Why remove 802.11b / g support?
All the WiFi routers and the WiFi access points, including professional access points, have a «Beacon Interval“Which is basically a” beacon “for WiFi clients to be able to see the WiFi wireless network. This beacon is transmitted every 100ms by default, although it can be configured so that this time is longer or shorter, always within specific parameters. In this way, when we open the network manager on a computer, smartphone, tablet or Smart TV, we can see our WiFi network with the configured name or SSID, to later connect to it and not have any problem.
The 802.11 protocol defined by the IEEE states that these beacons, which are sent continuously every 0.1 second, are transmitted at the slowest speed of the supported standards. This means that if our WiFi router or AP supports WiFi 6 but we have 802.11b / g compatibility activated, the speed will be that of the oldest standard, in this case the 802.11b protocol.
In wireless WiFi networks, before being able to send information over the air, it is absolutely necessary for WiFi clients to verify if the spectrum is free in order to transmit. If it is not free, they must wait a random time and try again, following the control protocol of access to CSMA / CA networks (Multiple Access for Carrier Detection and Collision Prevention). With the CSMA / CA there can be several problems, since it is possible that a client located between two WiFi access points, see the beacons of both, but the APs could not see each other, which would cause there to be an interference in between shared access (air). The following video perfectly explains the operation of wireless WiFi networks:
The more WiFi routers or WiFi access points we have on a certain channel, the less bandwidth we have and the interference increases considerably. In this case, the 2.4GHz band is much more affected by interference with other networks due to:
- There are many fewer WiFi channels to choose from, in addition, if we use 20MHz of channel width we can only have a total of 3 APs without interfering with each other. If we use the 40MHz channel width we could only have one.
- The range of this band is much greater, so the interference as well. If we look at the WiFi networks around us, we can see that we can see 2.4GHz WiFi networks of neighbors that are very far from us.
- Wireless devices such as Bluetooth, also microwaves and even cordless phones that use the 2.4GHz band to communicate with the base.
In the case of the 5GHz band and the new 6GHz band to come, we will not have as many problems with interference. In addition, the 802.11b / g protocols only affect the 2.4GHz band, because they do not exist in the 5GHz band or the new 6GHz that will use the WiFi 6E standard. In this case, the 5GHz and 6GHz bands are much less affected by interference with other networks due to:
- There are many more channels to choose from, especially with the new 6GHz band incorporating the latest standard.
- The range of this band is much smaller, so that interference with our neighbors will be minimal. It can be seen that we will quickly lose coverage in this band as soon as we go from one floor to another.
- There are no other devices interfering, except for certain bands where there may be radars.
Once we know the reasons to disable 802.11b / g protocols in our router, we are going to see how to do it with different routers.
Disable 802.11b / g on different routers
The first thing we should do to optimize the wireless network to the maximum is to activate the compatibility with WiFi 4 (802.11n) on our router and deactivate the old protocols. We must bear in mind that nowadays it is very rare to find WiFi wireless clients that are only compatible with WiFi b / g, so if we remove the compatibility from the router, it will be much better.
On ASUS routers, in the «Advanced Settings / Wireless»We have the specific menus, both for the 2.4GHz band and for the 5GHz band. In this menu we can choose to leave it in “Automatic” or force that we do not want to allow protocols as old as 802.11b / g, which are “Legacy”.
In other routers such as AVM’s, we also have this configuration option in the «WiFi / WiFi Channel«, Where we can force the use of the latest wireless standards, and disable support for the old ones.
As you have seen, we have the ability to easily and quickly disable old protocols such as 802.11b / g, as long as you do not have WiFi clients that only support these protocols. If you have old WiFi clients, then you should leave a conservative configuration, although this will harm the WiFi speed of the rest of the new devices that you are going to connect to the WiFi wireless network.
Now that you know how to force the router not to use the old protocols, we are going to give you other recommendations to optimize the performance of your router, however, these options may not appear in the firmware because they are too advanced.
Other tweaks to improve overall performance
In some routers such as ASUS, we have a “Professional” section where we can enable or disable different configuration options, and also adjust certain advanced parameters of the wireless network. If your router has this advanced configuration menu, the available options will be similar to the following:
Once we have located the advanced menu, we can make different adjustments to improve the WiFi speed a bit and also its efficiency:
- Set the preamble type (Guard Interval) to “Short” or “Short”. This option will allow us to wait less time to check if there is someone transferring on the network.
- Increase the signaling interval or «Beacon Interval«. By default it is 100ms, we can increase it until we verify that we do not have detection problems by WiFi clients. We could test it at 100ms intervals by 100ms, to ensure compatibility.
The rest of the parameters can be left by default, although it will always be worth activating technologies such as Beamforming, MU-MIMO or OFDMA if the router gives us the option to activate them or not.