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2.4GHz or 5GHz WiFi: Which one to choose?

WiFi is not just for laptops and smartphones. It is also an essential part of modern life, connecting everything to the Internet and helping remote workers do their jobs from anywhere. But how much do you know about WiFi? Do you know which frequency should be used in your office or at home?

The frequency of a WiFi signal plays a significant role in how well it can penetrate physical objects and the type of devices it can use. For example, 2.4GHz is less affected by walls and other obstacles, but 5GHz has faster speeds and a more extended range — making it better for use in crowded environments like offices or large homes.


Difference between 2.4GHz and 5GHz

Your WiFi router is a device that allows you to connect devices like smartphones, laptops, and tablets with the Internet. The difference between 2.4GHz or 5GHz comes down in the range, which can be up to 100 feet away, depending on how many walls are blocking it. And it also comes down to speed: While 3MB/s will feel slow if your Internet service offers only 1Mbps upload speeds, 20MBps would seem fast. Everyone wants “fast” — because there’s simply not enough time for anything else!

Let’s investigate this closer.

2.4GHz 5GHz
Pros: Large coverage area, better at penetrating solid object Pros: Higher data rate; less prone to interference; usually fewer devices using this frequency
Cons: Lower data rate; more prone to interference; usually more devices using this frequency Cons: Smaller coverage area; worse at penetrating solid objects
Maximum connection speed: ~150 Mbps Maximum connection speed: ~1 Gbps
Max signal range from router: ~410 ft Max signal range from router: ~410 ft amplified

2.4GHz frequency band

2.4 GHz is the best for multipurpose use because of its ability to penetrate objects and transmit data more efficiently. Still, it has some drawbacks such as interference from other devices on this frequency range and being slower than 5Ghz, which gives off stronger signals with faster speeds.

5GHz frequency band

You’ll get a higher speed on 5GHz if you’re in the same room with your router. This is because it doesn’t penetrate walls and other objects, so there will be less interference from other devices using that frequency.

With 5GHz, you can get up to 1,300 Mbps, unlike lower-frequency bands, which have poor signal strength on walls and other objects, especially if they’re far away from an access point that broadcasts at this frequency. But, of course, you’ll find better results when connecting wirelessly if you’re near the WiFi source.

Know your device frequency band

The number at the end of your WiFi name is essential and can help you determine which frequency band it’s on. If there isn’t one, then the odds are good that 2.4GHz is what we’re working with here since this type doesn’t come equipped with additional letters or numbers like 5GHz does.

Which one to choose?

As we’ve said, WiFi connections come in various frequencies, with 2.4GHz being slower but suitable for longer ranges while 5GHz provides faster speeds at shorter distances. Therefore, it’s essential to choose the right kind depending on where you plan to use your WiFi signal most often. This will dictate which transmission mode (2.4GHz or 5GHz) is best suited to fulfill all needs without any drawbacks.

Microwaves, baby monitors, and garage door openers are likely to operate on the 2.4GHz frequency, leading them to be crowded by other signals, making speed slower or worse.

I’m sure you’ve noticed how your favorite devices slow down when there’s too much going on nearby. That same principle applies here — though it might not seem as dramatic with something like microwaves because they don’t rely solely upon electromagnetic radiation for communication (like cell phones). So if these types of equipment emit energy waves instead of radioactivity, then interference becomes an issue that needs attention before things take off.

2.4GHz for farther devices

The 5GHz band is more sensitive than 2.4GHz because of its shorter range and inability to penetrate solid objects easily. This makes 2.4GHz best suited for someone with a large home who wants coverage throughout their dwelling.

5GHz for closer devices

If you’re doing a lot of high-bandwidth activities online, such as gaming or videoconferencing, and your device doesn’t need to be moved around much, then 5GHz is the best choice. Similarly, if it can be located near your router, this frequency would provide higher speeds in comparison with 2.4GHz frequencies. Fewer people will affect its performance when using an Ethernet connection instead of WiFi (which operates at slower rates).

What are MoCA options?

So, what to do? Invest in a WiFi Network Extender with MoCA for the best home network as long as your house has coaxial wiring. An excellent alternative is also a MoCA Adapter or two. These devices will help you get speeds up to 2.5Gbps. They will also provide much more reliable coverage than just one router can do on its own. Which we all know isn’t always enough these days when everything in our lives has become so fast-paced.

Featured image: Shutterstock

Ali Qamar

Ali Qamar is a privacy and cybersecurity enthusiast. His work has been featured in major tech and security blogs, including InfosecInstitute, Hackread, ValueWalk, Intego, and SecurityAffairs. He is the founder and editor of now. Follow Ali on Twitter @AliQammar57.

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Ali Qamar

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