With a 300 Mbps connection, any difference between AC and AX?

Lee MacMillan

Regular Contributor
I currently have on one wifi6 device, my iPhone 11 (which I only recently realized was wifi6 capable.) My ancient Thinkpad only has wifi4 (N) but I added an wifi5 dongle recently and it sped up my wireless connection quite a bit. I'm in the market for a new laptop and the ones I'm interested in support wifi6, hence my question. The laptop (not my primary computer) sits in the basement about 10-12' below the level of my router. From what I've read, I'm not likely to see any speed difference between AC and AX with this connection speed. Just looking for confirmation from the local experts here.
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
On a foundational basis AC vs AX are quite a bit different. AX will work better and if you're spending the money on new HW you might as well take the latest release for a marginal price difference.

Both laptops / desktops can be upgraded to WFI 6 for ~$35/ea to take advantage of the benefits. You would also need a router or AP that is 802.11ax.

If your ISP though is 3mbps the benefits might not be worthwhile.
 

Lee MacMillan

Regular Contributor
On a foundational basis AC vs AX are quite a bit different. AX will work better and if you're spending the money on new HW you might as well take the latest release for a marginal price difference.

Both laptops / desktops can be upgraded to WFI 6 for ~$35/ea to take advantage of the benefits. You would also need a router or AP that is 802.11ax.

If your ISP though is 3mbps the benefits might not be worthwhile.
I have an AX86. My desktop is wired.
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member

With a 3Mbps connection​


If your WAN speed is 3mbps as noted in the title then speeding up the devices won't make much difference.

If you need the LAN internal speed for moving files around then AX will make a difference while other devices are moving data.
 

leerees

Senior Member
Your iPhone will benefit from Target Wake Time. This is a power saving technique for AX devices.

Like for like, AX is faster and also makes more efficient use of the available bandwidth.
 
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L&LD

Part of the Furniture
With an RT-AX86U already in use, any new hardware you're considering buying should be AX class at a minimum (AXE won't hurt either). First, because more than likely, everything will be soldered on most new laptops. Second, unless you're getting a huge discount buying old generational products, you're investing in a false economy (in the long run).

Your ISP speed will increase (sooner or later). Be sure the rest of your network clients will be as capable as possible too.

The Intel AX210 equipped (and 2.5GbE LAN Port) laptops I've recommended to customers have proven very fast, and reliable. The cost (increase) was negligible if any, but a couple of customers had to wait an extra week or so for the particular model to be in stock though.

The ISP speeds, the internal LAN speeds, client device speeds, and the WiFi speeds are (mostly) independent of each other when used within their own parameters. Be sure to buy the most current hardware possible today in each area. This will prove the most 'future proof' in the end.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
I haven't really been looking at the LAN ports on laptops for the past couple of gens. The bump from 1 to 2.5 though can be one point of price increases that are substantially higher then using an adapter for $25 for 2.5GE.

Most will be using WIFI the majority of the time and Ethernet for speedier backups or file copies.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Laptops or desktops, the higher speed ports do not cost significantly more than 1GbE ports do. Much less than your $25 adaptor, for example. Deals are out there (depending on the moment in time you're looking for them).
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
If they're not soldered.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
And can be upgrade by you in 10 minutes or less for $35

Not guaranteed. Newer thin and light laptops are hard to open and some manufacturers whitelist specific hardware only. I have purchased recently 2x HP laptops and they are made like a cellphone - no openings and case with clips. The battery is a plastic pouch, there is no LAN port and Wi-Fi is 2-stream AC. They are both quick enough for a mobile device though, pulling files from my NAS with >50MB/sec. Nothing to worry about AC, unless someone has special speed requirements. As I see @Lee MacMillan doesn't. There is no need to pay more for something not needed 99% of the time.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
Of course there's homework to be done on the accessibility of a particular model whether you can break into it or not.

This information is usually not available for brand new products and opening the case voids the warranty. I wouldn't bother.
 

Lee MacMillan

Regular Contributor
Thanks for all the information. Even though there's probably no performance benefit today, AX is only a $30 premium on the HP models I'm looking at. That's a no-brainer for me.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
Your iPhone will benefit from Target Wake Time. This is a power saving technique for AX devices.
Unlikely. TWT is still not baked and is focused on IoT. TWT is the last thing I'd consider in buying AX.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
AX does provide higher link rates, so can provide higher speeds in 2.4 GHz. Link rates are the same for 5 GHz.

With 3 Mbps internet, you're not going to see any speed difference when using the internet. But local transfers between your wired desktop and laptop might be faster.

AX in a laptop isn't going to hurt. And since you have an AX router and phone, you might as well have an AX laptop.
 

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