What is the difference between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi bands?


Wi-Fi signals sent on different frequencies. The wireless band most commonly used by routers is 2.4 gigahertz (GHz) and 5 GHz. Knowing the difference between the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi bands is critical as this could be your ticket to a consistent and stable internet connection in your home office.

Here is the difference between the two Wi-Fi bands.

Understand the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi bands

When comparing the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi frequency bands, there are two important things to look out for. First, coverage or range, and second, speed or bandwidth. First of all, bandwidth refers to the maximum amount of data that can be transmitted in a measured time.

Let’s break down the two, starting with the 2.4 GHz band.

2.4 GHz WiFi band

The 2.4 GHz band comprises a total of 14 channels. Each channel is 22 megahertz (MHz) wide. Of the 14 channels, however, not every country allows every channel. In terms of speed, the 2.4 GHz WiFi band under ideal conditions exceeds 450 megabits per second (Mbit / s) or 600 Mbit / s, depending on the router.

This band offers greater coverage than the 5 GHz band thanks to the lower frequencies used.

Related: How to Change Wi-Fi Channels on Your Router

5 GHz WiFi band

5 GHz WiFi has a total of 24 non-overlapping channels. If you choose to do this, you will surely have a wide range of channels to choose from, although each channel is only 20 MHz wide, although channel bundling can increase the channel size. In terms of bandwidth, 5 GHz offers up to 1.3 gigabits per second (Gbps).

5GHz has higher transmission speeds and less coverage as higher frequencies cannot penetrate solid objects such as walls.

While these theoretical speeds are already pretty impressive, the real world speeds you can get on the two bands will vary as other factors come into play. For example, your WiFi speed may be limited due to the different types of WiFi standards used. To be clear, Wi-Fi bands are a slightly different topic from Wi-Fi standards, but they have a close connection.

Away with ideals, what are the advantages and disadvantages of the two?

2.4 GHz vs. 5 GHz: advantages and disadvantages

Each of the two bands has its advantages and disadvantages.

Starting with the 2.4 GHz band, its main benefit is wider coverage. The downside is that it’s not as fast as its counterpart, the 5 GHz band.

Another disadvantage of the 2.4 GHz band is the limited number of simultaneous devices you can connect to a single router. Additionally, given the many devices that use it, the 2.4 GHz band tends to be crowded. Overcrowding leads to connection problems such as slower than expected WiFi speed, disconnections, interference, etc.

Even so, 2.4 GHz is ideal if you are looking for wide Wi-Fi coverage in your home. The lower frequencies can penetrate solid objects better, so you can use your WiFi from a greater distance.

The 5 GHz band supports higher speeds. Support for more channels means you can connect a lot more devices. This band also tends to be less crowded, hence less interference, as it is not used by many devices. You will also experience a stable internet connection.

The main disadvantage of the 5 GHz band is its coverage. In addition, this band is not supported by many Wi-Fi-enabled devices compared to the 2.4 GHz band.

2.4 GHz vs. 5 GHz: Which WiFi Band Should You Use?

Your choice depends primarily on your needs. Opt for the 2.4 GHz band if you need more coverage or if you live in a house with many objects that can cause interference. The 2.4 GHz band is also ideal for Internet activities that do not require higher speeds, such as surfing.

5GHz is ideal for high bandwidth activities like streaming videos and playing intense role-playing games (RPG) like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. You should also use this tape if you want to connect more devices in the house.

5 GHz is an ideal band where a large WiFi range is not required. However, it’s easier to get more range with a 5 GHz router with a mesh WiFi network. Alternatively, you can use WiFi range extenders, which are usually cheaper.

Buy the right wireless router

Netgear Nighthawk xr1000 router

When buying a router, you don’t have to make a difficult decision when choosing which of the two bands to choose. This is because modern Wi-Fi routers often use both bands. This is what dual and triple band WiFi routers are for.

A dual-band WiFi router sends both a 2.4 GHz and a 5 GHz signal. With this type of router, you can connect both 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz devices.

This results in less interference and you get the best of both worlds – the ability to connect to a 2.4 GHz signal for greater range and a 5 GHz signal for higher speeds.

Triple-band routers send three different signals, a single 2.4 GHz signal and two parallel 5 GHz signals. As a result, triple-band routers allow you to connect even more devices without affecting WiFi speed. You also get less interference and can assign each band to different devices in your home or office.

Soon you will also be considering a router with 6 GHz WiFi. Currently, tri-band typically refers to 1x 2.4 GHz and 2x 5 GHz. However, when 6 GHz routers become the norm, tri-band refers to a router with 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz bands.

Because WiFi speeds are shared by your connected devices, having a separate 5 GHz band means you get more bandwidth. Dual-band routers offer twice the bandwidth or more, while triple-band routers offer three times (or more) the bandwidth than single-band routers.

Related: What’s the Best Dual Band Router for Your Small Home?

Use a Wi-Fi band that suits your needs

2.4 GHz and 5 GHz are the most common Wi-Fi bands available and have their advantages and disadvantages. Hopefully now you will understand the two better and be able to make wise choices based on your needs.

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