 802.11g Starts Answering WLAN Range Questions (CommsDesign)
  • Building a Media Network (ExtremeTech)
  • Range and Throughput Comparison of WLAN Products (Atheros)

    Review these to get a sense of what people are seeing, but don't draw any multi-vendor conclusions until the 802.11g standard is ratified and broad testing can be conducted with certified products.

  • This was last published in March 2003

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