Question: What are the differences between 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless network?

You might have asked yourself in the past on what are the differences between 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless network when setting up the network, and most likely you just went ahead to configure two networks with one supporting 2.4GHz and another one supporting 5GHz frequency band, so that you could use and test both. Ok, let's talk about the differences between 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands in this article.

Essentially the main differences between 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless network are on coverage and speed (bandwidth). 2.4GHz wireless network provides good coverage and works better at penetrating solid objects (such as wall) but with slower speed, whereas 5GHz wireless network only cover pretty limited area and the wireless signal can be easily blocked by wall or other solid objects but provides high speed.

If you have a large home then likely the 2.4GHz band with good coverage can get your devices (smartphone, laptop, tablet' etc.) connected easily. On the other hand, if you do a lot of online streaming, gaming, videoconferencing or other high-bandwidth activities online, it's best to use 5GHz band and connect your device as close as possible to the wireless router to ensure high speed access and satisfied user experience.

These are the wireless standards supporting 2.4GHz and/or 5GHz band, which will give you some ideas on building out your wireless network.

2.4GHz - 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, 802.11ax (WiFi 6)
5GHz - 802.11a, 802.11n, 802.11ac (WiFi 5), 802.11ax (WiFi 6)

Note: There is this new wireless standard called WiFi 6E that not only it can operate in 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands but also additional 6GHz band. In general wireless network operated in 6GHz band will provide faster speed with lower latency compared to the other two frequency bands. The other benefit is that 6GHz band will not suffer from interference coming from other home wireless devices (microwave oven, baby monitors, walkie-talkies, etc.)


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