2.4GHz and 5GHz are two popular terms in all discussions regarding Wi-Fi routers. These days, Wi-Fi routers are advertised to have dual-band and triple-band frequencies. However, many still need to understand the significant differences between 2.4GHz and 5GHz.

    As you can guess, knowing these differences will make the best out of your Wi-Fi router at home or office. I will explain these points in this guide without going too technical.

    2.4GHz vs 5GHz: Core Differences

    The 2.4GHz Wi-Fi band offers a network with better coverage and wall penetration. The 5GHz band, on the other hand, focuses on better speed and performance but compromises the coverage area. You should turn on both these bands for ideal network environments.

    What Are 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi?

    2.4GHz and 5GHz are two different frequency bands that Wi-Fi routers operate. A router will emit wireless signals in these frequencies. As you can guess, 5GHz is more powerful than the 2.4GHz. Here’s a quick look at the specifications of 2.4GHz vs. 5GHz Wi-Fi.

    2.4 GHz Wi-Fi
    5 GHz Wi-Fi
    Frequency Range
    2.4 to 2.4835 GHz
    5.150 to 5.825 GHz
    Channel Width
    20, 40 MHz
    20, 40, 80, 160 MHz
    Data Rate
    Up to 600 Mbps
    Up to 3.5 Gbps
    14 (3 non-overlapping)
    24+ (all non-overlapping)
    Lower, less crowded frequency

    The frequencies are measured in Gigahertz.

    What Is Gigahertz?

    Gigahertz is used to measure the performance of many electronic equipment. However, in the case of Wi-Fi routers, Gigahertz is used to measure the frequency at which Wi-Fi routers operate. Currently, you can find three different bands used by Wi-Fi: 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz.

    6GHz frequency is used by the newest Wi-Fi standards.

    Pros and Cons of 2.4GHz

    Let’s quickly look at the pros and cons of the 2.4GHz band.


    • Greater Coverage: More effective at penetrating walls and floors.
    • Broad Compatibility: Supports a wide range of devices, including older ones.
    • Cost-Effective: Generally less expensive compared to devices that use 5 GHz.


    • Prone to Interference: Susceptible to interference from microwaves, cordless phones, etc.
    • Lower Speeds: Typically offers slower data transmission rates.
    • High Congestion: More likely to face congestion due to fewer non-overlapping channels.

    Pros and Cons of 5GHz

    Here are the pros and cons of the 5GHz band.


    • Higher Speeds: Offers faster data transmission and is suitable for streaming and gaming.
    • Less Interference: Less prone to interference from common household devices.
    • Less Congestion: More channels available, reducing the likelihood of overlap and congestion.


    • Limited Range: Shorter range, with more difficulty penetrating walls and floors.
    • Device Compatibility: Not all devices support 5 GHz, especially older ones.
    • Generally More Expensive: Devices that operate on 5 GHz tend to be pricier than those on 2.4 GHz.

    Key Differences Between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi

    Now that you know the technical differences between 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi bands, I will discuss how these differences translate into real life.

    Range and Penetration

    2.4GHz and 5GHz are on opposite sides regarding range and penetration.

    2.4GHz offers a higher range of up to 150ft indoors. More importantly, the signals in this frequency can easily penetrate through walls and other static objects. As a result, your 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network will be available in nearby rooms even if you have kept the router in the drawing room.

    5GHz offers a shorter range of up to 50ft indoors. The signals in the 5GHz band cannot penetrate walls and other static objects. Therefore, you cannot access the 5GHz Wi-Fi network from a nearby room. Your device must be close to the router for a successful connection.

    Speed and Performance

    The tables turn when we consider speed and performance, though.

    2.4GHz offers comparatively lower speeds with up to 450Mbps. While this speed is great for browsing and 4K streaming, you cannot multitask easily. In the same way, the 2.4GHz band is more prone to performance issues. You might come across sudden signal drops, for instance.

    5GHz, on the other hand, offers better speeds, with up to 1.3Gbps per band. It means you can run multiple instances of 4K streaming even with tens of devices on the network. The overall performance of the 5GHz band is also better.

    Interference and Reliability

    The interference and reliability of these frequencies are of concern.

    The 2.4GHz wireless band is heavily affected by signal interference. Because of its lower strength, it will get interference from devices like your microwave oven or other wireless devices. As a result, the reliability of the 2.4GHz band is also doubtful.

    The 5GHz wireless band, on the other hand, is quite protected against signal interference. It also uses additional channels to separate devices to avoid interference. Therefore, as long as you stay close to the Wi-Fi router, the 5GHz band is more reliable.

    The core difference between 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands comes down to your choice: speed or the best coverage.

    Choosing the Right Band for Your Needs

    Now, I will discuss when and how to choose between 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.

    When to Use the 2.4GHz Band?

    You should use the 2.4GHz band for a network with better coverage and penetration. If you want to access the Wi-Fi network from a nearby room or across the hall, you need the 2.5GHz band. Although the 2.4GHz band is prone to signal interference, modern Wi-Fi routers can minimize these situations.

    Compatibility of the 2.4GHz band is also an important factor. Unlike the other, the 2.4GHz wireless band is universally compatible. So, you need this band to connect many devices, such as smart lights or switches. It thus becomes a necessity at times.

    When to Use the 5GHz Band?

    You should use the 5GHz band for a network with the best speed and minimal signal interference. By doing so, you compromise the coverage and penetration capability of the network. You need a line of sight between your device and the Wi-Fi router for the best speeds.

    While most modern smartphones have dual-band connectivity, you may come across some devices that do not support 5GHz Wi-Fi. In these instances, you may have trouble with a 5GHz-only network. For the same reason, an ideal Wi-Fi router should enable both bands.

    What’s the Ideal Setup?

    For an ideal wireless network environment, you should enable both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.

    This way, devices can use the more powerful 5GHz band when they are close to the router. You can consider optimizing the router location based on the devices you own. At the same time, the 2.4GHz band will enable legacy devices and single-band devices.

    As a result, you can have a wireless network with minimal signal interference. As I said earlier, modern Wi-Fi routers have powerful software to shift devices between these bands and Wi-Fi channels. So, even when you have tens of connected devices, there is nothing to worry about.

    Advanced Considerations: Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 7

    The 2.4GHz vs. 5GHz debate has now become old. With Wi-Fi 6E, there is a new band in town!

    Wi-Fi 6E introduces a third band that operates at 6GHz. Like 5GHz, it is a high-speed, low-penetration band, but it offers impressive latency. So, when you are doing a super-sensitive network task, the 6GHz band will be crucial. This additional band will also help in accommodating more devices and managing them better.

    Wi-Fi 7 does not make any changes to the band system. It will have the same three bands: 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz. However, these bands are optimized to transmit more data, leading to speeds up to 49Gbps. However, Wi-Fi 7 is an upcoming standard; you need time to see it in consumer products.

    How to Set WiFi Frequency

    You do not have to set the Wi-Fi frequency on your router. By default, the router will operate on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. However, you can disable one of these bands for your convenience.

    You can do it by accessing the User Panel of your Wi-Fi router.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Does turning off 5GHz improve Wi-Fi?

    Technically, it does not improve your Wi-Fi connection. Because the 5GHz band operates at a different frequency, it does not impact the other band. So, turning off the 5GHz does not improve Wi-Fi. It can contribute to network congestion on the 2.4GHz band.

    What happens if I change my router from 5GHz to 2.4GHz?

    All your devices will now connect to the 2.4GHz network. This will not cause any problems, but you will notice a drop in speed and performance. Because there are too many devices in the single band, you may encounter some network congestion as well.

    How do I split my WiFi into 2.4GHz and 5GHz?

    If you have a dual-band router, you do not have to manually split your Wi-Fi into 2.4GHz and 5GHz. By default, the 5GHz band will be enabled. If not, you can enable it from the user admin panel of the router.


    I hope this guide cleared all your doubts regarding 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands on Wi-Fi routers. As I said, you do not have to change these settings on your own. Instead, Wi-Fi routers are now smart enough to quickly manage devices between these bands and channels.


    Pavan Lipare is a tech enthusiast with a profound understanding of routers, WiFi networks, LAN setups, and internet connectivity. His fervent passion for technology extends to digital marketing and SEO, where he combines his technical expertise with strategic insights. With a keen eye for emerging trends and a knack for optimizing online visibility, Pavan is dedicated to sharing his knowledge and empowering others in navigating the ever-evolving landscape of digital connectivity and communication technologies.

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