Optimize Ack Suppression or the No Ack (Acknowledgement) setting is readily available for most of the advanced settings with the routers nowadays. However, there is really no good explanations or recommendations on when you should this setting. This simple to easy guide will try to give some simple explanations on how Ack Suppression or No Ack works, and when and why you should or should not use it.
Please note that this is a layman’s guide to refrains from using straight technical terms. Our goal is to make the No Ack setting as simple to understand as possible. If you want to know the exact technical definition and background, you may wish to check other resources.
Ack Suppression or No Acknowledgement Meaning Basics
Easily put, Acknowledgement is a verification signal data that your wireless client transmit to the router or access point to let them know that the data is correct.
The Acknowledgement process is an TCP error checking mechanism that takes bandwidth and airtime since it is a three step process. With normal wifi procedure, your wireless router sends data to your devices, the devices confirms receipt to the router, then your wireless router either proceed to send more data or resend the data if there were any problems.
By enabling No Ack or Ack Suppression setting, you are removing or minimizing the number of Ack or Acknowledgement described earlier. You can theoretically improve the amount of data transmission. Your router does not wait for the confirm receipt and will instead continue to send more data.
You can generally achieve 1~5% better data transmission with the setting under optimal conditions.
No Ack or Ack Suppression On or Off
No Ack Enable Basic Requirements
First off, you should only ever enable the No Ack function when your wifi network is functioning at maximum signal strength with little to no interference.
The reason is that with background interference or noise, many of the data that are sent through your router can be corrupted or contain errors. The effect can be really bad if you are downloading or uploading data, streaming videos, or access sites that require additional authentication such as SSL. The data transmission can be faulty, video stream interrupted, and SSL websites fail to load.
In addition, many mobile devices tend to lose signal and disconnect from the access point when you have enabled the No Ack function due to the lack of “hand-shake”. So to enable and take advantage of No Ack, you generally do not want to connect it with mobile devices.
Best No Ack / Ack Suppression General Recommendation
Because of the limitation of No Ack, we generally recommend you to disable this option altogether. The disadvantage or the potential of errors far outweigh the benefit of some marginal speed / performance increases.
Even for gaming purposes, you may still want to disable this option especially for games that make every “click” count. You do not want the gun triggers or spell casts to fail at critical moments.
When to Use No Ack / Ack Suppression
The option does have its purposes at the right setting. You may consider turning it on if your wireless router is serving multiple devices that do not handle sensitive data. No Ack setting can reduce the amount of airtime that each devices need, since there is no more air waiting time dedicated to data acknowledgement.
For example if you are hosting public wifi with your coffee shop, you may want to turn on the No Ack function to increase the overall wifi performance for all the customers at the cost of individual data transmission accuracy.
The second scenario where it may make sense is if you are accessing emails and just doing basic browsing on your laptop. The No Ack enable setting can potentially lower the amount of latency at a marginal amount. However, once you start doing more advanced tasks like downloading large file or video streaming, the No Ack Enable ON setting can hinder your internet experience.