The Mouse Trap – The difference between 2.4 and 5.0-GHz Wi-Fi

Janis Weber

Most routers come with dual bands, which refers to a router that uses both speeds. These numbers refer to two different “bands” that your Wi-Fi can use for its signal. The biggest difference between the two is speed. Under ideal conditions, 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi will support up to 450 Mbps or 600 Mbps, depending on the class of the router. 5 GHz Wi-Fi will support up to 1300 Mbps. You can disregard these actual numbers. Just know that if you want the best internet speed in an average area, use the 5.0 option.

Let me explain. When you sign into Wi-Fi on your laptop, tablet, smart phone or smart television, you must type in your password. There is a list of routers at the lower right side of the monitor. It should have curved lines stacked together. Find your router’s nick name; click on it and type in your password. Other devices have different ways of logging in.

When the modem and router are hooked up to your service you will see that it has two options. One is referred to as 2.4. The other is 5. When you are setting it up initially, it will ask you to assign a password to both individually. Many people use the same password. That is fine if you do not have security issues. Once you are signed in your device will remember what you logged into. If your device is using only Wi-Fi and is not hardwired to the router, you should be choosing the 5.0 log in option.

2.4 has a longer range. If your device is far from the physical modem, this is your best choice. The longer range has a weaker signal though. 5.0 is twice a strong as the other. If you are using Wi-Fi in a shorter range, then you will get the best internet signal using the 5.0 option. All this being said, check where you are signed in and choose the best for what you are using. Anything hard-wired should be on the 2.4 and the Wi-Fi should be on the 5.0 speed. All devices are signed in separately. That is very important. Your tablet should be on 5.0 as well as your Wi-Fi laptop. These are Wi-Fi only machines which need the stronger and shorter signal.

The 2.4 GHz band is a pretty crowded place, because it’s used by more than just Wi-Fi. Old cordless phones, garage door openers, baby monitors, and other devices tend to use the 2.4 GHz band. The longer waves used by the 2.4 GHz band are better suited to longer ranges and transmission through walls and solid objects. So, it’s arguably better if you need better range on your devices, or you have a lot of walls or other objects in the areas where you need coverage. However, because so many devices use the 2.4 GHz band, the resulting congestion can cause dropped connections and slower-than-expected speeds.

Definition of The Day:

A spreadsheet is a document that stores data in a grid of horizontal rows and vertical columns. Rows are typically labeled using numbers (1, 2, 3, etc.), while columns are labeled with letters (A, B, C, etc). Individual row/column locations, such as C3 or B12, are referred to as cells. Each cell can each store a unique instance of data. By entering data into a spreadsheet, information can be stored in a more structured way than using plain text The row/column structure also allows the data to be analyzed using formulas and calculations. Microsoft Excel ($150) is an example well as Google Sheets (free). The many uses for this software are unbelievable.

Janis Weber, B.A., owner of Ohio Computer Training & Support, is a professional computer adjunct instructor. E-mail any specific questions or comments to or contact her for assistance at 419-290-3570. Private tutoring and repairs are just a phone call, text, or email away. Check me out on The Sylvania AdVantage Website, titled Computer 101.

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