If you’re using a wireless Fibre router, you have probably noticed that your router is emitting two distinct Wifi signals. The first is your 2.4GHz signal and the other is your 5GHz signal.
So, what’s the difference and which should you use?
The answer is: both but in different situations. Both frequencies have their pros and cons, and you will have to decide which to use based on what you are using it for, where you are using it and how many people are connected at once.
Range: The 2.4GHz signal has a much longer range than the 5GHz signal. So if you are sitting near the router (like in the same room) your 5GHz signal will work flawlessly. If you are elsewhere in or around your home you should choose to connect via the 2.4GHz signal because it will get there more reliably.
Speed: While the 2.4GHz signal undoubtedly has the farthest range, the 5GHz signal has the capacity to go much faster. If it’s speed you’re after you should position yourself (or your device) in the same room as the router and work from there. This is good to keep in mind if you are scheduling downloads. It also bears thinking about when you are deciding where to position your router in your home.
The number of Devices and Interference: Your 2.4GHz signal suffers more interference than the 5GHz signal. The 2.4GHz signal offers fewer channel options with only three of them not overlapping. The 5GHz signal offers 23 non-overlapping channels. Your 2.4GHz signal also suffers more interference from offline devices like microwaves and radios. Furthermore, fewer devices use a 5GHz signal, so it’s likely to be less crowded.
The Long and Short of it: 5GHz is faster and more efficient, but you need to be near the router to use it. 2.4GHz is a little slower and suffers more from interference, but it has a much longer range and can be used from further away.