2.4GHz vs 5GHz Which should I use?
Updated: May 31
When setting up your home or business WiFi connection, one of the key things that you’ll need to consider is the frequency that you’ll use. The requirements of your WLAN will determine which frequency is best for you, but many of us aren’t ‘techxperts’, so you may not even know where to start.
We’ve put together this article to explain the difference between the two frequencies, so you can decide confidently whether you want a 2.4 or 5GHz frequency for your network.
The Difference Between 2.4GHz and 5GHz - Range vs Bandwidth
The main difference that you’ll find between the two frequencies is the way that they transmit wireless data, with range and bandwidth being the primary defining factors. Range, otherwise known as WiFi coverage, is the area of space where the data can reach, while the bandwidth is essentially the WiFi speed at which the data can be transmitted.
A 2.4GHz frequency band transmits data with a higher range, while 5GHz has a smaller range with higher bandwidth. You can expect data to process at around 50-150mbps with a 2.4GHz band, while speeds of 300-500 mbps are common with 5GHz bands.
This seems like it should answer all questions, but there are more things to consider.
The nature of a 2.4GHz frequency band is that it can be connected to many devices across a wider area, which means that along with having a lower bandwidth, it will likely become interrupted and slowed down by the number of connections. 5GHz frequencies are generally used by fewer devices, offering more channels for connection, meaning it’s less likely to become crowded and more likely to run smoothly.
It’s also worth noting that the range and speed of a 5GHz frequency also make it less capable of penetrating solid walls. This means that in larger spaces on one network, those in the rooms further away from the WiFi transmitter will suffer from more interference, possibly finding themselves in WiFi dead spots.
2.4GHz frequencies are used by more than just WiFi running devices, which can also contribute to congestion in the network. Beyond smartphones and laptops, the 2.4GHz frequency band will be used by microwave ovens, cordless phones, BlueTooth devices, and garage door openers, meaning that it can easily become overcrowded. On the other hand, 5GHz frequencies are more likely to be interfered with by radars, satellite connections, and motion sensors.
Which is Right for Me?
If you’re looking for a fast, reliable WiFi connection in a smaller area of space, then 5GHz is probably the choice for you. If you need one connection to span a larger surface area, going through walls, floors, and ceilings, 2.4GHz frequencies will likely suit your needs better.