When choosing between 2.4GHz and 5GHz internet, your choice largely depends on your needs – so it is always helpful to compare the differences between them to help you make a more informed choice.
If you have a Wi-Fi router, chances are that it gives you the choice of using Wi-Fi on two frequency bands if it uses the 802.11n or newer standards. These two bands are the 2.4GHz band and the 5GHz band.
You might likely notice this when searching for the Wi-Fi network on a new device that is not connected to it, and see that it offers two, sometimes three networks with the same name, although one of them or two of them were meant to handle 5GHz frequency.
Which band should you choose?
Your decision will depend largely on your needs. If you want additional coverage area, the 2.4GHz band is best, as well as if your house has many objects that can result in interference. This band is also ideal if you are connecting to the internet to do low-bandwidth online activities, such as browsing.
On the other hand, 5GHz is ideal if you are doing high-bandwidth online activities, such as playing RPG (role-playing games) and FPS (first person shooter) games like Assassin’s Creed, as well as streaming videos in HD or UHD (4K) quality. It will also work if you want to connect more devices in your house.
Differences between 2.4GHz and 5GHz
Range (on average)
150 feet indoors, 300 feet outdoors
50 feet indoors, 100 feet outdoors
Number of channels (total)
Frequency on each channel
Maximum of 450 to 600 Mbps
Maximum of 1.3 Gbps
A comparison review between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz
The main benefit you get when using 2.4GHz is a wider coverage area, although this comes at the expense of speed. It also limits the number of devices you can connect to one router, but this is also a common problem because it tends to have a higher number of devices connecting to it due to its range. When overcrowding on the network happens, you start noticing issues such as dropped connections, slower Wi-Fi speeds than usual, interference, and other issues.
With that being said, this Wi-Fi type is the most ideal option if you want a wide coverage in your home. You can also use it from longer distances, since its low frequencies are better at penetrating through solid objects like walls and doors.
- Better at penetrating solid obstacles
- Larger coverage area
- Tends to have more devices on it, despite its device accommodation limitations
- More vulnerable to slow speeds and interference issues
- Lower data rates
Unlike the 2.4GHz band, the 5GHz band supports higher speeds, and its greater number of channels allows you to connect many more devices. It also tends to be less crowded, so there is less interference on it, resulting in more stable internet connections.
This is the band to choose if you want high speeds, although its disadvantage is the limited coverage area. Additionally, not many Wi-Fi enabled devices will support it, compared to the 2.4GHz band.
- Higher data rates
- Lower chances of interference
- Fewer devices use it, so speeds are stable and high
- Limited coverage area, except if you are using an 802.11ac router
- Poor penetration of solid obstacles
Choosing the right Wi-Fi band: Buying a router
When you buy a router, you must consider the two bands to know which one is best for you, since it is common of modern routers to have both bands – these are also referred to as dual band routers, and some are triple-band routers.
Some factors you need to consider are:
The size of your home
If you have a large home, you will need a larger coverage area, so the 2.4GHz band is best in this case. A smaller home can use both 2.4 and 5GHz bands, although the 5GHz option is best as it will reduce interference from other networks.
Obstacles and interferences
As we mentioned earlier, the 2.4GHz band is more prone to interference due to the number of devices on it, which include garage door openers, baby monitors, microwaves, older routers, Bluetooth devices, and so on.
This makes 5GHz a better choice as it will help solve interferences that slow down the speed of your Wi-Fi connection, as long as you place the device in close proximity to the router. You will also access unique channels, which means there is less overlapping and better performance.
Types of devices you use
The 2.4GHz band relies on longer waves while the 5GHz band relies on shorter waves. This makes 2.4GHz Wi-Fi better if you want to access the network at longer distances, when you want to access the internet for low-bandwidth activities, or when your home has many solid obstacles such as walls.
Conversely, the 5GHz band works better for high-bandwidth activities due to the shorter waves and higher speeds.
The best application is spreading out your devices across the two bands to reduce competition for the channels and boost your Wi-Fi security while ensuring that the performance of the network remains at its peak.
MoCA (Multimedia over Coax Alliance) Options
If you want to maximize the reliability of the home network, it is best to consider installing a Wi-Fi extender with MoCA such as MoCA Network Adapters, which will work as long as your home has coaxial wiring.
By using these extender or adapter types, they will increase the reliability of your home network and increase your internet speeds as well.
Both 2.4 and 5GHz Wi-Fi bands serve unique purposes in terms of connectivity, so your choice will depend on your needs and your goals in using and setting up the network.
Is CenturyLink 2.4 GHz or 5GHz?
Their modern routers use both bands, so you can adjust the band you are using through the router’s settings.
How do I split my 2.4 GHz and 5GHz CenturyLink?
You first connect an internet-enabled device to the internet through an Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi, and access the modem settings interface (http://192.168.0.1) through a web browser using your admin credentials. Under this GUI, you will find the wireless setup settings, where you can change the setting through the ‘Radio Setup’ menu.