Difference Between 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi Internet (With Table)

To transmit internet signals to all the devices connected to Wi-Fi, routers use radio frequencies. The numbers 2.4 and 5 represent these frequencies.Where video streaming is tireless in 5GHz radio wave-based Wi-Fi connection, Internet connectivity to the last corner of your house is relieving with a 2.4 GHz radio wave-based Wi-Fi connection.

2.4GHz vs 5GHz

The main difference between 2GHz and 5 GHz is that the former is slow but offers more range than the latter. For light requirements like browsing, 2.4GHz will do the job but for heavy usage like gaming, streaming, 5GHz will be the right choice.

2.4GHz is one of the frequencies used by the router for short-range data transfer. It is suitable for big houses but is slow in speed. It is also supported by single band and old devices. Due to limited non-overlapping channels and abundant use, its performance decreases.

5GHz was introduced after 2.4 GHz. Its high-speed transmission puts an end to buffering. It is used by limited devices and hence it experiences less interference. Its efficiency is best noted when the user is nearby.It is supported by double and triple band.

Comparison Table Between 2.4GHz and 5GHz

Property2.4GHz5GHz
SpeedSlow (150-600mbps)Fast
(1300mbps)
RangeMore(150-300ft) changes with standardLess(about half the range of 2.4GHz)
Bandwidth 20-40 MHz 20-160 MHz
PenetrationIt can penetrate solid objects.It cannot penetrate solid objects.
Compatibility Compatible with almost all devices. Not compatible with old devices.

What is 2.4GHz Wi-Fi?

Protocol 802.11 was released in 1997 operating with frequency 2.4GHz. This is the frequency of radio waves (Wi-Fi) used to transmit data for short-range. It is supported by a lot of devices, both new and old. It can penetrate through solid objects. Later released standards i.e. 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n also use this frequency. Many appliances like microwaves and garage doors use the 2.4GHz radio waves.

The key point to note is that 2.4 GHz radio wave-based Wi-Fi internet is highly prone to slowing down of speeds due to multiple connections henceforth making its internet speed capability of 600 Mbps fall drastically. It is suggested to use 2.4 GHz radio wave-based Wi-Fi if the internet consumption is less than 25-50 Mbps which is pocket friendly and saves a ton of money and exertion.

What is 5GHz Wi-Fi?

In 1999, a new standard 802.11a was introduced with a 5GHz radio band. It has existed ever since but gained popularity with the introduction of dual-band which breaks the myth believed by people that 5GHz radio wave frequency is new technology revolutionizing the tech market.

It provides phenomenal stability when it comes to connections with uploading and downloading speeds going off the roof with connection drops and dips to as low as nil in numbers but since this radio wave is very susceptible to obstructions, therefore, obstructions like walls and doors will cause fall in range by as high as a quarter or 25% (approx.).

Furthermore, it helped to boost the speed of transmission, but there are some shortcomings. It cannot penetrate through solid objects, so it doesn’t solve the problem for big house owners whilst it is suggested to stay closer to the router for better connections and speeds, but this issue is solved through one exception which are the routers running on 5GHz with 802.11ac architecture which manage to provide with a range closer to routers with 2.4GHz.

It is not compatible with old devices. The one issue faced in this dual-band Wi-Fi radio wave is that while upgrading to a newer version can turn out useful, it can backfire anytime and cause drastic problems ranging from network speed fall to decrease in range, but it is recommended to use 5 GHz radio wave-based Wi-Fi when network consumption way higher than what 2.4 GHz radio wave-based Wi-Fi connections have to offer.

Usually, IT-based companies are recommended to rely on this technology if only the IT business is completely reliant on the internet but may turn out as a bad choice for a typical environment. Military and radar frequencies are based on 5 GHz radio wave architecture.

Main Differences Between 2.4GHz and 5GHz

  1. Speed of transmission- comparatively 5GHz is faster than 2.4 GHz.
  2. Range-2.4GHz offers more range as compared to 5 GHz.Bigger workspace and houses go well with 2.4GHz as 5GHz has a low range and it cannot penetrate the walls.
  3. Non-overlapping channels-2.4GHz has just 3 non-overlapping out of 11 channels whereas 5GHz has 24 non-overlapping channels.
  4. Interference-5GHz experiences less interference because fewer devices use 5GHz. Overcrowding is common in 2.4GHz due to tons of devices like microwaves, cordless phones connected to it, lesser non-overlapping channels affecting the performance of the bandwidth.
  5. 2.4GHz is older than compared to the younger 5GHz.
  6. The single band supports only the 2.4GHz frequency band whereas the double and triple-band support both of them.
  7. Devices that support 5GHz are very few in number.

Conclusion

Both 2.4 GHz and 5Ghz are part of WLAN. These frequency bands have their own advantages and disadvantages. For better speed and heavy usage with fewer and limited devices 5GHz is the right pick. Downloading and uploading are speedy.

Low interference and more non-overlapping channels. If the range is the priority and cannot be compromised with several connections being numerous, then 2.4GHz will do what is necessary.The devices that support 5GHz are limited whereas those supporting 2.4GHz are plenty in the count.

The main point to note is that choice of the type of Wi-Fi band is based completely on the need of the user but noting that newer routers come with support to both types of radio wave frequencies in it choice can be made accordingly wisely.

Perhaps, a new radio wave being introduced in the market with the name of 6 GHz has been rumoured to put an end to the tiring brainer of the choice between the speed of range since this radio wave promised to provide as a jack of all.

References

  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/7414038
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/8024280