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2.4g vs 5g WiFi – What You Need to Know

(Last Updated On: November 1, 2017)

Most households are accustomed to using WiFi through the 2.4 GHz band. But an old standard called 5G is reemerging as a better, stronger WiFi signal to your computer and other devices on your network.

2.4g vs 5g WiFi

To understand why 5G is becoming popular once again, let’s review the history of Wifi standards and their evolution to the present day.

802.11a: The first standard

The first standard was put into specification under the name 802.11a. As the first WiFi standard, 802.11a had numerous bugs, incompatibilities, and other issues that prevented it from becoming widespread in its early years, which also diminished the usage of the 5G radio band on which it was based.

At the same time, another standard was quickly being developed called 802.11b. Lessons were learned, and routers and modems that incorporated this newer standard were cheaper as well since the parts they required were less expensive than those in the older modems. As a result,  802.11b became the more popular Wifi standard and achieved mass-market usage, which also popularized usage of the 2.4g band.

A victim of its own popularity

As more devices began to connect to the Internet, the popularity of 2.4 G started to become its own downside. Early peripherals did not use much bandwidth, but with the advent of Bluetooth technology, many more devices exploded in the usage of the 2.4 G spectrum.

From wireless printers shared across the entire network, to wireless mouse and keyboard at every desk, and Bluetooth headsets and speakers 2.4g has become a crowded radio band. And that means a lot of signal interference.

A return to 5G

While 802.11a may be an old standard, new Wi-Fi specs have emerged in recent times. 802.11n was released in 2009, and many modems and routers since then are compatible with it. More recently, we have seen the release of the spec 802.11ac. This is the highest bandwidth WiFi specification currently in use. Modems and routers made after 2014 are likely to have adopted 802.11ac.

Does this mean you need to do a significant network reconfiguration in order to enjoy the benefits of these newer specs? The answer is no. In fact, you can buy these modems, switch your signal to 5G, and they will work fine if your hardware is compatible. If your computer is not, it will instantly lose connectivity and you can simply switch back to 2.4g.

Why should you consider switching to a 5g signal? 5g typically offers stronger connectivity due to less signal interference. It allows you to enjoy the benefits of a less crowded radio spectrum than 2.4 G with a stronger and sometimes faster connection as a result.

Reasons to stick with 2.4 g

There is a reason that 2.4g is still a good option for some households. It has a longer operational range, meaning you can connect to a 2.4g modem from a further distance than 5g. This may be harder to understand since 5g connections are stronger when you’re in range, but the distance this band carrier signal is less.

This is the trade-off you make with 5g. It’s worth trying out both standards to see which one produces the optimal online experience for your home network.

About the author

Sean Dezoysa creates content for the technology and finance industries. To learn more about Sean’s content marketing services, visit his website at http://b2bcontent.cf

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Sidharth Pk

Sidharth. Professional Blogger. Android dev. Audiophile. Find us on Google+
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