Most modern wireless routers broadcast WiFi connections using one of two radio frequencies: 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz.
The primary distinction between 2.4 and 5 GHz is the latter’s superior transfer rates. However, the 2.4 GHz has a slower transfer rate but a much greater range.
However, there is a lot more to consider when comparing 2.4 and 5 GHz than just range and speed. Before deciding on one of these frequencies for your home network, you should educate yourself on the topic.
Read on for an explanation of the different frequency bands and tips for picking the right one for your needs.
Differences Between 2.4 and 5 GHz Bands
Below, you can find the key aspects and differences between the bands on your wireless router.
|Aspects||2.4 GHz||5 GHz|
|Speed||maximum of 450 Mbps||The maximum bandwidth of 1300 Mbps|
|Coverage||Around 150 ft (indoors)||From 30 to 50 feet (indoors)|
|Interference||More interference and congestion||Less interference and congestion|
|No. of Devices||It’s possible to connect 11 devices.||Maximum of 45 devices|
My experiments and observations yielded the data presented above. Depending on the router model and data plan, the throughput, range, and simultaneous connections will change.
What does WiFi at 2.4 GHz mean?
The 2.4 GHz frequency has a usable speed that can range anywhere from 300 to 450 Mpps and offers a large coverage area.
It is also superior to 5 GHz in terms of its ability to boost WiFi signals through walls. On the other hand, its data range is significantly lower, making it more susceptible to interference and congestion.
What does 5 GHz WiFi mean?
Users benefit from a greater data range with less interference on the 5 GHz frequency, making it an excellent option for residential WiFi broadband connections of up to 1300 Mbps.
However, despite this benefit, it is unable to penetrate solid objects and has a restricted area of coverage.
Examining the Differences Between 2.4 and 5 GHz
After providing an overview of both frequency bands, it is time to evaluate the differences and similarities between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz on a variety of criteria to determine which one is superior and under what circumstances.
1. Speeds and Throughput Of WiFi
In some cases, the GHz range of a wireless device is irrelevant to the maximum WiFi speed. The placement of the wireless router is the most important factor to consider.
Congestion on the 2.4 GHz band, for instance, can cause less stability and slower internet speeds than the maximum of 300 Mbps or 450 Mbps that some router models support. Conversely, the 5 GHz bands can provide speeds of up to 1300 Mbps.
Since there are fewer devices using it, the 2.4 GHz band is less crowded, and there are more WiFi channels available to you.
The wireless standard supported by the access point—802.11n, 802.11g, 802.11b, or 802.11ac—would determine the top speed. When compared to the slower 2.4GHz band, the 5GHz band provides much more rapid data transfer rates.
The 5GHz band can simply transmit data quicker and larger amounts of data. If you want to provide the fastest possible WiFi connection, you should use the 5GHz band.
2. Range of WiFi and Its Coverage
WiFi coverage is the range at which devices can connect to a wireless router successfully. Generally speaking, 2.4 GHz has a greater range than 5 GHz because it can penetrate solid objects.
Due to its extremely high frequency, 5GHz cannot penetrate through obstacles. These are some typical examples of these obstacles:
- Containing Walls Made of Concrete Walls
- Roofs Heavy
- bulky pieces of furniture
These items are impenetrable to signals at 5GHz but are vulnerable to those at 2.4GHz. If your WiFi network needs to cover a large space or one that is obstructed by walls or other solid objects, the 2.4 GHz band is the way to go.
Without accounting for other external forces or significant obstructions, the range of many common WiFi routers operating in the 2.4 GHz frequency band is up to 150 feet (46 meters) indoors and 300 feet (92 meters) outdoors.
Multi-story buildings, mansions, and supermarkets can all benefit from using the 2.4 GHz band.
In contrast, the 5 GHz frequency is best suited for environments devoid of physical obstructions, as its effective range is only about a third of the aforementioned distances.
Within the home, the range should be adequate from 50 feet (15 meters) to infinity. Such a band would be ideal for cozy condos and studios.
3. Interference in the Network
The WiFi network’s frequency band should also be monitored for disruptions. Interference can significantly slow down a network and limit its usefulness.
Network interference in the 2.4GHz band is most commonly caused by mobile phones and microwave ovens.
When it comes to 5GHz networks, however, smartphones, radar systems, perimeter sensors, and digital satellites are the most common sources of interference.
Multiple users on the same frequency can degrade the quality of the signal and slow the rate at which data can be uploaded.
When using a wireless connection, the speed of your connection on a given frequency band may vary depending on the amount of interference from other devices. Transmission over greater distances and through obstacles like walls is optimized for the 2.4GHz band’s electromagnetic waves.
If you have a lot of solid objects, like walls, between your device and your router, then you should use 2.4GHz instead.
The 5GHz band, on the other hand, has shorter waves and is therefore less effective at penetrating walls and other solid objects.
Because electromagnetic waves exhibit their unique strengths at higher frequencies, this phenomenon occurs (5GHz). As a result, the signal can be easily disrupted by multiple factors, including walls, floors, ceilings, doors, and others.
In general, 5 GHz WiFi networks are less likely to experience interference from nearby devices than 2.4 GHz networks.
When there is a lot of interference from other devices or appliances, your WiFi network’s performance will suffer.
That’s why you should switch to the newer 5 GHz WiFi network. However, the 2.4 GHz network is the better option if you need stronger signals in your home.
4. Wavelengths and Channels
Increasing the channel width of your connection won’t always make it faster. The data rate increases with the size of the channel.
Put another way, your signal allows for a higher rate of data transfer per second. Having a wider channel is great in theory, but it won’t do you much good if your internet speed is only 1 Mbps, 3 Mbps, or 5 Mbps.
Even if your internet connection is blazing fast, you still need to exercise caution when switching to a wider channel. It may lead to increased interference and a slower connection.
Different channels allow your router to broadcast on the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. At 2.4 GHz, there are 14 available channels.
Unfortunately, there are only three channels that do not overlap. On the other hand, 5 GHz has 24 channels, and they don’t overlap with each other at all.
These frequency bands are ones that your router can use to reduce interference and improve your Internet connection.
How Do I Determine Which Frequency Band to Use?
1. How Big Your Home Is
The 2.4 GHz frequency band is perfect for covering larger areas, which is necessary for homes with multiple stories. However, if your home is on the smaller side, 5 GHz is your best bet.
Your WiFi speed will increase, and your network will be less vulnerable to outside interference.
In order to take full advantage of the 5GHz band, it is recommended that large homes think about investing in WiFi extenders or mesh systems to increase the range of their WiFi network.
2. Interruptions and Congestion
Because of the large number of devices that operate on the 2.4GHz band, it is more susceptible to interference and congestion.
I’m referring to things like additional routers, smartphones, Bluetooth devices like earbuds, microwave ovens, and a variety of other home appliances.
In this respect, the 5 GHz band excels, as it is less prone to interference and congestion than other bands.
Because of this, if you live in a highly populated area, it is recommended that you use a 5 GHz band because it will provide you with superior connectivity and stability by preventing such inferences.
This is because you are physically closer to the router. A reduction in the amount of overlap will lead to a decrease in interference, which will lead to an improvement in performance.
You now have access to a new band operating at 6 GHz that has an even lower level of congestion thanks to the launch of Wi-Fi 6E. In the comparison between Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 7, I went into great detail about this topic.
3. Device Type and Usage
Signals over greater distances or through obstacles like walls and floors are best accomplished using the 2.4GHz band’s longer waves.
Low-bandwidth activities, such as web browsing, are best performed on devices connected to the 2.4GHz band. However, 5GHz is optimized for data-intensive activities like gaming and HD video streaming.
To reduce contention for available bandwidth, spread your devices out across both bands.
Separating your IoT gadgets from your personal electronics is a good way to keep your WiFi network safe. Distributing your devices between the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands will maximize your network’s efficiency.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is better 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz?
There are numerous variables at play here. If you have a small home but require rapid data transfer, the 5 GHz band is the way to go.
If you live in a large home and don’t engage in activities that require a lot of bandwidth, a 2.4 GHz band will suffice.
What devices should be on 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz?
Smart speakers, Mobile Phones, work laptops, and other smart home devices can all benefit from being linked to a 2.4 GHz network, as this frequency range requires fewer data transfer and is used throughout the home.
Equipment with higher data needs, such as gaming PCs and Smart TVs used for streaming media, should have access to the 5 GHz bands.
Can I use both 2.4 and 5GHz at the same time?
If your router supports both the 2.4 and 5 GHz frequencies, then the answer is yes. Keep in mind that each band can only support a single connected device. Multiple devices are required for dual-band connectivity.
How to change from 2.4 GHz to 5 GHz?
Log in to your router’s settings (also known as the admin panel) via a web browser to see if the 5 GHz band is enabled. Then, enable 5 GHz Wireless in the connection/wireless menu. Don’t leave without saving your changes!
So, I hope you found my comparison of 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz useful. If you can’t make up your mind between 2.4 and 5 GHz, I suggest leaving it on automatic. A dual-band router provides the best of both worlds.