Which frequency should you use, 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz?

How does the frequency affect distance?

Wi-Fi devices are manufactured to meet certain standards. The letters after 802.11 tell you which protocol and your device is compatible with. The protocol tells you the frequency, theoretical speed and approximate range of a device. Keep in mind, the Internet speed you subscribed to plays a huge part in the speeds you will experience.

Standard Frequency Theoretical Distance
Real World Distance
802.11a 5Ghz 390 ft 195 ft
802.11b 2.4Ghz 460 ft 230 ft
802.11g 2.4Ghz
125 ft 62 ft
802.11n 2.4Ghz
820 ft
410 ft
802.11n 5Ghz 460 ft 230 ft
802.11ac 5Ghz up to 820 ft (amplified)
up to 410 ft (amplified)

How does the frequency affect speed?

Both 2.4GHz and 5GHz each have pro's and con's. Check out the list below to help make the best decision for your environment.

Standard Frequency Theoretical Speed
Real World Speed
802.11a 5Ghz 6-54 Mbps 3 - 32 Mbps
802.11b 2.4Ghz 11 Mbps 2-3 Mbps
802.11g 2.4Ghz 54 Mbps 10 -29 Mbps
802.11n 2.4Ghz 300 Mpbs 150 Mbps
802.11n 5Ghz 900 Mbps 450Mbps
802.11ac 5Ghz 433 Mbps - 1.7 Gbps
210 Mbps - 1 G

Which is better, 2.4 Ghz or 5 Ghz?

2.4 Ghz

  • Cons: Lower data rate, more susceptible to interference and usually has more devices using this frequency.
  • Pros: Larger coverage area, better at successfully penetrating solid objects.

5 Ghz

  • Pros: Higher data rate, less susceptible to interference and usually has fewer devices using this frequency.
  • Cons: Smaller coverage area, less successful at penetrating solid objects.

Whether you choose 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz, you need to make sure your modem/router and device (covered below) are using the same frequency. After you read this article, you will have a better idea which frequency works best for your situation.