We all use WiFi at our homes and offices and most of us are familiar with the moniker 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands. In fact, all the connected devices that we buy today including our smartphones, tablets, and more, mention as to which frequency bands they support. That said, not many people know the difference between these frequency bands and that has led to a lot of confusion. Well, we will try to eradicate that confusion in this article as we explain everything that you need to know about the 5 GHz network to see what makes it different from the 2.4 GHz and is it any better:

Understanding WiFi

Before we get to understand the 5 GHz network, first, we have to understand how WiFi works. Just like mobile networks, WiFi networks use radio waves to transfer data across the network. While radio waves cover a big frequency range (~3 KHz to 300 GHz), the main frequency range used for commercial WiFi purposes are the 2.4 GHz (2.4 to 2.5 GHz) band and 5 GHz (5.180 GHz to 5.825 GHz) band. When the first WiFi bands were made available for public use, an organization called IEEE (The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) set up a new committee called the “IEEE 802” which released a set of standards called the “802.11” for implementing wireless local area network (WLAN) computer communication in the 2.4 and 5 GHz frequency bands.

WiFi

That’s why, when you see the WLAN certification on your device, it reads 802.11 followed by any or all of the following letters; a/b/g/n/ac. Don’t get confused by the letters as they only signify the next standard in WLAN technology. The 802.11 was the first standard that was followed by the 802.11a which was followed by the 802.11b, and so on. That said these letters do suggest as to which frequency band your device can operate in. The 802.11 b/g/n devices can receive signals that are transmitted using the 2.4 GHz band while the 802.11 a/n/ac uses 5 GHz band.

What is 5 GHz WiFi Network?

Now that you have a little background knowledge of the origins of WiFi, you are ready to understand the 5 GHz WiFi network. As it is apparent from the above section, the 5 GHz WiFi network uses radio waves between the frequency of 5.180 GHz and 5.825 GHz. For your device to be able to receive these signals, it should be certified by the WLAN 802.11 a/n/ac standard. The 5 GHz band is further divided into 24 different channels each being 20 MHz wide. Channels are very important as at any given time, your device can only use one channel, but more on that later . Now let’s see if and why 5 GHz network is better than the 2.4 GHz network.

5 GHZ
Courtesy:VeEX Inc.

5 GHz vs 2.4 GHz Network

Both the 5 GHz network and the 2.4 GHz network come with their own pros and cons. Depending on the circumstances, sometimes using the 2.4 GHz network will be beneficial for you and vice versa. That said, in general using the 5 GHz network will yield a faster network speed, however, not for the reasons you might think. People who don’t know about the network transfer protocols might assume that the speed on 5 GHz network will be faster as it has a higher frequency, however, that cannot be farther from the truth.

  • Problems with 2.4 GHz Network

The main reason 2.4 GHz network is slower is because of two main reasons; channels and bandwidth. As a rule of thumb, the 802.11 RF modulation techniques require about 20 MHz in channel width to operate. Since the 2.4 GHz band has 13 channels which are only 5 MHz apart, there is significant overlap and interference between the channels. Also, the fact that 2.4 GHz channel is not only used by WiFi networks but also other types of networks such as Bluetooth, security camera, and even microwave, the 2.4 GHz band is already too crowded and has only a limited bandwidth to offer.

2.4 GHz network

Due to the above two reasons, the 2.4 GHz band suffers a lot of interference. The impact of this interference can cause anything between lower data speeds to a complete signal loss depending on the nature and severity of interference. I don’t want to bore you with the technical stuff, so the thing that you should know is that RF channels are a shared medium. So, all the devices using the same channel as your access point will be using the same bandwidth. Seeing how 2.4 GHz network is the used by almost every smart device, that bandwidth is low to begin with. Add that to the fact that in the 2.4 GHz band, the channels overlap with each other, which causes the devices which are not even in your channel to use the same bandwidth which in turn also impedes your network.

2.4 ghz interference

  • How 5 GHz Network Solves These Problems?

The problems that you experience while using a 2.4 GHz network doesn’t exist in the 5 GHz network, as it’s not used as much as the former. This means that 5 GHz network still has a lot of free bandwidth which is not being exploited. It also helps that channel width in 5 GHz network is 20 MHz, and hence, none of the channels overlap with each other. Because of these two reasons, the 5 GHz network is not prone to the problems faced by the 2.4 GHz network.

  • Problems with 5 GHz Network

Although the 5 GHz network doesn’t suffer from the same problems that we have discussed till now, it has its own fair share of problems. The biggest problem of using a 5 GHz network is that it cannot travel far and is easily impeded by structures such as walls, doors, and other physical hurdles around it. What that means is that for getting the best speed possible, you should be direct in the line-of-sight of your router. That’s why if you are using a single router in your home, and your room doesn’t have its own router, the signal that you receive in your room will be far weaker on a 5 GHz network than what you would get if you are using the 2.4 GHz network.

WiFi Interference
Courtesy:VeEX Inc.

Devices Compatible With 5 GHz Network

As you can see, although 5 GHz network suffers from a few problems itself, its pros far outweigh its cons. If you want your devices to get the best internet speed in the future, you should only buy the ones which support 5 GHz WiFi Network. We have attached the list of all the phones released in the past two years which support 5 GHz WiFi Network to help you find out if your device supports it or not:

Brand NameModel Name
AppleiPhone X
AppleiPhone 8 Plus
AppleiPhone 8
AppleiPhone 7
AppleiPhone 7 Plus
SamsungGalaxy A3 (2017)
SamsungGalaxy A3 (2018)
SamsungGalaxy A5 (2017)
SamsungGalaxy A5 (2018)
SamsungGalaxy S8
SamsungGalaxy S8 Plus
SamsungGalaxy S7
SamsungGalaxy S7 Edge
SamsungGalaxy C7 Pro
SamsungGalaxy Note 7
SamsungGalaxy Note 8
SamsungGalaxy S6 Active
SamsungGalaxy S7 Active
NokiaX6
Nokia7 plus
Nokia8
Nokia8 Sirocco
XiaomiMi MIX 2S
XiaomiMi MIX 2
XiaomiMi 8
XiaomiMi 7
XiaomiMi 8 SE
XiaomiMi 8 Explorer Edition
XiaomiBlack Shark
XiaomiRedmi Note 5 Pro
XiaomiMi A1
XiaomiRedmi 4 Prime
XiaomiMi Max
XiaomiMi Max 2
XiaomiMi Max 3
XiaomiMi 6X (Mi A2)
OnePlusOnePlus 6
OnePlusOnePlus 3
OnePlusOnePlus 3T
OnePlusOnePlus 5T
OnePlusOnePlus 5
HTCHTC 10
HTCHTC U12+
HTCHTC Desire 10 Pro
HTCU Ultra
HTCU11
HTCU11 life
HuaweiMate 9
HuaweiMate 9 Pro
HuaweiHonor Magic
HuaweiHuawei P10 Plus
HuaweiHuawei P10
HuaweiHuawei P20 Pro
HuaweiHuawei P20
HuaweiHonor View 10
HuaweiHuawei Honor 10
HuaweiHuawei Honor Play
GooglePixel 2
GooglePixel 2 XL
GooglePixel
GooglePixel XL
Vivovivo V9
Vivovivo NEX S
Vivovivo X21
Vivovivo X21 UD
Vivovivo X20
Vivovivo X20 UD
OppoOppo Find X
OppoOppo F7
OppoOppo A83
OppoOppo R15
OppoOppo R15 Pro
OppoOppo R9 Plus
OppoOppo R9s Plus
OppoOppo A5
OppoOppo F7
MotorolaMoto G6 Plus
MotorolaMoto G6
MotorolaMoto Z
MotorolaMoto Z3 Play
MotorolaMoto Z2 Play
MotorolaMoto Z Force
MotorolaMoto Z2 Play
MotorolaMoto Z2 Force
MotorolaMoto G5S Plus
MotorolaMoto G5 Plus
LenovoLenovo Z5
LenovoLenovo P2
LenovoLenovo ZUK Z2
LenovoLenovo ZUK Z1
LenovoLenovo ZUK Z2 Pro
LenovoLenovo Phab2 Plus
LenovoLenovo Phab2 Pro
LenovoLenovo Vibe K4 Note
AsusZenFone 3 Max ZC553KL
AsusZenFone 3 Deluxe ZS550KL
AsusZenFone 3 Ultra ZU680KL
AsusZenFone 3
AsusZenFone 3 Max
AsusZenFone Pegasus 3
AsusZenFone Max (2016)
AsusZenfone 5z ZS620KL
AsusZenfone 3 Zoom ZE553KL
LGG7 ThinQ
LGLG G6
LGV30
LGV35 ThinQ
LGV30S ThinQ
LGQ Stylo 4
SonyXperia XZ2 Premium
SonyXperia XZ Premium
SonyXperia XZ
SonyXperia XZ2
SonyXZ2 Compact
SonyXperia XA2 Ultra
SonyXperia XA1
SonyXperia XA1 Ultra
SonyXperia XA2
BlackBerryKEY2
BlackBerryKeyone
BlackBerryDTEK60
BlackBerryDTEK50
ZTEnubia Red Magic
ZTEnubia Z18 mini
ZTEAxon 7
ZTEnubia Z18
ZTEnubia M2
ZTEnubia Z17
ZTEnubia Z17s
ZTEnubia Z17 mini
ZTENubia Z11 mini
ZTEnubia Z11 mini S
LavaZ91
LavaZ90
LavaZ80

SEE ALSO: Dual-Frequency GPS vs Single-Frequency GPS: What’s the Difference?

5 GHz WiFi Network: Revolution or Evolution?

5 GHz WiFi network is nothing new. In fact, it was ratified in the September of 1999 along with the 2.4 GHz network. That said, since the deployment of 2.4 GHz network was easier and cost-effective, it quickly became the universally adopted WiFi network while the 5 GHz band took a backseat. Now that the 2.4 GHz frequency band is overused and is causing a lot of connection problems, people are turning towards the 5 GHz network which has been sitting empty for almost two decades. To conclude, the 5 GHz network is nothing revolutionary, however, it is something that we need to adopt if we are to solve our WiFi connectivity problems.

I hope that I was able to explain the 5 GHz WiFi network in a way that was understandable.  Do keep in mind that I  have simplified some of the technical topics to make this article more reader friendly.  If you still cannot grasp this or have any doubts, ask your questions in the comments section below and I will try my best to answer them as soon as possible.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I am using Lenovo P2. Before sometimes I received 5G signal on my mobile and used it. But now never can receive the 5G signal on my same mobile. Is there any solution. Please suggest me.

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