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5Ghz vs 2.4Ghz

Discussion in 'General Wireless Discussion' started by wyfy, Mar 13, 2018 at 5:02 PM.

  1. wyfy

    wyfy New Around Here

    Mar 7, 2018
    Is it true that I should be putting specific types of devices on one frequency and other devices on the other frequency? I've just been using 5Ghz whenever possible on any device that supports it. I've only been announcing 2.4Ghz for older devices.

    I over heard some people talking about how they put the roku on a specific network and their phones connect to a different network because 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz were better for video or for devices that ping a lot but don't send data?

    This would be news to me and I didn't know the people talking so I didn't interrupt but it's piqued my curiosity.
  2. Internet Man

    Internet Man Regular Contributor

    Sep 1, 2017
    2.4GHz devices are more common so there is more likely to be interference. The newer and faster 802.11ac standard only works on 5GHz. 5GHz signals are less able to penetrate solid objects than 2.4GHz so the range tends to be lower.
  3. Klueless

    Klueless Senior Member

    Jan 1, 2016
    Rochester, NY
    Next time interrupt and ask. People are often flattered to expound on their views.

    I've not heard that either (so it's probably true : -) I like what you've been doing but distance also comes into play.

    I'm simple so I keep things simple. I typically run four SSIDs.
    • "Further" on 2.4 GHz
      • Far field devices & TVs, devices with 2.4 GHz only.
    • "Faster" on 5 GHz
      • Near field devices & TVs
    • "Both"; 2.4 & 5 GHz
      • Mobile devices and devices that I haven't bothered to categorize as "fast" or "far"
    • "Guest"; 2.4 & 5 GHz with no access to my Intranet (servers, printers, etc.)
    I suppose I could simply use "both" for everything but I noticed my upstairs TVs would choose 5GHz with intermittent performance so I started pretending I knew better (than my TVs) and started choosing and locking the obvious (fixed location) devices. (My problem could have been due to solid core doors getting closed at night and smart TV not smart enough to switch over to better connection?)
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2018 at 8:01 AM
  4. MichaelCG

    MichaelCG Senior Member

    Jan 4, 2017
    Central US
    There are many theories on the "most bestest" way to lay out your WiFi connectivity. Some are fact, some are fiction, some are a mix of both.

    There are generally three things to consider:
    - Range
    - Performance
    - Security

    2.4GHz easily has longer range than 5GHz in the majority of use cases. It's ability to penetrate objects with less attenuation helps make it through walls, floors, and furniture more effectively. This is a double edge sword though....since 2.4GHz can penetrate walls easily, this is where the interference from your neighbors comes in since their WiFi can easily intrude on your airspace and vice versa.

    2.4GHz will be more limited in overall speed than 5GHz. Even in clear airspace, 2.4GHz is limited to "N" speeds while 5GHz can get to "AC" and what ever the next faster standards will be. Even in taking the higher link rates out of the picture, 2.4GHz will generally have more interference issues from neighboring devices. These could be your next door neighbors, a Sonos bridge, an Arlo bridge, ZigBee devices, or gobs of other wireless devices that operate in the 2.4GHz band.

    Building on this, if you have lower bandwidth chatty devices, you don't always want them on your 5GHz since their constant chatter will take away maximum performance from other clients. So that webcam that only needs 1-2Mbps, but runs all the time, it has the potential to impact your 4K streaming performance.

    Some people like to isolate higher risk devices (printers, cameras, IoT, guests, etc) to their own SSID that drops to their own isolated network segment. With this isolation comes trade-offs. If it is a printer or a Sonos or some other similar device, the broadcasts that the device and the client depend on won't be heard. There are ways around some of this...just takes more work.

    You will have to weigh all of these options and create a solution that meets your needs. Some people like using different SSID for each band so they can somewhat control which devices are on which radio. Some like using a single SSID to simplify overall setup and roaming.

    In my house...I have multiple APs running two SSIDs. One for my primary devices and one for guest. I use the same SSID for both bands and let the multiple APs handle the bandwidth concerns. So even if my wife is streaming her Netflix shows in the Living Room, my laptop in my office still can easily get 300Mbps+ since it is connected to a completely different AP. As I walk around the house, my phone determines which AP has the better signal and switches on its own. Sometimes it ends up on 2.4GHz, but the majority of the time it stays on 5GHz.
    Klueless likes this.
  5. coxhaus

    coxhaus Very Senior Member

    Oct 7, 2010
    I think the real test for me with multiple APs is running FaceTime and walking around without the call dropping. The iPad should just switch APs as you walk around and not drop the call.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2018 at 12:18 PM
  6. wyfy

    wyfy New Around Here

    Mar 7, 2018
    Thanks, it all sounded ridiculous to me, but it was really surreal because they were SO confident that they had me second guessing myself.

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