Which Wi-Fi band is better to use: 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz?

Many models of modern routers can operate at both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. We figured out which standard is better to choose.

Which is better: 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz?

There are some differences between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz routers:

  • Range: Even though 5GHz promises a stable signal, the range is shorter than 2.4GHz. Therefore, Wi-Fi in the 5 GHz band is worth using in rooms where it will definitely reach every room. Repeaters can be used as additional support.
  • Support: In order for the router and receiver to work with a 5 GHz signal, they must support the 802.11 n or 802.11 ac standard. If your device does not support this standard, you can assume that the 5 GHz network will not work.
  • Interference: 5 GHz networks are less susceptible to interference. For example, in apartment buildings, you can find many wireless networks that operate in the 2.4 GHz band. But the 5 GHz frequency is usually used much less often.
  • Why 5 GHz: If Wi-Fi is unstable, too slow, or there are many neighboring networks nearby, you are better off using 5 GHz.

How to switch to the 5 GHz band

As a rule, the router itself decides how often the devices will connect to the router. If you want to independently choose between a larger range at the 2.4 GHz frequency and faster data transmission at the 5 GHz frequency, this is quite possible in modern routers. The following instructions apply to most current models:

  • Open the user interface of the router: this usually happens through a browser – just enter the IP address of the router on your network. If necessary, enable “enhanced view”.
  • In the web interface router menu, go to the Wireless Network category and find the items for 2.4 and 5 GHz Wi-Fi.
  • Assign a new name for 5 GHz Wi-Fi. For example, you can add “5 GHz” to the old name.

After you click the Apply or OK button, both networks will be available separately. For example, if you are using a laptop and are close to a router, you can switch to a 5 GHz network. And if you are using a wireless device at a very long distance from the signal source, 2.4 GHz is better.

Advantages and Disadvantages of 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz

Although the 2.4 GHz standard is much older, it has some advantages over the new 5 GHz band.

First of all, the 2.4GHz router does a little better with signal propagation through walls. In theory, the range of a 2.4 GHz network is also higher, but in practice it usually looks different due to the many interference. If you use a lot of older devices, 2.4GHz support is also necessary, as not all gadgets support 5GHz.

Due to the small number of channels (only 13), in theory there are only 3 channels in a 2.4 GHz network without overlap. This is a huge disadvantage compared to the 5 GHz network, which provides up to 19 channels without overlapping and thus more resilient operation. In addition, other devices (such as Bluetooth gadgets) operate at 2.4 GHz and thus interfere with the network.

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