Playing audio with CD quality is playing 16-bit PCM audio at 44.1 kHz.

This is 705600 bit/s or 0.67 Mbit/s.

We have stereo hence 1.34 Mbit/s.


A Wi-Fi network (802.11 G) has a gross throughput of 53 Mbit/s (network speed is expressed in bits per second, not bytes).

If we assume an overhead of 2, playing Redbook audio still fits in.

Even hires audio e.g. 24/192 kHz requiring 8.8 Mbit/s, fits in.

If reception is poor or you neighbors are using the same channels, you might run into troubles (dropouts).

Wi-Fi channels and their overlap, 1,6,11 is the non-overlapping combination


In these cases a wired connection is the answer.

Ethernet has less overhead and is faster (100/1000 Mbit/s).

You don't share it with your neighbors either.

If it is not feasible to run a wire, a home plug (Ethernet over the power lines) is an option.

Upgrading to 802.11 N or AC might help too as they have a higher throughput.


What we call Wi-Fi is a IEEE standard.

If you buy a device you often see a spec like 802.11b/g/n

802.11 is the name of the standard and the characters indicate a version.

Over the years speed improved substantial.

Technologies like Dual band (2.4 and 5 GHz), MIMO ( multiple-input multiple-output antennas) and modulation schemes like OFDM allow at the present for 1300 Mbps.


802.11 year Mbps Band (GHz)
- 1997 2 2.4
b 1999 11 2.4
g 2002 54 2.4
n 2009 54 - 600 2.4/5
ac 2013 1300 2.4/5



IEEE 802.11 - Wikipedia