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What is the best WiFi frequency between 2.4GHz and 5GHz?

by Jul 19, 2017All articles, Networking, Wireless Hardware1 comment

2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi frequency for networks

In this post, we help you choose the best WiFi frequency for your network, highlighting the main differences between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.

When setting up your Wi-Fi access points, you might wonder if the best WiFi frequency for your deployment is 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz. The answer is that they both work well, depending on your needs. Let’s see in what cases it is best to use either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz WiFi frequency to provide a well-performing wireless experience.


If coverage is key choose 2.4 GHz


One of the main differences between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi frequencies is the range they provide: the 2.4 GHz band covers a larger area and provides a longer range. Accordingly, if you need your Wi-Fi network signal to reach a large area, it is best to opt for 2.4 GHz. For instance, a holiday resort with bungalows and camping areas. Possibly, you can still switch to 5 GHz, but in this case, you need to configure more access points to broaden the Wi-Fi signal.


If bandwidth is key choose 5 GHz


Compared to the 2.4 GHz band, 5 GHz provides a lower coverage: when the frequency increases, its ability to penetrate solid objects decreases. But at the same time, the higher the frequency, the faster data is transmitted: accordingly, 5 GHz WiFi frequency carries more data and transmits it at a faster speed. Therefore, if your priority is to provide an excellent Wi-Fi performance as for speed, go for 5 GHz. For instance, hotels targeting business travelers need to provide guests with a fast Wi-Fi connection, which allows them to stream movies online, upload and download files, etc. In this case, a significant amount of network traffic is generated, and bandwidth availability is necessary to handle it.


If you experience interferences choose 5 GHz


The 5 GHz band has 23 channels compared to 2.4 GHz, which provides 11 channels (keep in mind that channel availability depends on the country in which the deployment is located). Also, 5 GHz is characterised by more spectrum availability, as fewer devices use it compared to the overcrowded 2.4 GHz band. Indeed, the majority of wireless technologies operate at 2.4 GHz, i.e. cordless phones, garage door openers, microwaves, Bluetooth devices, etc. These two differences are the reason why WiFi networks using 5 GHz WiFi frequency experience less interferences from other devices compared to WiFi connections using 2.4 GHz. Accordingly, if your Wi-Fi network is located where many interferences from other devices slow down your connection, we suggest opting for 5 GHz WiFi frequency.


If price is key choose 2.4 GHz

Last but not least, you should know that the price of 5 GHz access points is higher than 2.4 GHz access points. This is due to the fact that 5 GHz is newer in the market. Furthermore, many 5 GHz devices also support 2.4 GHz radios.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 873466.

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