Wireless 5G vs 2.4G Roaming SSID and 802.11 n/ac–Q&A

There are some misconceptions when it comes to wireless technologies for your home, WiFi. That is, your home wireless routers and what’s the best way to optimize and make the most of your existing device. Or perhaps after this myth busters article/guide you will have a better understand and decision-making power when it comes to purchasing and upgrading your next wireless router.

Myth #1 Wireless 5G is always better than 2.4G

Before we dive into what’s faster, and what makes wireless network connection fast, first we need to understand what’s 5G and what’s 2.4G. Be careful not to get confused with cellular wireless spectrum, 3G and 4G in the cellular network are referring to “Generation”. 3G  means the 3rd generation of cellular wireless technology. The “G” in WiFi means GHz, which is the actual wavelength.

Wifi operating at 2.4 GHz doesn’t mean its slower than at 5 GHz. Lower frequency means the signal can travel further, providing wider coverage. However, none wireless devices operate at or close to 2.4 GHz because of the high interference. And this is where 5 GHz excels, by having it operating at a different frequency, less interference affecting your wifi connection.

Myth #2 Should always Upgrade Wireless Router To the Highest Standard (802.11 ac, at the time of this writing)

Yes, 802.11 ac wireless router is faster than older 802.11n/g/b, but it doesn’t mean that by upgrading your wireless router you will get a better speed out of it. You will need your gadgets to support the new standard as well to take full advantage of it, or, it would be a waste of money. WiFi standards become standardized every couple years, which means some of your older laptop or smartphone or tablets might not have the latest wireless technology built-in. It’s totally up to you whether it’s a good idea upgrading your router to the latest technology before your gadgets do.

Myth #3 Which wireless network you should connect to, 2.4G and 5G version of your home network

If your wireless router supports both bands, you can enable both to broadcast on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz range. It’s a good idea to combine the SSID of both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz into one universal network. By doing so, you let the device automatically choose which frequency is the best option to switch and use when getting further or closer from the source of the signal. Also, by combining the two bands, you have effectively created a roaming network where devices connected to 5GHz can talk to the ones at 2.4GHz as if they are on the same network.

That’s all for now. Hopefully, those tips and tricks can help you to decide what to do with your next wireless router upgrade.

Jonathan Hu

Programming by day, Web Development, Canucks & Movies for spare time!
Co-founder of Next of Windows and a cool geek 🙂

Last updated: 06/16/2016

Posted in: Tips & Tricks
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