Your wireless router transmits the internet to WiFi-connected devices such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, and other devices via radio frequencies. The speed and range differences between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi are the most significant. Let’s look at the differences in more detail.

Overview of the 2.4 GHz band

Advantages: Greater coverage area; greater penetration of solid objects

Cons: Lower data rate; more susceptible to interference; typically, more devices use this frequency.

Overview of the 5 GHz band

Advantages: Higher data rate; less susceptible to interference; typically fewer devices use this frequency

Cons: Limited coverage area (except for 802.11ac); less effective at penetrating solid things.

Should you utilize the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz frequency?

A 2.4 GHz link goes further at lower rates, but 5 GHz frequencies offer greater speeds over a shorter distance. How you utilize your WiFi connection will determine whether you use 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz.

Microwaves, baby monitors, and garage door openers are among the electrical equipment and appliances that use the 2.4 GHz frequency. If you have a lot of them in your house, or if you live in an apartment or condo with many other people, the 2.4 GHz band is likely to be crowded, affecting signal quality and speed.

For a device that is closer to the router, choose 5 GHz.

If you can use most of your devices close to your router, 5 GHz is the greatest option for getting faster speeds. Similarly, if you’re performing many high-bandwidth online activities like gaming or videoconferencing, you should use this frequency and go as near the router as possible. (Better still, use an Ethernet cable to connect directly to the modem; a wired connection is always more stable and quicker than wireless.) Alternatively, if you live in an apartment or condo with many other people, 5 GHz will assist you in avoiding wireless congestion.

For a further away device from the router, use 2.4 GHz.

On the other hand, if you have a device that travels around a lot during the day (like your smartphone), the 2.4 GHz frequency is your best choice, especially if you have a big home. This wavelength has a longer range and is more capable of penetrating solid things than the 5 GHz band, making it excellent for devices moved from room to room or are further away from the router. Newer routers with 5 GHz 802.11ac WiFi, on the other hand, may achieve range coverage comparable to 2.4 GHz under the correct settings.