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Is 5GHz Wireless better than 2.4GHz ?

Wireless computer network equipment typically uses radio signals in either a 2.4 GHz range or a 5 GHz range.

The GHz range of a wireless radio is only partially related to the speed of a wireless network. For example, 802.11a wireless operates at 5GHz and 802.11g at 2.4GHz, but both support the same maximum data rate of 54 Mbps. However, newer 802.11n and 802.11ac routers have the capability of simultaneous dual-band operation on both 5GHz and 2.4GHz ranges, allowing clients to connect on different bands for more flexibility and less interference. 802.11ac specifically expands on that, running entirely in the 5GHz band.

Advantages of 5GHz:
The 5GHz band is less likely to be congested. The 2.4GHz frequency range is much more prone to interference, as it is commonly used by other wireless networks in the area, as well as cordless phones, garage door openers and other home appliances and consumer products. The 5GHz band can also offer much higher throughput (using the right technology) with the same channel width. It has 23 non-overlapping channels vs. only 3 in the 2.4 GHz band. 802.11ac in the 5GHz band implements many newer technologies, such as, MU-MIMO, beamforming, etc.

Disadvantages of 5GHz:
In general, the higher the frequency of a wireless signal, the shorter its range. Thus, 2.4GHz networks cover a substantially larger range than 5GHz wireless networks. In particular, the higher frequency wireless signals of 5GHz networks do not penetrate solid objects nearly as well as 2.4GHz signals, limiting their reach inside buildings with solid walls and floors. Recent 802.11ac devices, however, are able to mitigate some of this disadvantage by using beamforming.

The Bottom Line:
5GHz and 2.4GHz are simply different frequencies, each with its advantages and disadvantages. To get the best of both worlds, many recent 802.11ac routers have the capability for dual-band operation in both ranges simultaneously. 5GHz offers higher throughput at a shorter distance, while 2.4GHz offers increased coverage and higher solid object penetration. Beamforming and other newer technologies allow 802.11ac to achieve cleaner signals with 5GHz in many situations where the 2.4GHz spectrum is congested. The migration to wider adoption of 5GHz will probably continue with the shift to the higher throughput 802.11ac.

5GHz offers higher speed and less interference, at the cost of somewhat smaller range.

When choosing the band for your router, it is also important to consider the capabilities of your wireless clients. Many older laptops, tablets and other typical wireless devices still work only in the 2.4GHz band, while media streaming devices and newer phones have increasingly better adoption in the 5GHz band as well.

802.11ac routers/access points support 802.11n in the 2.4GHz band in addition to 5GHz devices, so you get two separate radios that can be used simultaneously.

See Also:
What is the actual real life speed of wireless networks ?
Wireless Network Speed Tweaks

  User Reviews/Comments:
by anonymous - 2012-04-08 10:44
My own opinion is that "N" series routers no matter 2.4 ghz,5 Ghz or a duel router that works on both. The issue is that although your devices may be N compliant for either 2.4 or 5. Does not mean you will see significant speed improvements. So many other issues still happen with compatibility, range, physical objects limiting signal and quality of hardware. For example many Mac laptops only support 2.4 N and not 5. Other issues include devices that were classified as Pre N standard compliant. Which means they adopted the N standard they thought would be the final. I have seen these devices perform poorly in speed. Some not much above the 54 G standard. I think we over think the advantages of N as it only really helps your local network speed. Do not think it will affect your internet speed because that is more controlled by your provider. Even G routers generally can provide speeds plenty above your internet connection speed.
In the end I find N series routers at 5Ghz better for close connections and fast speed and 2.4 Ghz routers for range, average speed and compatibility.
by Roland - 2013-02-20 23:06
The 2.4GHz band is also used by rural ISPs to provide fixed wireless service. My ISP,, has a 2.4GHz antenna on a tower 2.5 miles from my house. I have a 12" square panel antenna 25' up a tree that communicates with it. I don't think 5GHz could do that, especially if it's raining or snowing. Short-range local stuff should be on 5GHz.
by anonymous - 2013-05-14 15:11
The other negative to 5Ghz is the devices that support it. I have bought 2 laptops recently and neither offer 5Ghz band. The adaptors to save money I guess were only 2.4Ghz models. Actually I do have devices that support the 5Ghz band. A Apple TV and a Roku. Unfortunately neither works as well with the 5Ghz band vs the 2.4Ghz band because of the range issues. I get better throughput with the 2.4Ghz on both those devices. I highly doubt the AC Routers will take off considering their 5Ghz limitations and the fact many of those routers are expensive and their are so few devices out there yet that support it. In my personal experience the neighborhood interference with the 2.4Ghz is by far the worst issue. But given that fact a quick survey of active routers showed only 1 out of 8 even had 5Ghz band available. I question a lot about the numbers with the new N standard in wireless. I think manufactures of routers deceive consumers on its effectiveness and real world speed when faced with other wireless stations nearby. It happened in my case as I bought a duel band Netgear router (brand really does not matter). They of course advertise 300mbps speeds but fail to acknowledge that in fact when the router picks up other stations it defaults to a max of 150mbps in the 2.4Ghz band. Since that is my situation, I could have easily saved myself money buying a single band 2.4Ghz that maxed out at 150Mbps and been no further behind in speed. Its sad router makers play on the ignorance of consumers to sell them higher priced products. My broadband is rated at 25mbps down and 5mbps up. I would have had plenty of overhead with even a basic 2.4Ghz router. Buy what you need not what the marketing tells you.
by Wolferine - 2013-06-08 08:48
2.4 & 5GHz looks like they could be used together as a wireless mesh network, using 2.4GHz to connect devices, like laptops, smartphones, tablets, and security cameras, to the network, as most 802.11 [WiFi] standards are compatible with the 2.4GHz band but not the 5GHz band, and then use the 5GHz for backhauling back to a wired DSL connection to the Internet for computers or a recording and monitoring system for CCTV, for example. And because more data can be transmitted through 5GHz than through 2.4GHz, it could means that the same amount of data could be transmitted with less modules or nodes or at a higher speed using the same number of nodes, even though 5GHz has a short range than 2.4GHz but that can be mitigated somewhat with sophisticated antenna technology, especially when you consider all the other devices that emit in the 2.4GHz band and can cause interference
by honestly people - 2013-09-29 00:01
The point of a high speed network is for local connectivity. Like NAS. (Or "time capsule" for you mac fanbois) or so I can watch a video that is on a computer "A", SHARE IT OVER MY NETWORK, and watch it on phone/computer "B". And transfer files from my home computer to my laptop before a business trip. Etc... Internet =/= local network.
by treeMack - 2014-03-15 23:09
Observable evidence seems to disagree. I just got the ASus RT-ac68u and it's a dual band router, generating identifiable 2.4 and 5 ghz band wireless connections. I tested with both and the 5ghz screems!! We have multiple wireless devices in our house and the devices that recognize the 5ghz band access the internet much faster than the ones using the 2.4 band. Not all that scientific I'll admit, but that's my observation.
by Kevin - 2014-06-07 11:47
I have a 2.4 and 5 ghz gateway from comcast. It is their latest gateway router. They both are next to the same hollow drywall wall. I know this because I nicked a. whole through it to get a network cable from my gateway to my xbox one. The gateway is on a desk the xbox one is about 5!feet to the right on the floor. The desk is made out of solid cherry wood. The. Xbox one is under a tv stand made out of cheap partial board. The Xbox says I am getting the speed of 102 down and 21 up, but the Xbox says I am getting a latency of 245 that is why I made the whole through the way to hard wire it because hard wired I am getting a latency of 253. Is it the position or the gateway. I was thinking about getting a nighthawk router if that will get my latecy on the N 5 ghz range to the same or really close latency. when I has hard wired to my 6120 Motorola cable modem I was getting 105/22 and a latecy hard wired to the comcast eq I am getting varying speeds and a latency of 83. please advise if I should buy the nighthawk and write at

Thanks in Advance Kevin
by anonymous - 2014-06-21 21:04
I'm searching this topic but I just ran a speed test. 2.4ghz got 2mbs down and 5ghz got 16 mobs down... I repeated the test a few times. That doesn't seem right. I have a 2.4ghz vpn router plugged in and now I'm thinking I should get a dual band vpn router if there's that much difference. Can this be right?
by ADD - 2014-08-13 10:58
I have the same issue. 2.5 Ghz speed is very low but 5 Ghz is really fast.

I guess because we have a lot of other 2.5 ghz devices the interference causes speed reduction.
by anonymous - 2014-09-02 22:02
Can you get a booster or something that will improve the 5 ghtz wireless connection or range?
by Philip - 2014-10-29 00:10
You can improve the range by using a newer generation 802.11ac router that employs MU-MIMO and beamforming, you can add a second router as an access point (connected to the first one with an Ethernet cable), and, lastly yes, you can add an extender/repeater but that cuts speed in half, so it is the least desirable option.
by anonymous - 2014-10-29 09:14
You can add repeaters or boosters but many times they actually reduce overall speed to do so. In fact your better off using running one as a access point and the other as the main router/switch to the modem.
This way you have two wireless points with local IP addresses being assigned by the main router. You run a CAT5 cable to the other wireless router and set it to simply be a access point with a separate station ID. Although the main side effect is that if your only using the 2.4 band you may actually cause interference between the two. Personally I am more inclined to simply buy a better router with improved signal handling abilities.
by Eric Stealth - 2015-01-10 00:20
My issue with the 5GHz signal is the range regardless of whether it is 802.11n or 802.11ac. Even with beamforming it doesn't help me when I'm working on the 1st floor and the wireless router is on the 2nd floor. It is somewhat frustrating that I have to keep switching to the 2.4 GHz router when I'm further away. So I use the 5GHz signal purely for the download speeds.
by Damon - 2015-01-28 00:33
We had an old Time Capsule that was running slow and poor signal on first floor. Added two more access points (new Time Capsule and AirPort Extreme) that are wired to our FiOS router via Ethernet. Now getting more dropped signal on all devices including smart tv and roku and more buffering on tablets. Thoughts? Is it the wireless band, channel, or what?
by Philip - 2015-01-28 08:08

Wireless channels in the 2.4GHz band overlap, so you probably need to do a survey and properly setup your access points on different channels (or/and use 5GHz for streaming/shorter distances). There is a bit more info here:

For more in-depth personal assistance, try our forums.
by anonymous - 2015-05-27 10:35
Just wanted to note the difference between LAN speed and WAN throughput. Having an N router rated 150, 300, 450, etc., refers to LAN speeds. Typical wired connections on any decent setup offers 1GBps speeds, wireless N offers a fraction of that depending on the rating of the router. 5GHz can improve speed within the LAN, but routers are also rated on LAN-to-WAN throughput that can throttle internet connection speed. Better routers will not only have better wireless range and speed, but also better throughput, especially if you have a very high speed line (75Mbps+)
by anonymous - 2015-07-08 12:32
Not necessarily true anymore. My isp offers wireless in many rural and almost all of it runs in the 5Ghz range. It is a pretty reliable service, for being wireless. The only problems I have heard of is when people go out and buy these 5Ghz routers that actually interfere with the signal. Personally, I don't see the point of having a dual band router as most devices don't currently support the 5Ghz spectrum anyways. All you end up doing is wasting money on a frequency that most, if not all, of your devices can't even use.

But at least you can brag to your friends that you shelled out $50-$200 more on a router than anyone should ever need to...
by anonymous - 2015-07-27 16:11
Most of my devices support the 5 Ghz band - all are after 2009. Two laptops, iPad, iPad Mini, iPhone 6, Apple TV. My thrmostat and swireless sprinkler support 2.4 Ghz.

How old a device is often determines the support for 5 Ghz. I get bettter thru-put on 5 Ghz as there are over 12 wireless 2.4 lan and many 2.4 Ghz phones and keyboards in the area.
by JoDa - 2015-11-06 20:12
I live in a condo building (~20 units) in a large city in a dense-ish neighborhood. I can see 15+ wireless networks on my computer. Switching to a 5 GHz router has made ALL the difference. Where I was getting 9-15 mbps (sometimes LESS) when I wanted to use my WiFi (which, apparently, was when everyone else did, too) on a 2.4 GHz connection, I now get around 30 consistently (I pay for 25, so that's SOLID!).

My Macbook Air and Samsung Galaxy S4 both already had dual-band capability. I have an old (PC) desktop tower for streaming directly to my TV, and I'm "updating" that with a dual-band USB wireless adapter for just a few bucks (it works great owing to use only for streaming services, but is old enough to not be dual-band).

I was going CRAZY with the slow speeds I was experiencing. What a relief that the fix was easy and will cost me only about $60 total at the end of the day. If you can see a lot of WiFi networks or there are lots of other things on the 2.4 GHz band around you (cordless phones, baby monitors, etc.), a 5 GHz router might just save the day. Since most are dual-band, you don't *have* to upgrade old equipment, I'm just doing that with the tower because I want to be able to use that for streaming without stress and delay.
by JoDa - 2015-11-21 20:19
Update after full implementation...everything is wonderful again. The USB adapter for the old PC tower works wonderfully and was a piece of cake to install (that tower was recently upgraded to Windows 10, and the adapter still works flawlessly). I can surf (light stuff...checking social media, email, upload/download small files like spreadsheets and documents, etc.) and stream simultaneously with no speed issues. My WiFi also disconnects closer to my own unit (when leaving with my phone), which means less interference with surrounding units/buildings. It's still far enough away that even large-ish homes would get coverage, but close enough that my neighbors two floors down and across the building aren't getting interference from me (and vice-versa, if they upgrade to 5 GHz). All in all, highly recommend if your speeds are fine when wired in but slow using a good-quality 2.4 GHz router and there are lots of sources of interference.
by jacqueline - 2017-02-13 01:48
Just to let some air out of this 5Ghz is faster than 2.4Ghz baloon, the Ghz is not what is making your 5Ghz *seem* faster its the other technology in the router. most newer routers that have 5Ghz also have ac (capable of 1Gbs) whereas the 2.4 is max N (max of 600Mbs) if you actually set your dual band router so that *both* the 2.4 and 5 are at N only you will not see much difference in speed if any, because the band does not actually affect the speed by much its just that like i said the 5Ghz has the newer ac wich supports much higher throughput and they don't have that on 2.4 Ghz. so in reality 5 is NOT faster than 2.4 on the frequency itself its the router technology (which has nothing to do with wether its 2.4 or 5 Ghz) thats giving your 5Ghz devices higher speeds. those who do not believe me do the same test I did. I went into my router (which happens to be an ac with 1.2Gbs speed on 5Ghz) and changed the 5Ghz to be N *ONLY* then did a test and the speed was only off by a few Kbps. so as I said and will repeat its the technology of the router not the band that is giving people the higher speed.
by anonymous - 2017-03-31 06:03
People can attempt to blow the hot air our of the 5Ghz vs the 2.4Ghz all they like. For me, running an office infrastructure with up to 80 people connected at any one time, plus the interference of other offices routers from other companies in the building - It makes a huge difference. I can imagine a home user with naff all around them will not see much benefit, but for those using multiple access points and suffer with a heavily congested 2.4Ghz band - It is money well spent. As always, different courses for different horses.
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