Wifi has gone from a nice addition to your tech to the main way we connect devices in a decade or so. Today, whether it’s your mobile devices, desktop computers at your business, even your TV at home, a wireless connection means no cables everywhere and easy access to the internet at all times.
But when choosing your wireless networking, there are a number of factors to look at, one of the main being the wireless frequency used. Here there are two options, 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. Many wireless systems feature both, but what are the differences between them and why would you use one over the other for your wifi connection?
The 2.4Ghz option
Wifi uses radio waves to make a two-way connection between devices, with a choice of 2 frequency bands for those radio waves, 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. 2.4Ghz was the first to become commonly used, and it has the advantage of being a relatively low frequency that is not easily disrupted by common obstructions such as walls and so on. This results in the longest range of the two choices, although speed is restricted at this frequency.
There are 23 channels within the 2.4Ghz band, with each channel being like a different radio station to tune into so devices can communicate. In theory, this should provide plenty of free space for your devices to communicate, however, 2.4Ghz is also used for several other applications, including garage door openers, while Microwave ovens also emit interference at 2.4Ghz too. The result is that this frequency can become crowded, which has the effect of lowering connection speeds.
With the 2.4Ghz frequency range becoming crowded, Wifi added the 5Ghz range to allow a broader choice with less crowding. As a higher frequency, 5Ghz is more easily affected by obstacles such as walls, and range is typically less than you would get from 2.4Ghz. However, this higher frequency has two main advantages. The first is connection speed, with a 5Ghz Wifi network considerably faster than the lower frequency option. If you want the fastest Wifi possible, 5Ghz is the choice to make. The other is that there are less 5Ghz devices, so it doesn’t suffer the same overcrowding issues.
The choice then, is always about trade-offs. For longer range, with higher levels of interference and slower speed, 2.4Ghz is the answer, but for faster speed and less crowding, at the expense of some range, 5Ghz delivers. Which is best for you depends on the situation and the kind of devices you
want to use. Specialists can help, so Googling for a wifi technician near me can put you in touch with someone who can offer the right advice. In reality, a wifi solution that combines both, giving you the longer range of 2.4Ghz when speed is not the priority, such as browsing the web or using apps on a mobile device, and the fast speed of the 5Ghz for ideally located equipment such as a wall mounted TV streaming Netflix and so on, offers the best approach for most businesses and homes.