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The Boston Globe


Tech Lab

New Wi-Fi delivers more data faster, but at a cost

Remember when Wi-Fi wireless Internet seemed like magic? Not so much these days, partly because our wireless networks are often too slow to handle the volume of videos and music we download. Gear makers are responding with a generation of routers that deliver a massive speed boost to the computers, phones, game consoles, and other devices that connect wirelessly to the Internet. The only question is whether the extra speediness is worth the additional cost. As is often the case, the answer is: It depends.

If you think Wi-Fi is a goofy name, the technology’s real name is worse — IEEE 802.11. Behind these numbers you find more letters that identify the version of Wi-Fi that you use. Most of us now rely on 802.11 B, G, or N routers. The new standard is called AC, like the famous brand of spark plugs. Good choice of name, because an AC router will give your home network quite a jolt.

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