Compare 2.4G Wi-Fi vs. 5G Wi-Fi
By Adeline Belluz 2019-05-16 1122 0
The 2.4 GHz frequency band can be divided into 14 WLAN channels, in addition to no. 14, channel and channel spacing 13 12 MHZ, the rest of the interval between each channel are 5 MHZ, and the IEEE 802.11 standard, each signal taking up 20 MHZ bandwidth (actually 22 MHZ), the equivalent of five WLAN channel, so when the wireless router occupy 2.4 GHz frequency band of a channel, a total of five for the center with the channel used by WLAN channel will be incorporated into the router. For example, when the router occupies the channel 4 of the 2.4ghz band, it actually occupies a total of 5 channels from 2 to 6. Therefore, the actual channel occupied in the 2.4ghz band is a little more than the channel needed to be used, so the 2.4ghz band is more easily occupied.
The frequency range of 5GHz is undoubtedly much wider than that of 2.4ghz. In fact, the coverage range is 4.9ghz to 5.8ghz, and the channel division is more diversified. However, there is one standard that remains unchanged, that is, the central frequency of the channel increases by 5MHz, and the channel number increases by 1, which is basically consistent with the standard for channel division of 2.4ghz. At present, most wireless routers supporting 5GHz band use the channel from the low 36th to the 165th, and the corresponding frequency is 5.17ghz to 5.825ghz. In terms of the number of channels, even considering the compatibility of regions and devices, the actual usable channel of 5GHz is much more than that of 2.4ghz.
However, the wall-penetrating ability of 5GHz is weaker than that of 2.4ghz. Generally speaking, it is determined by the physical characteristics of electromagnetic wave. The longer the wavelength is, the smaller the attenuation will be. With the advantage of higher frequency, 5G frequency band can carry more data, but the wavelength is short, so the attenuation of 5GHz through obstacles is greater. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but we have a more scientific way of explaining it.
The main propagation mode of electromagnetic waves in the 2.4ghz and 5GHz bands is linear propagation. When encountering obstacles, various phenomena such as penetration, reflection and diffraction will occur, among which penetration is the main phenomenon and only a small part of signals will be reflected and diffracted. However, the electromagnetic wave signal will lose a lot of energy when it penetrates the obstacle. Sometimes, the energy will be exhausted before it penetrates the obstacle. As a result, the receiver receives the signal through reflection and diffraction.
Electromagnetic waves of 5GHz band are more penetrating than those of 2.4ghz band, but less capable of reflection and diffraction. When the electromagnetic wave of two frequency bands encounters an obstacle, almost all the energy of the 5GHz signal will be used for transmission, while part of the 2.4ghz signal will generate reflection and diffraction, and continue to propagate after bypassing the obstacle. Therefore, although the 5GHz signal chooses the shortest transmission path, there will be a great loss of energy in the transmission process. The 2.4ghz signal takes a longer path, but it retains more energy. In our opinion, the signal strength is stronger.
All in all, if the router and device are separated by a thick wall, the 5GHz signal may be weak, while the 2.4ghz band can be used normally. The 2.4ghz band might be barely usable if it's separated by two walls, but the 5GHz might not be able to pick up the signal.
The performance of the 5GHz band is better when both the 2.4ghz and 5GHz bands can be used normally. As mentioned above, the frequency of 5GHz band is higher, so it can carry more information, and because the network environment is better, it can provide a wider and more stable network. And 2.4 GHz frequency band because of lower frequency, and current with 2.4 GHz frequency equipment is more, many would also use dual-band router and 5 GHz 2.4 GHz frequency band, so if zhou people using 2.4 GHz band is more, so the stability of network will be more bad, plus 2.4 GHz wall performance is better, so in the apartment of usage scenarios, such as network interference will be more. Simply put, the 5GHz experience is better for downloads, streaming, voice and online gaming.
To sum up, the 5GHz band wireless environment is relatively good, the network speed is stable, and can support a higher rate; The 2.4ghz band wireless environment is relatively poor. If there are too many devices around, the network speed may not be stable, but it can cover a longer distance.
In terms of specific usage scenarios, if you don't have high requirements for the network of devices such as mobile phones and computers, then the 2.4ghz band is quite enough. In addition, the 2.4ghz band is quite enough for Internet of things devices such as refrigerators and lamps. But if you need to play 4K video, or if you're interested in the quality of your voip calls and prefer to play online games, use the 5GHz band.
If your router is located in the bedroom, 5GHz band is better if there is no need to go through the wall, etc., while 2.4ghz band is more practical if the indoor area is larger and more rooms need to be covered. But if you need both coverage and network quality, consider multiple routing options.
However, at present, dual-band routers can support both 5GHz band and 2.4ghz band, so there is no need to struggle when buying a router. In addition, according to the current situation, the network itself will have a greater impact on users' experience.
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