The Great Debate: 2.4GHz or 5GHz WiFi?

Ryan Riggins, Senior Design Engineer

Find out which is suitable for your devices.


When comparing 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, you may opt for the latter automatically—a higher frequency is better, right? Well, not necessarily. The lower the frequency, the further the range. In layperson’s terms, this means 2.4 GHz can travel further and provide Wi-Fi to a greater area than 5 GHz. However, there are only three channels on the 2.4 GHz frequency. This means that you may experience traffic, which can result in drops and delays. It’s also the slower option of the two, supporting Wi-Fi speeds of up to 300 Mbps under ideal conditions.

5 GHz is a higher frequency, so it doesn’t travel as far as 2.4 GHz frequencies. However, it has 23 channels, which means it can handle a large amount of traffic—and do so at higher speeds (up to 1300 Mbps under ideal conditions). It’s also capable of simultaneously handling data from numerous sources (your phone, your computer, smart TVs, etc.).

When to use 2.4 GHz

2.4 Ghz graphic

2.4 GHz Wi-Fi if your main priority is distance rather than speed. For example, if the only place you can connect your router is far from where you usually use the internet (like your desk or the living room). A 2.4 GHz connection may also be suitable for those who live alone without using many devices or downloading a lot of data.

When to use 5 GHz

5 GHz Graphic

The only notable drawback of using 5 GHz Wi-Fi is that the range—the distance it travels—is less than that of 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi. However, it makes up for that in fast connectivity, excellent upload and download speeds, and low latency times. Set your Wi-Fi to this frequency if you stream, game online, or have multiple devices on your network (not just phones and computers, but anything that uses Wi-Fi. It’s also an excellent option for those who live in smaller spaces and don’t have to worry about how far the signal will travel.

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