2.4GHz Vs. 5GHz: Main Difference and Which One Should You Use?
Wi-Fi technology mainly uses 2 radio frequency bands i.e 2.4GHz and 5GHz to establish connections with other Wi-Fi enabled devices. But how do these two frequencies differ in terms of performance?
Well, as you might already be guessing, the differences boil down to bandwidth, range, and congestion.
So, which is better? To answer this question conclusively let’s have a look at the major differences and the scenarios where it is most suitable to deploy either the 5GHz or the 2.4GHz.
The Main Difference Between 2.4Ghz and 5GHz Frequency Bands
Many have been of the opinion that using a 5GHz frequency as opposed to a 2GHz frequency is nothing more than a manifestation of a “placebo” effect.
Though this might be the case in some situations, there are several reasons why – from a technical point of view – the 5GHz Wi-Fi frequency might work better than a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi frequency.
Likewise, there are situations where the 2.4GHz Wi-Fi frequency will perform better when compared to a 5GHz network.
In comparison, higher frequency radio waves of 5GHz lose more of their strength when going through
This is so because as a frequency increases, its ability to penetrate through solid obstacles is greatly compromised. For this reason, the 2.4GHz band can cover a larger area than the 5GHz band.
However, the range of both bands can be significantly increased by using high gain specialized antennas.
Network Speed/ Bandwidth
Technically, higher radio frequencies allow faster network connections since they have a higher bandwidth. Therefore, a 5GHz frequency can transmit more data and at a faster speed when compared to a 2.4GHz frequency.
So, if you are using applications that require a high bandwidth like video streaming apps, or your priority is to provide an exceptional Wi-Fi performance, go for the 5GHz Wi-Fi.
Congestion and interference
Unlike the 2.4GHz band which only has 11 channels, the 5GHz frequency comes with twenty-three channels. In addition to this, the 5GHz band has a higher spectrum availability meaning that fewer devices run on it when compared to the congested 2.4GHz band.
Most wireless technologies such as microwaves, cordless phones, and Bluetooth devices operate within the 2.4GHz frequency. This is also the reason why the 5GHz band experiences fewer interferences from other networks and devices.
So, if you choose the 5GHz over the 2.4GHz, there are lesser chances of congestion and interference
Gaming requires a high bandwidth connection since it involves the transfer of high very high-quality files and a lot of streaming.
This implies that for you to experience a seamless and uninterrupted gaming experience, you will need a connection that is faster. For this reason, the 5GHz connection is by far a more suitable choice.
Dual-Band and Tri-Band Routers: How do they Compare and Contrast?
Nowadays, manufacturers are designing routers that can broadcast 2.4GHz and 5GHz. The 2.4GHz band supports 11 channels, and most wireless home appliances operate within its frequency.
While the 5GHz frequency is designed to support 23 channels and few devices run on its frequency. Routers with the capacity to broadcast 2 frequencies are known as a dual-band router while those that can broadcast 3 are known as Tri-band router.
Dual Band Router
Dual-band routers are built with dual-band technology which gives them the capability to broadcast two different signals i.e. a 2.4GHz signal and 5GHz signal.
The 5GHz band connects faster to compatible devices while the 2.4GHz band is there for compatibility with devices designed with older technology.
While dual-band router can broadcast two different signals, tri-band router ones can broadcast 3.basically; these routers host three different Wi-Fi networks at the same time.
However, rather than hosting the third network at a different frequency, it hosts 2 separate 5GHz signals and a third 2.4GHz signal.
Which of These Two Frequency Bands Should You Choose?
The efficiency of these frequencies depends on your location and needs. If you are after speed, the 5GHz is an ideal choice.
If the range is your first priority, the 2.4GHz will perform better than its counterpart. And if your location contains so many devices within the 2.4GHz frequency, settle down for the 5GHz frequency to avoid interference and congestion.