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What’s the difference between 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi?

The two main differences between 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi are the range and the bandwidth.

5GHz Wi-Fi networks allow for more data to go through, but have shorter range. This means you should prioritize this network as long as you don’t have range issues. Video games, streaming services and television receivers all benefit from using the 5GHz network.
2.4GHz Wi-Fi networks cover wider distances, but the speeds they can output are lower. You should use this network when further from your router, since it allows more basic tasks such as email, web browsing or instant messaging.

Let’s go through some terms that can be useful when talking about networks

Range: The distance your data can travel. Usually, the higher the frequency, the shorter the range.

Higher frequency waves have a harder time going through solid objects like walls and floors, meaning that 2.4GHz networks have bigger ranges than 5Ghz networks.

Bandwidth (speed): a higher bandwidth means that downloading and uploading data will be faster. Apps and services that take up a lot of bandwidth - like video streaming - function faster with higher bandwidths.

Higher frequency waves can carry more data per second than lower frequency waves. 5GHz networks are therefore faster than 2.4GHz networks

Tips on choosing the right frequency

Many devices are still manufactured without 5GHz network support (although the vast majority of smartphones support 5GHz networks). These devices compete amond themselves for bandwidth on the 2.4GHz network, leading to an “overpopulation” of the available channels. Note that 2.4GHz networks only offer three (3) channels, whereas 5GHz networks offer 23!

This “overpopulation” on a reduced number of channels can cause interferences and connection issues. Here are other some devices found in homes that can clog up the 2.4GHz channels:
• Wireless phones
• Baby monitors
• Garage door remotes
It can therefore be a good idea to try to connect your personal devices (like computers, smartphones, etc.) to the 5GHz network.

In the end, which to choose?

• If you are looking for greater download and upload speeds, 5GHz will usually be the right call.
• If you are having issues with range, 2.4GHz will help remedy the problem.

Updated on: 27/10/2020