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Unravelling the differences between 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi frequencies

WiFi Frequencies Wireless Nation


Have you ever found yourself amidst a sea of WiFi network options to connect to, all seemingly identical except for the suffixes? Typically, 2.4GHz and 5GHz?

It’s a common scenario when connecting to networks outside your own domain. But, what do these suffixes signify, and how do they impact your internet experience?

Intrigued? Good! Let’s delve into the intricacies of frequency bands and how they influence your connectivity.


Understanding frequency bands

Think of frequency bands as radio stations on your car stereo with each operating at distinct Megahertz frequencies. However, WiFi bands operate at higher Gigahertz frequencies when compared to FM radio.

Simply put, 2.4GHz offers longer-range connectivity at lower speeds, while 5GHz provides faster connections over shorter distances.


WiFi Frequencies Wireless Nation


Deciphering the suffixes

It’s really less mysterious than these groups of letters may appear. The suffixes 2.4GHz and 5GHz denote separate radio frequency bands utilised by routers to establish connections with devices in your vicinity. (Note, occasionally, you might encounter a third option – 6GHz.)

GHz stands for “gigahertz”, which represents a unit of frequency equal to one billion hertz. Router manufacturers offer these varied options to cater to diverse connectivity needs and purposes.


Router configurations

Routers may be configured to broadcast either two distinct WiFi network names or a unified network name.

In the former scenario, manually selecting the 5GHz option on your device can unlock faster speeds, a common limitation of the 2.4GHz frequency.

Conversely, unified network names automate the frequency selection process, often resulting in seamless connectivity experiences. Note that 5GHz works best when you have a line of sight to your router.


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What the heck does this all mean?

To put it super simply, the 2.4GHz band extends connectivity over longer distances but at slower speeds, occasionally encountering interference from devices like microwaves and cordless phones.

In contrast, the 5GHz band delivers faster speeds, ideal for bandwidth-intensive activities such as streaming and gaming; albeit within a limited range.

Optimising your WiFi setup is key to ensuring an optimal internet experience.

Whether prioritising coverage or speed, understanding the disparities between 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies empowers you to make informed decisions, ultimately enhancing your broadband service.