If you’ve been shopping for router any time in the last five years, you probably know that they ship dual band routers that allow you to connect on either frequency. But what is really the difference? are there advantages and disadvantages to either one? Of course the answer is yes. But what are those differences? Because there is not necessarily always a reason to use 5 gigahertz. Sometimes it’s actually better to use 2.4Ghz. That’s why I talk about in this video.
In this article we will talk about 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz on Wi-Fi routers.
First of all yes 5 Ghz wifi is faster in general but not exactly for the reason you might think most people assume that a level 5 gigahertz is a higher frequency that means it can transmit data faster. That’s not exactly the case. You see 5 gigahertz or 2.4 are the carrier wave frequencies, that’s the general frequency of the wave it’s putting out what the information is encoded or modulated in that frequency about the same way between the two.
|Frequency or Wave carrier diagramme
So just because it has a higher frequency doesn’t mean that it is carrying more information per second necessarily by the frequency itself.
The real reason 5 Ghz wifi is faster is because the way it uses different channels and how they’re arranged, you see with channels within Wi-Fi. They’re basically small ranges of frequencies that are used to transmit data. So obviously the router isn’t using exactly 5 gigahertz for everything there is different frequency ranges that are possibly to be used.
In five gigahertz they made it so there’s no overlap between any of the channels, which is not the case for 2.4Ghz, and also there’s much less crowding of frequencies and transmissions in each of the channels because five gigahertz is used the less than 2.4Ghz, so overall it just opens up more bandwidth that is able to be used on each individual channel of the Wi-Fi. And that along with improved protocols for transmitting data such as being able to use multiple streams on different channels just makes five gigahertz faster in general.
Another advantage of 5 gigahertz that I briefly touched on before is wireless interference. The two point four gigahertz range is very crowded and used by many other household devices not just Wi-Fi which takes up a lot of the air space. You’ve got things like cordless phones, bluetooth, even car alarm sensors and microwave ovens all of these are in the same 2.4 gigahertz range as Wi-Fi and not just crowded the space and makes it tougher for the signal to get through; All this interference could potentially mean you get packet loss poor signal that sort of thing with five gigahertz very few other devices use it at all in your house, so it’s certainly less than two point four. So that means that you’re going to have a much stronger signal and more availability of each channel and it’s just going to be better in general.
So now you might be thinking : oh !!! five gigahertz sounds better in every way no reason not to use it ever! Not exactly a case obviously. The main disadvantage of five gigahertz is it has a significantly shorter range than 2.4ghz you see in general lower frequency radio waves are better able to pass through walls than higher frequency waves, so if you’re in a couple of rooms away further away from the router you’re probably going to have a stronger signal with the 2.4 gigahertz probably much more so than 5 gigahertz.
So that’s why you could hear that 5ghz wifi not showing up everywhere in the forums and social websites
So if you have a device that’s really close to the router then yeah it’s probably better to just use 5 gigahertz, but if you’re pretty far away 2.4 gigahertz might have a much better signal. However you have to consider that the speed increase of 5 gigahertz might offset that weaker signal.
In most cases though you’ll probably just want to do a test between the two to figure it out. Every environment is going to be different, For example if you have a tonne of 2.4 gigahertz interference then maybe even the five gigahertz will go further than 2.5 or you don’t really know.
You’ll also probably want to consider the type of device you’re using, if you’re using something that doesn’t really require a lot of speed at all. but will more rely on the signal strength, then yeah you probably want to use 2.4 gigahertz just so you can consistently get a better signal.
Now another important thing to note between 2.4 and 5 gigahertz is the type of protocol you’re using, if you’re using AC that only uses five gigahertz, it doesn’t support 2.4 gigahertz. Of course it’s backwards compatible, but if you’re connecting for example a 2.4 gigahertz connection to a AC router, then it’s only going to be using N not AC! if you want to take advantage of the AC protocol. It has to be five gigahertz wireless, and on the other hand does support two point four and five gigahertz. So you just want to be aware that if you have an AC router and you’re only using it for two point four gigahertz you’re not really getting your money’s worth.
So I guess that’s about it all you need to know about it! if you have any more questions you can let me know in the comments section or google wifi 5ghz
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