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What’s The Difference Between 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi?

By: Westman Communications
Posted: October 29, 2020 16:28Internet

A deep dive into why there are two Wi-Fi networks in your home (2.4GHz and 5GHz).

Wi-Fi Device

Wi-Fi is a wireless technology that allows your devices to connect to the internet without a wired connection. Your Wi-Fi router acts as an access point between your Internet connection and the device that needs the connection. The wireless router uses different radio frequencies to transmit information from your Wi-Fi modem to your connected devices. These radio frequencies travel as waves through the air on the predetermined frequencies to their destination. So, our mysterious numbers mean that our routers exchange information on 2.4GHz or 5GHz frequencies.

Remember - the speeds you receive on your Wi-Fi enabled devices depend on many factors and tend to have reduced performance compared to a direct connection. For optimal speeds, try a direct connection with an ethernet cable.

Did you know that older devices may mean a slower Wi-Fi connection?

 

Your Wi-Fi connected device

Connected device speeds rely on several factors, including the supported Wi-Fi technology, the number of transmitters or antennas in your device, your current environment and other factors found within your device designs. Newer devices should handle higher Wi-Fi speeds due to the more modern technologies and abilities to transfer data faster. In comparison, older devices may not do so well, even under ideal conditions. 

What should I expect from my device? CLICK HERE.

 

The difference between 2.4GHz and 5GHz Networks

Your Wi-Fi modem can operate on two different frequency bands: 2.4GHz and 5GHz. The reason for different frequencies revolves around two ideas:

  1. The speed you need to conduct your online activity
  2. The range between you and the modem

Wi-Fi on 2.4GHz travels further distances but is slower than 5GHz. The 5GHz does not sacrifice speed and thus provides faster speeds to anything connected to the frequency. The main benefit of 5GHz is that it will be impacted less by the interference of other wireless devices operating in the same band.

 

2.4GHz Frequency

 
 

5GHz Frequency

 
 

Pros:

   
  • Longer range and coverage area
  • Able to penetrate solid objects (such as walls and floors)  better than 5GHz
 

Cons:

   
  • More prone to frequency interference
  • Usually has more devices connected to the frequency, resulting in more network congestion
 
 

Pros

   
  • Higher bandwidth than the 2.4GHz
  • Less prone to frequency interference (such as baby monitors and microwaves)
 

Cons:

   
  • Smaller coverage area
  • Can’t penetrate solid objects as efficiently as 2.4Ghz (such as walls and floors)
 

 

Using 5GHz

Heavily populated areas such as apartments, condos, and townhouses may benefit from having 5GHz as the sole Wi-Fi network. (Due to the resiliency to the interference of the 5GHz.)

 

Dual-band modems

Dual-band routers broadcast both a 2.4GHz and 5GHz signals from the same unit, essentially providing you with two Wi-Fi networks and the best of both worlds. A dual-band modem is what Westman uses as equipment for our Enhanced Home Wi-Fi service  to ensure you can get an optimal Wi-Fi connection in your home.

 

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