Tech Tip Tuesday: Getting the Most Out of Your Wireless Router

Is there a difference between 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz for wireless routers?

You just bought a new router and you’re excited to get it setup. After fumbling your way through the confusing settings you’re puzzled to discover there are two networks, a 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz. Wondering what the difference is? Here’s what you need to know to get the most out of your wireless device.

Wireless routers emit radio signals that vibrate at a particular speed or “frequency,” measured in Hertz (Hz); a billion Hertz equals one GigaHertz (GHz).  The 2.4 Ghz wireless band is a very crowded place due to a lot of interfering devices that use the same frequency like cordless phones, garage door openers, Bluetooth devices, baby monitors, even microwave ovens! By contrast, the 5 Ghz band is more ideally suited for video streaming and gaming (which are very sensitive to packet loss and delays) because it can transmit higher amounts of data, and it’s naturally less congested. Because of the higher frequency, 5 Ghz does have a downside in that it is less able to penetrate solid walls and objects, so if you go outside your house to use your laptop, your connection might drop. Another thing to consider is that older devices only run on 2.4 Ghz and can’t see 5 Ghz.

Dual Band Wireless Routers have the capability to transmit two independent wireless networks at the same time, one on the 2.4 GHz band for the increased range and compatibility with legacy devices, the other on the 5GHz band, with shorter range but less interference. This is the perfect setup for those seeking to maximize performance within a home network.

Knowing which network to use and when is going to ultimately win the day if you start experiencing weak or slow data transmission, or if the signal simply cuts out altogether.