Is it better to connect to 5GHz or 2.4 GHz?
We live in a world where internet connection is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. Being able to connect with loved ones like family and friends around the world using laptops, tablets, or mobile phones has become a human need. Internet technology – and having access to a reliable WiFi connection – makes life easier, and it is now one of the required amenities in any building, whether it’s a public or private space.
With the advancement of internet technology and the advent of 5G WiFi, many property owners and managers are wondering if they should stick to their 2.4G WiFi or upgrade to the new and improved 5G frequency. If you have a wireless router (802.11n or newer), chances are it offers WiFi on two separate bands (dual bands): 2.4GHz and 5GHz.
But what is the difference between the two? And which WiFi frequency better suits your needs?
Read on to find out everything you need to know about the difference between 2.4G and 5G WiFi, and to understand whether it is beneficial for you to upgrade to 5G WiFi.
So, what is the difference between 2.4G and 5G WiFi?
The difference between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi basically comes down to two main factors: speed and range. Let’s take a closer look at the differences:
2.4 GHz overview
Pros: Larger coverage area; better at penetrating solid building materials.
Cons: Lower data rate; more prone to interference; usually more devices using this frequency.
5 GHz overview
Pros: Higher data rate; less prone to interference; usually fewer devices using this frequency.
Cons: Smaller coverage area; less good at penetrating solid building materials.
2.4 GHz vs. 5 GHz: Which frequency is better for you?
So to recap, the difference between 2.4G and 5G is that a 2.4G connection travels farther at lower speeds, while 5G frequencies provide faster speeds at shorter range. You have a choice between 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz, depending on where and how you use your WiFi connection most.
One question to ask yourself: where and how much do I need WiFi? A lot of electronic devices and appliances use the 2.4 GHz frequency, including microwaves, baby monitors, security cameras, and garage door openers to name a few. If you have many of these WiFi-based devices in your home or building, a 2.4 GHz band is likely to be highly congested, which can damage speed and signal quality and result in a weak WiFi connection. For a stronger connection, a 5G WiFi upgrade would be beneficial. However, if the surface over which these devices are spread is broad, then your connection might suffer.
When to go for 5G WiFi:
If most of your devices are near your router (which means they are spread across a small area), 5 GHz is your best choice to take advantage of higher speeds and a stronger connection. Also, if you’re doing a lot of high-bandwidth activities online, such as gaming or videoconferencing, it’s best to use this frequency and move as close as possible to the router. Another instance is if you’re in an apartment or condo with many other units surrounding you; in this case 5 GHz will help you avoid wireless congestion.
When to go for 2.4 GHz:
On the other hand, if your devices are spread over a wide area (think detached buildings, big surface properties or offices), the 2.4 GHz frequency is your best bet. This wavelength has a longer range and can penetrate solid objects more easily than the 5 GHz band.
In general, the difference between 2.4GHz and 5GHz boils down to wireless range vs. speed. If you want better range, use 2.4 GHz. If you need higher performance or speed, use the 5GHz band.
How do I know which frequency is better for my complex needs?
While the basics are pretty straight-forward, it’s still a complicated question to answer. There are many factors to take into account, such as the size of the space, the building materials used, and the types of devices you use most.
This is where a professional can help. Services such as heat-mapping, dot and spot design and IB wave design can help you assess your needs and ensure a strong WiFi connection, whether it’s 2.4G or 5G WiFi. If you hire a WiFi designer, they will do a footprint of the property, as well as a signal propagation study or heatmap to assess the number of repeaters and their locations, which would allow upgrading the system from 2.4GHz to 5GHz.
So if you’re considering upgrading to 5G WiFi, get in touch with our team of professionals who will help you install and maintain the WiFi connection you need.