Wi-Fi works without the use of wires, which is why it’s also known as wireless. The Internet connection reaches the devices via electromagnetic waves (radio waves) using frequency bands measured in GHz.
However, these frequencies can also be used by other electronic devices, such as microwaves and Bluetooth headsets, which can cause interference with Wi-Fi, causing the wireless Internet connection to fail or even stop working.
To minimize potential problems, it’s important to know a little about Wi-Fi standards and their three frequency bands: 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz.
2.4GHz – Even though it’s the oldest of the three standards, which makes its frequency the same as that of many other electronic devices, such as walkie talkies, radios, baby monitors, electronic gates, microwaves, televisions, and Bluetooth devices, 2.4 GHz has a wider coverage area and can easily go through objects and walls.
This standard also supports a lower speed (around 150 Mbps) compared to the other, more modern standards.
5 GHz - More advanced than 2.4 GHz, this standard enables a high-speed connection – up to 1 Gbps – with less interference, since the number of devices using the same frequency is reduced.
The downside is that 5 GHz has a smaller coverage area and has difficulty going through walls and objects.
6 GHz - This is the most recent standard, so routers supporting this technology are still more expensive. Besides the high speed, the 6 GHz offers more channels for connection, avoiding interference between Wi-Fi networks (watch this video and learn more): https://cidadaonarede.nic.br/en/videos/electronic-devices-interfere-with-wi-fi)
But, after all, which network should you choose?
It’s recommended to use the 2.4 GHz network when you need to extend the range of Internet access for activities such as sending messages, using social media, and watching videos. In other words, for applications that do not depend on high-speed Internet access.
The 5GHz network, on the other hand, is recommended for places with a lot of interference or need for better performance. For example, for downloading very large files, playing online games, and streaming videos in real time. In this case, it’s important to remember that the equipment needs to be in the same space as the Wi-Fi router.
And can you get the best out of both standards?
Yes, dual-band routers are capable of operating in the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands simultaneously. So, your device can choose the best network to connect to in each situation.
A man is sitting in front of his computer configuring his Wi-Fi device. Above him is the phrase “What frequency band should you set your router to?”.
His computer screen shows the options 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz and dual-band.
In the next scene, he’s standing next to a list of the characteristics of the 2.4 GHz frequency. The weak points are: the channels, speed, and interference. The item “range” gets a happy green face, which shows that this is an advantage. The phrase: “2.4 GHz is older but has greater range” appears.
Next, the phrase changes to "5GHz is more modern and faster,” and the list next to the man is now different. It shows the words: channels, speed, and interference as advantages of this standard and range as a disadvantage.
Back to the computer, the man selects the option “2.4 GHz and 5 GHz simultaneously”, that is, dual-band. The animation ends with the phrase “If possible, enable both!”
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