What is Dual Band WiFi?

What is dual band WiFi? Dual band WiFi is the in thing in internet connectivity at the moment. But what is it? You may have come across the term dual band WiFi when buying a new router or modem, or when trying to change the WiFi password on your router. In this article, we give the definition of dual band WiFi. We also show the differences between the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Finally, we give advice on which band is the best.

Definition of Dual Band WiFi

As the name implies, dual band WiFi routers and modems operate on 2 frequencies. The first band is at 2.4GHz. That is the band that’s commonly used on ordinary, single band routers. However, dual band routers and modems also broadcast on a second frequency. That’s usually at 5GHz. What this means is that these routers essentially have 2 WiFi networks. So, you can have 2 WiFi networks in your home or office coming from the same router.

Difference between the 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi bands

What is dual band WiFi
What is dual band WiFi?

You may be asking yourself what’s the different between the 2.4GHz WiFi band and the 5GHz WiFi band. People have been using single band 2.4GHz WiFi routers all along, so why did manufacturers move to have two bands on routers? The following are the differences between the 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi routers;  

The 5GHz band has greater capacity

The 5GHz band has greater capacity that the 2.4GHz band. That’s the first major difference between the two bands. With your router operating at 5GHz, you can connect a lot more devices without compromising on signal quality. But why is that important?

The internet in homes and offices used to be used only for checking mail and for surfing through websites. The websites themselves were nothing complicated and could be opened without using too much data. Those days have long since gone by. Today, the internet has become a force unto itself.

It’s used for virtually everything, from email to streaming audio and videos. Indeed, many people have now substituted traditional media sources, such as television, for the internet. The challenge that stems from that is that people need stronger and more reliable connections to successfully stream their favorite shows from the internet.

The 5GHz WiFi band has greater speeds than the 2.4GHz band

Related to the issue of capacity is that of speed. Speed is essential in the environment that we have just described. When streaming a movie or Sports, as an example, nobody wants’ to have a connection that constantly buffers. The good news is that if you have a dual band WiFi router, you can use the 5GHz band to for greater streaming speeds. That way you won’t have to pull your hair out while waiting for your favorite show to load. In terms of speeds, the following obtains, depending on other conditions;

  • The 2.4 GHz band can get WiFi speeds of up to 600 Mbps
  • The 5 GHz band supports WiFi speeds of up to 1300 Mbps

The 5GHz band suffers from less interference

One challenge for the 2.4GHz WiFi band is that there can be interference, particularly if you have other devices in your home that operate on the same frequency. Examples are cordless phones, Bluetooth devices and microwave ovens, which also operate at the 2.4GHz frequency.

One big advantage of using the 5GHz band is that there is less interference. What this means is that you will be able to surf online and stream content without issues. Again, we need to repeat that 2.4GHz works fine in most instances. However, the 5GHz band works better.

The 2.4GHz band has greater range

Based on the above, you would be forgiven for thinking that the whole world should have moved to the 5GHz WiFi band by now. However, the 2.4GHz band has its own advantages. One of these is that it has greater range. So, if you wish to connect to your WiFi while in the garden or somewhere else outside your home, you will have to use this band. However, for use inside your home near to where the router is located, the 5GHz band works best.

Advantages of Dual WiFi routers

The advantages of having dual band WiFi routers can be derived from the above arguments. For one thing, having a router that uses both bands allows you to have the faster speeds that are inherent in 5GHz connections, while maintaining the range and reliability that’s a hallmark of the 2.4GHz band.

Which WiFi band should you use?

We often get asked which band to use. Should you set up your WiFi on the 2.4GHz band or on the 5GHz band? Which band works best? Well, the answer to that is that if you have a dual band WiFi router or modem in your home or office, you should set up internet on both bands.

That way, you will have the advantages that can be found on both the 2.4GHz band and on the 5GHz band. If you really have to have only one band, then you will be best off choosing 2.4GHz. That’s the band that’s traditionally used.

Can both bands be used at once?

Again, this is a question that we sometimes get from people. They want to know if on a dual band WiFi router it’s safe to use both bands at once. The answer is yes. In fact, this is something that you should be doing. Otherwise, you will not be taking full advantage of dual band WiFi.

What you can do is to stream movies and other heavy content on the 5GHz band, while checking email and surfing online on the 2.4GHz band. Remember we said you essentially have 2 WiFi networks in your home with a dual band router. So, this is something that you should take advantage of.

Should I use the same WiFi password on a dual band router?

Some people wish to know whether or not they should use the same WiFi password on both the bands on a dual band router. The answer is yes, this is something that you can do. In fact, on some routers, this is actually recommended. However, if you prefer to use different passwords on the 5GHz WiFi band and on the 2.4GHz band, then that will also be fine.

Summary

Hope we have answered the question; “What is dual band WiFi.” Just to summarize, there is nothing mysterious about having a dual band WiFi router in your home or office. In fact, the world appears to be trending towards this ideal.

As noted above, if you have one, you should set up your WiFi on both. That way, you will be able to take advantage of the speeds and capacity of the 5GHz band and the range of the 2.4GHz band. So, in short, dual band WiFi is WiFi that uses two frequency bands. That’s usually at 2.4GHz and at 5GHz.

We have previous written articles in which we show people how to change the WiFi passwords on different types of routers. Some of them have dual bands. Here is How to Change WiFi Password Xfinity 2020. Also read our article on How to Change BT WiFi Password. You will notice that routers in both instances operate at both 5GHz and 2.4Ghz.

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