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Advances in technologies have brought us to an era when most wireless internet routers support dual-band or tri-band technology. Dual-band routers function on two clear frequency ranges – 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Tri-band routers use these two frequencies and add in a third, which is the 6 GHz band. But what exactly is the difference between the 2.4 GHz band and the 5 GHz band?
This article discusses the main differences between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands. Knowing the differences between the two bands will help you make the most out of your Wi-Fi internet service.
A Wi-Fi frequency band is a way for wireless data to transmit between devices. These bands are actually radio waves that carry data from one end to another and are either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz in most cases. The main difference between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands is the coverage and the speeds provided. For instance, the 2.4GHz band offers greater coverage; however, data transfer is usually slower. On the other hand, the 5 GHz band offers you far less coverage but allows the data to travel at faster speeds.
One of the main differences between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz is the range and the rate of data delivery. 2.4 GHz band typically has a greater range but the data delivery is slower. Conversely, the 5 GHz can support faster data delivery although the range is much smaller than a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi band.
To provide a simplistic explanation of the science behind this, the 5 GHz frequency range has more WiFi channels available, and none of them overlap each other, unlike the 2.4 GHz frequency range. Each channel of the 5 GHz frequency is also twice the bandwidth of its 2.4 GHz counterpart. Finally, the cherry on top is that the 5 GHz band deploys multiple simultaneous streams on multiple channels.
When it comes to speed, the 2.4 GHz band generally supports speeds from 450 Mbps to 600 Mbps. The device using the Wi-Fi service influences this. Since most devices use the 2.4 GHz frequency band, this results in network congestion and may lead to online interruptions and slower speeds than normal.
The 5 GHz band, on the other hand, can support internet speeds up to 1300 Mbps and more channels for devices to connect to. Since a smaller number of devices use this network, it typically tends to be less congested than the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi frequency band.
When many devices function on the same frequency, there can be higher interference affecting the signal’s transmission to the receiving point. This tends to reduce your connection speed. The 2.4 GHz frequency band has radio waves that are longer and can easily penetrate walls and solid objects. This makes the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi band much better suited to indoor settings. The only possible interference that the 2.4 GHz band faces is from microwave ovens and wireless telephones.
As for the 5 GHz frequency band, which is mainly comprised of shorter waves, penetration through walls and solid objects is a different story indeed. However, even though it is less capable of going through solid objects, the 5 GHz band typically is not affected by radio signals of other devices around it – unlike the 2.4 GHz band. This makes it a much better choice for places that are full of other electromagnetic devices that can cause interference to the 2.4 GHz band.
Since most devices employ the use of the 2.4 GHz frequency, the band is highly prone to network congestion. This is because this frequency remains the most used, especially by microwave ovens, garage door openers, wireless phones, and even Bluetooth devices.
Of course, the 5 GHz band is comparatively freer and has more network channels to operate through. This makes this frequency band less likely to choke up during use and faces little network congestion if any.
There are multiple Wi-Fi routers on the market now. The most common ones are dual-band routers that support both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands. A more recent addition to the router family is the tri-band router, which as mentioned before, support 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz frequency bands. Depending on what setting you choose for the router, it can support these bands both selectively and simultaneously.
A 2.4 GHz band is more prone to interferences by other electronic gadgets and has a slower speed but it typically possesses a wider range than the 5 GHz band, ideal for larger homes. A 5GHz band has lower penetration through walls and a shorter range, but it does support higher internet speeds, which makes it a perfect choice for gaming and online streaming.
Although there are a variety of internet packages out there, one other important factor for seamless connectivity in your home is the type of Wi-Fi router you use. It can be a selective dual-band router or a simultaneous dual-band router, the latter of which is preferable for residential internet uses. Pick a router that supports both bands simultaneously and let your devices automatically choose what band they want to work with!
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What is a Wi-Fi booster?
A Wi-Fi booster is a device that enhances the Wi-Fi signals in an area. It is often used in conjunction with a Wi-Fi router to provide a whole-home Wi-Fi experience.
What is the best Wi-Fi frequency band for online gaming?
If you are into serious gaming, using a 5 GHz frequency band would probably be the best choice for your home. If you have a larger home, consider the use of a Wi-Fi booster to get faster internet speeds and enhance your online experience.
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