2.4 GHz vs 5 GHz WiFi: what are the differences?

2.4 GHz WIFI AND 5 GHz

More and more often I receive emails and comments from TechKhiladi readers asking me for clarification on 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi networks.

After all, it’s normal: most of the latest wireless routers and WiFi modem modems are dual band, so they can be used to configure two separate wireless networks running at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz simultaneously

In this way, users can decide whether to keep both frequencies active or to keep only one of them.

The problem is that only a few people know the real differences between WiFi 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. 

To try to clarify once and for all and to help users to choose whether to use 2.4GHz or 5GHz WiFi,  I decided to publish this article where we will see:

  • what changes between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi
  • which to choose between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi
  • which is better between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi

Without getting lost in useless chatter, we try to clarify the differences between the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi networks.

2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi: what do these numbers mean?

First of all you need to know that  WiFi 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz are two types of WiFi networks. 

There is not a better version than the other.

Each has its own PRO and AGAIN, which we will analyze below. The important thing is NOT to believe that 5 GHz is the substitute or better than 2.4 GHz, just as the opposite is wrong.

Differences between WiFi 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz

The biggest difference between these two versions of WiFi is speed.

Ideally, 2.4GHz WiFi supports up to 450 Mbps or 600 Mbps, depending on the class of the router, while a 5 GHz WiFi supports up to 1300 Mbps.

ON THE CARD, therefore, the 5 GHz is faster, but as we will see later it does NOT mean that it is better.

To understand if 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz WiFi is better, you need to analyze other parameters, such as:

  • Frequency:  as anticipated, the two networks operate at different frequencies and therefore do not interfere with each other. The “problem” is that 2.4 GHz networks often suffer from interference, especially in large urban centers where it is also easy to find 10-15 WiFi routers in the same building, all obviously configured to 2.4 GHz.  The 5 GHz band becomes therefore useful if there are many 2.4 GHz wireless networks nearby
  • Speed:  as already written, the 5 GHz network on paper is faster than 2.4 (but only in optimal conditions). The WiFi on 5 GHz have the advantage of allowing the achievement of better performance during data transfer  (but lose coverage, as we will see below)
  • Coverage: the 2.4 GHz network offers the best coverage, managing to overcome obstacles and walls and includes a maximum of about 130 meters (outdoors) or 50 meters (indoors), although these values are actually very variables. The 5 GHz network offers limited coverage (it has little ability to penetrate obstacles and walls), but on the other hand, as we have said, it suffers very little interference

Small note: GHz and network Interval

Wanting to be precise, more extensive is the  WiFi frequency, the lower will be the distance it covers.

2.4GHz wireless networks cover a significantly wider range than 5GHz networks.

In particular, the 5 GHz frequency signals do not penetrate solid objects with respect to 2.4 GHz signals, limiting their range within houses.

As already mentioned, however, on 2.4 GHz WiFi there are many more interference there are many more devices connected on fewer channels.

What is the best network between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi?

As anticipated, there is NOT an absolute winner between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi.

You have to choose the best configuration according to your needs and needs.

In general, I can recommend you take advantage of 2.4 GHz WiFi for:

  • surf the Internet
  • connect smartphones and tablets
  • read the mail or messages
  • watch videos on YouTube

Better to choose the 5 GHz WiFi network for:

  • play online (with PC and console)
  • watch a video in FullHD on TV
  • Make the most of 4K videos
  • transfer a large amount of data between 5 GHz devices


To conclude,  2.4 GHz is better when you need a  lot of action and a lot of penetration through the walls; however, without these limitations,  5GHz  is probably a  better choice .

I also suggest using the wireless mode 802.11 b/g/n mixed to allow connection to any type of wireless client device.

Obviously, when, where and if possible, I recommend the simultaneous use of the two frequency bands,  ie both the 5 GHz (for better performance over a shorter range) than the 2.4 GHz (to cover clearly larger areas). Wanting to be more concrete, the dual-band hardware like the one present in 802.11ac routers combines the best of both types of signal by integrating both frequencies and I think it is an excellent solution for home networks.

If you do not have a router of this type (more recent, powerful but also expensive), we have seen that both frequency bands are performing, but depending on the case it is better to enable one or the other on WiFi routers of your own network.

If you need help, have doubts or concerns, do not hesitate to leave a comment in the comment box below and we will try to help you as soon as possible!

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