04
Dec
2014

WiFi: 2.4Ghz vs 5GHz frequency bands

In the house, we have a dual band Virgin Media “SuperHub”. The usual WiFi band is 2.4GHz, which is what we have used for years and years as the cheap option for WiFi, as 5.0GHz equipment was really expensive (802.11a). The wireless G standard ran on 2.4 GHz, which unfortunately has some limitations:

– Older devices use this band extensively, including cordless phones, etc. This means that the 2.4GHz band can become cluttered very easily.
– There are 13 wireless channels for 2.4GHz operation, but adjacent channels still interfere with each other! This means there are only 3 totally independent wireless channels that don’t interfere.

Here is a screenshot of WiFi Analyser showing the 2.4GHz frequency band:

image

My network is in pink. As you can see, the networks are spread across three distinct bands, which is actually great in my area! There are no access points on channels in between these three bands (eg channel 3 or 9) and causing interference on loads of other devices.

Unfortunately, there are still a fair few channels using the same frequency space as me on channel 11.

Fortunately for us, 5GHz frequency hardware has dropped in price significantly, and now we can make use of it. Advantages include:

– 23 non-overlapping wireless channels – this means many many more people can use this band before the airwaves become congested (especially useful in apartment buildings or libraries for example).
– Only newer consumer devices use this band – no cordless phones etc using up all the frequency space
– 802.11n and 802.11ac use this space to achieve superfast WiFi speeds

Range isn’t so good, but should still be adequate for most people.

Here is a screenshot of WiFi analyser showing the 5GHz frequency band in my area:

image

Yes, I am the only one that I can see from here. This means I am totally free of interference if I use 5GHz hardware. My 2013 Nexus 7 uses the 5GHz frequency band, and I can easily get the full 100Mbps connection speed, whereas I can only get anywhere between 20 and 80 on 2.4GHz.

Comment below if you have any questions and share this article with anybody who are interested in why 5GHz is much better for WiFi!

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{2 Responses to “WiFi: 2.4Ghz vs 5GHz frequency bands”}

  1. It’s hard to search out educated individuals on this topic, however you sound like you recognize what you’re speaking about! Thanks

    • Thanks for the nice comment! I wrote this post because I was having a lot of connectivity issues with my current wireless setup, and I know a lot of people who have the same issues as I do. I hope this helps!

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