A look at the advantages and limits of the two Wi-Fi frequencies. Wi-Fi networks use radio signals in the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz frequency bands. All modern Wi-Fi devices support 2.4 GHz connections, while some devices support both. Broadband modems that feature both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies are called dual-band wireless modems.
An important distinction to make is between a Wi-Fi network and a wireless network of a mobile phone. These are two different technologies and can be confusing when it comes to Wi-Fi frequency bands at 5 GHz technology for 5G mobile network, which is slowly replacing the 4.
Here is an explanation of the Wi-Fi network that can be configured in a home using a modem, the two frequency bands used and how a dual-band home network can be configured to take advantage of both frequencies. This does not cover mobile network technology for smartphones and other devices.
GHz and network speed
The Wi-Fi network is available in some varieties. These Wi-Fi standards define improvements in network technology. The standards are (in order of release, from the oldest to the most recent):
These standards are linked to the GHz band frequencies but are not discussed in detail below, but are indicated.
A 5 GHz network can carry more data than a 2.4 GHz network and is technically faster (assuming that electricity on high-frequency radio is kept at a higher level). The 5 GHz frequencies support higher data rates in the 802.11n, 802.11ac and 802.11ad network standards.
Home devices that generate or consume the most amount of network traffic, such as video streaming units or game consoles, generally run faster on 5 GHz links.
GHz and network interval
The higher the frequency of a wireless signal, the shorter its range. Thus, 2.4 GHz wireless networks cover a wider range than 5 GHz networks. In particular, 5 GHz frequency signals do not penetrate solid objects as well as 2.4 GHz signals, and this limits the 5 GHz range inside houses.
Some cordless phones, automatic garage door openers, and other household appliances use 2.4 GHz signals. Because this frequency range is commonly used in consumer products, it is saturated with signals. This makes it more likely that a 2.4 GHz home network will be affected by the equipment than a 5 GHz home network. This can slow down and interrupt the speed of the Wi-Fi network in these cases.
GHz and costs
Some people mistakenly believe that 5 GHz network technology is newer or more innovative than the 2.4 GHz network. This is because 5 GHz home modems have become available after modems using 2.4 GHz radio. Both Frequency types have existed for many years and are both proven technologies.
Modems that offer both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies are generally more expensive than those that only provide 2.4 GHz frequency.
5 GHz and 2.4 GHz are different wireless signaling frequencies that each have advantages for the Wi-Fi network, and these advantages depend on how the network is set – especially if you consider how far and through which obstacles the signal should pass to reach the connected devices.
If you need a lot of distance and a lot of penetration through the walls, the 2.4 GHz will work better. However, without these limitations, 5 GHz will probably be the fastest choice.
Dual-band hardware like the one found in 802.11ac modems combines the best of both types of hardware by integrating both types of frequency. This is an emerging preferred solution for home networks.