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Wireless networks for internet connectivity operate on one of two major bands, either 2.4GHz or 5GHz. In most cases, which one you use is something you’ll determine by the equipment or hardware that you set up for your home Wi-Fi, and the capabilities of the devices that you connect to it. Although 2.4GHz is an older standard, there are some advantages and disadvantages to both frequencies.
Which one works well for you can change from one situation to the next. However, for almost anything that you’ll want to do on the internet, speed and stability are important keys. We will cover some reasons why your internet might be slower when your router or client devices are using 5GHz when compared to 2.4 GHz.
Although there might be exceptions, 5GHz should offer most users higher speeds instead of longer ranges. One would sacrifice some signal range to get better speeds, but there might be occasions where the 5GHz signal seems slower.
We will talk about why that might be in our article. Further, we’ll go into detail on just what might interfere with a network operating on a 5GHz band inside your home, whether the 2.4GHz signal can cause some of this interference, and what things you might be able to troubleshoot in order to speed up the 5GHz connection that you want to use.
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As we mentioned, all things being equal, a 5GHz signal should be faster than its counterpart. One usually accepts sacrificing the overall range of the signal to get better speeds.
Therefore, you should notice faster speeds on a 5GHz signal as long as there is little interference going on. If there is, your 5GHz signal might drop to speeds that are even lower than those you see on 2.4GHz.
Physical obstructions in the home can contribute to your 5GHz band losing its signal strength. Once the strength of the signal drops, the speed tends to follow it. Because the range on the 2.4 signal is greater, it has an easier time of cutting through barriers that might otherwise contribute to signal loss.
The speeds are not as great, but the layout of your home could make it seem like the older standard has better speeds than the new one. Most likely, your device running on and trying to get a signal from the 5GHz band is too far away from the router source.
This band is great over short distances, and your client devices have too many obstructions between them and the original signal to take full advantage of those speeds. There could be some secondary reasons for this loss in speed, and we will cover them in the appropriate sections.
There are several factors that can influence the speed and accuracy of a 5GHz Wi-Fi signal. However, when we talk about things in the home, we are referring to physical objects or the layout of your home.
How you set up your router and network in relation to the layout of your home can have a huge impact on the effectiveness of a 5GHz signal, particularly because this signal is at its most powerful when the range between it and your devices is short.
Therefore, we will cover this aspect of signal interference in this section. Here are just some of the common things in the home that might cause havoc for a 5GHz band:
1. Any sort of aquatic homes for pets can block some of your Wi-Fi signals from getting through to your devices. This is because water is quite effective at interfering with Wi-Fi signals.
2. Metals and Wi-Fi signals do not mix well. Therefore, any metal materials in your home can cause problems for the signal, especially since the 5GHz band has such a short range already.
Even mirrors might cause some interference. This is because the usual coatings that companies use in order to make the mirrors into reflective surfaces tend to be metallic in nature.
3. Similarly, concrete can be an issue for these signals. Many homes throughout the world use concrete in their foundations and walls. Yours could be no exception, and the 5GHz signal can have an even harder time penetrating through this material if the builders designed it quite thickly when constructing your home.
4. Home appliances have both metal and electronics in them, making them prime examples of things that can mess with a Wi-Fi signal. For better results, keep your router away from most of your other appliances.
5. Many doors have thick, dense woods and metal hinges or fasteners. This combination can be problematic for short-range Wi-Fi signals like those that run on the 5GHz band.
6. On a related note, bookshelves packed with thick volumes can block some Wi-Fi signals, too. The bookshelves themselves may not be an issue, but many books create a dense wall that is hard for 5GHz to get through.
Since your 5GHz Wi-Fi signal should be the faster of the two bands by default, let’s look at a few of the ways that you might be able to get the speeds you deserve out of it. Before we jump in, we should reference some of what we talked about in the previous section.
Metal decorations and other things can also impact your wireless signal. If you have many such things in your home, particularly on walls that separate various rooms, you may wish to consider redecorating. Furthermore, moving bookshelves, home appliances, and other things may help.
Once you’ve done some of the above things, you can take another look at your home Wi-Fi setup. If possible, move the router to the location or room in which you do most of your online work that requires the fastest speeds.
This will make sure that the 5GHz signal doesn’t have to go through obstacles to get to your client devices. If you continue to experience problems even then, you may want to try resetting your equipment to see if there is any improvement. Your router might need a firmware update to function at its best, too.
Here is just a short list of some of the other things that you might be able to do in order to speed up your 5GHz signal:
1. Any kind of analog video devices tend to have wide ranges. Because of how they function, they can interfere with your primary wireless signal. Devices like these would include remote security cameras or anything else that can transmit video and image data to another device. Shutting these down could improve the signal.
2. Bluetooth is useful, but it can also hop from one frequency to the next. This means that, whenever you might use it, it could get to your wireless router signal. Turning off Bluetooth devices during times when you need high, reliable speeds could help with your 5GHz connection.
3. If you run more than one wireless network in the home, both of these could interfere with each other’s speeds.
4. Changing the channel on the 5GHz band that you use could make some difference here. Channels might overlap, and the signals that you get from your neighbors could cause the speeds you want to get to drop dramatically.
5. You might see increased speeds if you limit how many devices can use the 5GHz band in your home. If possible, you could switch some of them to the 2.4GHz band. The speeds might not be as great, but you may not need top speeds on some of the things you connect to the internet.
6. If nothing else is working, consider adding a second access point to extend the range of the shorter 5GHz signal. You can also boost it using an extender to help it get past physical obstacles.
No, the two frequencies should not mess with each other. They don’t overlap in ways that would cause them to weaken or block each other’s signals. Channels on the bands themselves might see some overlapping traffic on congested networks, but the two bands operate on their own standards.
Although some hardware or devices allow you to use both bands, they usually switch between the bands that offer the best connection for a given situation.
On a device that can use both, it may swap from 2.4 GHz to 5GHz and back, but it does not run on both at exactly the same time, and this is because the two frequencies cannot cross in that way.
Your typical 5GHz signal has a short range, but it should offer you better speeds than its 2.4GHz counterpart. If this is not the case for you, you may be dealing with a faulty setup. You can change the location or configuration of your router to see if it will help.
Alternatively, you may need to buy a secondary device that can extend that range. Otherwise, you can also rearrange things in the home to cut down on signal loss when your devices make a connection to a 5GHz band.