Dual Band WiFi Router 2.4GHz Vs 5GHz | Which one is better for you?

If you are looking to replace your old router — maybe even upgrade from the combined modem/router package of your ISP — you may come across words such as “dual-band,” which applies to a router that uses both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi. Curious about the meaning of those numbers? well, wonder no more.

What’s the Difference Between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz?

The primary differences between the two frequencies are the range (coverage) and the bandwidth (speed) provided by the bands. The 2.4 GHz band offers longer-range coverage but transmits data at lower speeds. The 5 GHz band provides reduced coverage but sends data more quickly.

The range is lower in the 5 GHz band as higher frequencies can not penetrate solid objects, such as walls and floors. Higher frequencies, however, allow data to be transmitted quicker than lower frequencies so that you can upload and update files faster with a 5 GHz band.

Range: How far the data will go. For most cases the higher a wireless signal’s frequency, the shorter its range.

Higher frequency signaling is the biggest reason why solid objects such as walls and floors can not penetrate and also lower frequency signals. The 2.4 GHz, therefore, has a range farther than 5 GHz.

Bandwidth (speed): Higher bandwidth means files are downloaded and uploaded quicker, and high-bandwidth apps like streaming video are going much better and faster.

Higher frequencies for swifter data transmission, also known as bandwidth. Hence the 5GHz with its higher bandwidth can have data connections much faster than 2,4 GHz.

The 2.4 GHz band is a fairly crowded spot because more than just Wi-Fi is used for this. The 2.4 GHz band continues to be used by old cordless phones, garage door openers, baby monitoring, and other apps.

The longer waves the 2.4 GHz band uses are more suitable for longer ranges and transmission through walls and solid objects. So if you need wider protection on your apps or you have a lot of walls or other items in the places where you need coverage, it’s probably easier. However, because the 2.4 GHz band is used by so many devices, the resulting congestion can cause dropped connections and slower than expected speeds.

The 5 GHz band is much less congested, meaning you’ll probably get more secure connections. You can see higher speeds too. In comparison, the shorter waves that the 5 GHz band uses to make it less likely to penetrate walls and solid objects. It has an effective range shorter than the 2.4 GHz band, too. Of course, by using range extenders or mesh Wi-Fi systems, you will still be able to reduce the shorter range but this does require a bigger investment.

A 2.4 GHz wireless communication provides a wider area with the internet but loses speed, while 5GHz offers higher speeds to a smaller range. Each router is designed to deliver a certain set of frequencies and you’ll want to consider which WiFi band and the channel will best suit your needs and deliver optimum performance for you.

The WiFi standards, frequencies, and theoretical distances and velocities are listed below. Note, the speeds that you get from your router can vary depending on the quality of the internet service you pay for.

There are several factors which determine which band your devices should use. A lot of gadgets use the 2.4 GHz wavelength in today’s world, including microwaves, baby monitors and garage door openers. While you may not have many of these devices in your house, if you live in an apartment that is surrounded by other people, the 2.4 GHz band is congested with several devices.

If you have a device that does not travel around and is located near your router (but you can not link it to an Ethernet cable), we recommend that you set it to 5 GHz frequency to reduce congestion and take advantage of the higher speeds that the 5 GHz band can offer.

On the other hand, if you have a device that travels a lot (like your smartphone) around your home and is typically further away from your router, we suggest that you set this computer to the 2.4 GHz frequency. The wavelength has a broader range and can more readily penetrate solid structures than the 5 GHz band, making it suitable for devices that are either taken from room to room or positioned further away from the router.

Moving to a 5GHz wireless network has its limitations. One is that the higher a wireless signal’s frequency, the shorter its range. For instance, 2.4 GHz networks cover a significantly greater range than 5 GHz wireless networks. 5 GHz networks also do not reach solid structures such as walls and do 2.4 GHz signals. It can restrict the reach of access points inside buildings such as homes and workplaces where there are several walls between a wireless antenna and the user.

Another downside is that 5GHz equipment isn’t readily combined with already mounted 2.4GHz equipment. It is a concern if you are updating a current system of a large wireless network. If you were to merge a 2.4GHz network already built with a 5GHz network, you will need to make sure that all the network components are dual band.

Cost is one more element. The prevalence of 2.4GHz means that elements of the wireless network such as access points, antennas and network cards are easier to reach, and cost less.

One perceived gain of a higher frequency is velocity. 5GHz networks aren’t inherently faster than 2.4GHz though. 802.11 g 2.4GHz devices can equal or can be faster than 802.11a 5GHz by using paired radios within access points instead of one that can boost bandwidth by up to 108Mbps.

As you’ll probably see, it takes planning to move to 5GHz. Until making the move, there are only a few things to remember. For general, if high performance and over crowding of other 2.4GHz networks in the region are an significant factor, then the solution could be 5GHz wireless network. However, if you have little control about which network cards your users use or access points, then a 2.4GHz device could be a better choice.

A dual band network works best, unless you monitor and restrict the devices that are used on your network. If you have 5GHz equipmnet on your network and everyone will use devices such as iPads, iPods, smartphones allowed by WiFi and other devices that can only use 2.4GHz, dual band routers would be needed. It is ideal dual band equipment that covers both 2.4GHz and 5GHz and covers the best of both worlds. If the cost is within your reach, you can consider using a dual band wireless network.

2.4 GHz summary 5 GHz summary
Cons Higher data rate; more likely to interfere; commonly most apps use this frequency Higher data rate; less likely to interfere; typically fewer devices that use this frequency
Pros Larger range of coverage; easier to penetrate solid objects Smaller area of coverage; less effective in penetrating solids
Max connection speed 150 Mbps 1 Gbps
Max signal range (from router) 410 ft 410 ft amplified

You need to make sure your modem / router and computer are programmed to use the same frequency, whether you prefer 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz. Check your specific router model for specifications regarding compatibility and frequency.

Suggestions for choosing the best frequency:

Most devices do use the 2.4 GHz frequency and all of these devices tend to use the same “radio room” that can cause the channels to overcrowd.

The 5GHz band, the newer of the two, is capable of cutting through network clutter and interference to maximize network performance. It has more contact networks, and the newer band typically has not as many competing devices. But 5GHz can not go as far as the 2.4GHz, by default. Newer routers have both, allowing you to pick which band to use.

Key Considerations For Proper Band Selection

  • Size of Your Home

Larger homes would need a greater coverage area, and this is ideally fit for the 2.4GHz band. 5GHz can not only provide higher bandwidth for smaller homes or apartments but also help with interference from nearby networks. That said, it’s important to consider network extenders, like WCB6200Q, which allows you to increase your WiFi coverage while maximizing all of the 5GHz band’s benefits.

  • Interference

Because of the number of devices that use this frequency the 2.4GHz band is more susceptible to interference. Older routers, microwaves, Bluetooth apps, baby monitors, garage door openers, and more are included.

Will WiFi interference slow down your connection? If so, the 5GHz would be a better choice, as long as the system is close to the router/point of access. While 5GHz works over a wide range of specific channels. More duplication means more interference, which is equal to better performance.

Overcrowding and interference can cause slower speeds and intermittent connectivity problems. Examples of devices which might cause interference:

  • Microwaves
  • Cordless phones
  • Baby monitors
  • Garage door openers


  • Type of Device and Application

The 2.4GHz band uses longer waves, making it more suitable for extended ranges or transmission across walls and other solid artifacts. Ideally, you can use the 2.4GHz band to connect devices for low-bandwidth tasks, such as Internet browsing. On the other hand, 5GHz is the best fit for high-bandwidth applications or activities such as HDTV streaming and gaming.

The aim is to distribute the devices over the two bands so that the same channels become less aggressive. You will optimize the efficiency of your network by using the 2.4GHz and 5GHz in concert.

Overcrowding and interference can cause slower speeds and intermittent connectivity problems. Examples of devices which might cause interference:

  • Microwaves
  • Cordless phones
  • Baby monitors
  • Garage door openers

So, which one should you choose, 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz?

  • If you are most interested in high speed internet, 5GHz is typically a better option than 2.4 GHz.
  • If you think more about the wireless range, 2.4 GHz is typically a better option than 5 GHz.
  • If you have a lot of devices using 2.4 GHz and you experience interference or intermittent connectivity problems then 5 GHz is probably a better option.

What Are Dual- and Tri-Band Routers?

The positive aspect is that most new routers are dual and tri-band. A dual-band router is one that transmits from the same device both a 2.4 GHz and a 5 GHz signal, effectively providing you with two Wi-Fi networks and the best of both worlds. Dual-band routers come in two different types:

A dual-band router can transmit radio waves in two separate frequency bands: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz , respectively. Since dual-band routers broadcast two frequency bands, you are getting two WiFi networks essentially.

Most routers had run on the 802.11b standard, which was limited to the 2.4 GHz band, until recently. Most current routers also run on the older 802.11ac standard, which supports bands of 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.

Two types of dual band routers are also available to choose from: selectable or simultaneous.

A selectable dual band router only supports one WiFi network at a time, either the 2.4 GHz network or the 5 GHz network.

It’s a single-band router, but the frequency you want to use can be chosen. All devices within your home must share a single WiFi network with this router.

A dual-band simultaneous router supports separate WiFi networks of 2,4 GHz and 5 GHz at the same time, which gives you two networks to choose from while you use your computer. This also gives you double the bandwidth (or speed), and for specific devices, you can opt to have separate networks. For example, you can use the 5 GHz network to stream video while all your smart home devices use the 2.4 GHz network.

Using two networks can avoid overcrowding and interference when connecting multiple devices and will lead to more secure connections.

Selectable dual-band: A selectable dual-band router provides a Wi-Fi network of 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz so you can use only one at a time. Yes, you need to use a button to tell the band you wish to use.

Simultaneous dual-band: A dual-brand router simultaneously transmits 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi networks independently at the same time, giving you two Wi-Fi networks that you can choose from while setting up a system. Many router brands also require the two bands to be allocated the same SSID so that users can only see a single network — even if both are still operational. Those tend to be much more expensive than selectable dual-band routers, but not by much. The benefits of making both bands perform at the same time generally outweigh the difference in cost.

A three-band router transmits three networks simultaneously — two 5 GHz signals and one 2.4 GHz signal. This is because it helps to reduce congestion in the network. If you have many devices that use a 5 GHz link heavily — like high-resolution streaming, or even 4 K video — you might benefit from spending a little more on a tri-band router.

Which one Should I Select for my device 2.4 or 5 GHz?

First things, When you have a computer that supports a wired Ethernet link and it’s not too difficult to get a cable to the computer, we strongly recommend choosing a wired connection over a wireless one. Wired connections provide lower latency, no disconnection due to interference, and are faster than wireless connections.

That said, we ‘re going to talk about wireless. If you’re using 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi and you’re curious if you need to upgrade to 5 GHz, it’s all about what you need to do about it. If you have lost connections or need more speed to watch videos or play games, you probably need to move to 5 GHz. There’s just so much speed that you can get out of a 5 GHz network, even in optimal conditions. When you live in a crowded apartment complex with hundreds of wireless routers, baby monitors, and other 2.4Ghz band apps, you should certainly consider moving to the 5Ghz band if you haven’t.

If you are already using a dual- or tri-band router and have available the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, you will need to make some decisions on which to connect your devices to. It’s tenting to use 5 GHz Wi-Fi for every system that supports it and use 2.4 GHz for the rest — and you undoubtedly can — but this is not always the best solution.

Alternatively, think about the way each system is used. When a device supports just 2.4 GHz, your option for that device has already been made. Consider how you need to necessarily use 5 GHz if a system supports both. Does the computer need high speed internet, or is it email and web surfing that you mainly check? Is the system connected to the 2.4 GHz network dropped and needs it to be trusted? Is the system with the shortest possible efficiency range that comes with the 5 GHz band all right?

If you want a fast, steady link, you ‘d better have a 5 GHz network. It is particularly true if you live in an apartment complex in a densely populated city. But if you want to cover a large area and need your transmission to pass through solid objects, then it’s safer for 2.4 GHz.

Thus the 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz each have their strengths and disadvantages, and at that moment the better network just depends on your needs. You can switch between these two links using a dual-band router to see which one is working better for you.

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