How To Increase a 5 GHz WiFi Router Range

By | June 21, 2015

How To Increase 5ghz WiFi Router Range

The 5 GHz band is now being used by routers to help relieve the congestion found in the 2.4 GHz range.
The problem with 5 GHz routers is that they dont transmit a signal as far as the old 2.4 GHz.
2.4 GHz vs. 5 GHz
As stated above a signal in the 2.4 GHz range can travel farther than a signal in the 5 GHz range.
This is due to the physics of wireless signals, with signals on lower frequencies able to transmit farther.
The problem with the 2.4 GHz range is it has become over used and is now very over crowded.
Routers are not the only thing that crowds the 2.4 GHz range. Other electronics from radio controlled helicopters to TV remotes also commonly use 2.4 GHz to send a signal.
In such a crowded environment a 2.4 GHz router will have to overcome all the other 2.4 GHz devices to get a signal through.
Any packet a router sends that collides with another signal will have to be resent by the router which slows it down.
For this reason 5 GHz has been introduced which is relatively unused.
But as stated above a signal doesn’t transmit as far in the 5 GHz range which leads to problems for users who need distance from their router.
Five Things To Check To Increase WiFi Range
All router manufactures have different setups and options but here are some basic things that can be checked.
First be sure your client (laptop, tablet) is logged into the 5 GHz side of the router. Dual band routers use 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz to transmit and receive a signal.
The easiest way to be sure you are logged into the 5 GHz side of a router is to change the broadcast name in the router itself. Such as adding a 5 to the 5 GHz brodcast signal and a 2 to the 2.4 GHz broadcast Id.
Some routers have a option to increase the signal strength. Not all routers have this options but if yours does increasing its signal strength should give you a boost.
The location of the router effects its range. Setting it 4-5 feet from the floor will help with a signal.
Routers that have external antennas can be adjusted to try for a better signal. Larger antennas can also be bought which can help improve the distance they transmit.
Check the client side settings (laptop, tablets) and that their wireless cards are compatible with 5 GHz and can use the new 802.11ac protocol.
Wireless Signal Boosters
A WiFi signal booster can be setup to boost a wireless signal.
If you go this route than be sure that the WiFi booster matches your routers protocols.
Most new routers will support 802.11ac along with 802.11g and 802.11n.
There are universal WiFi signal boosters that work with most any router. Here is one such signal booster.
Boosting a 5 GHz WiFi signal greatly depends on the router that is being used. All routers are not created equal when it comes to signal strength.
While there are many things that can be checked to increase a signal sometimes the router itself may be a dud.

6 thoughts on “How To Increase a 5 GHz WiFi Router Range

  1. admin

    You make good points. That would be cool if the FCC allowed routers to use a more powerful output in the 5 GHz range.

    One of the things that is also interesting is the banned channel 14 which was used early in WiFi but later banned in 2005. Since it is unused and in the 2.4 GHz range theoretically a router set to channel 14 could out perform in distance even in a crowded wireless environment. I wrote a post about this some time ago here

    I may look into it again. Even though it is a banned frequency the output is so low I dont think the FCC would be knocking any doors down over it. Than again its not something I would recommend.

    1. Paul Lebo

      “The ​Netgear Nighthawk is capable to bond multiple channels .”​
      ​​Do ​​you know of commercially available fast routers with ​​​802.11a​c or ​​802.11a​x​, that are supposedly able to bond 2 separate Wifi Hotspot public connections to create an artificially faster downstream connection to the internet, for people living in Extended stay ​residences and have to contend with pathetically slow internet speeds​ on public wifi hotspot wireless connection​?

      Thanks In Advance,

      ​P​aul Lebo
      Dallas Texas

    2. Kevin Dean

      “I may look into it again. Even though it is a banned frequency the output is so low I dont think the FCC would be knocking any doors down over it. Than again its not something I would recommend”

      Nice CYA at the end. since it is commercially banned and the manufacturers did their part, you won’t get caught. The regulation was for industry and as long as you don’t live next to a satellite communications station you will be fine.

  2. John

    I found out that if you buy a 5 Ghz band router for throughput gains but also want the same range as 2.4 Ghz . Your going to have to invest in a good router with plenty of external antenna’s and even a ability to install higher gain antennas if need be. I made the mistake of buying a Trendnet duel band AC router but it had internal antennas. Sure the throughput was very good at close range within 5 to 10 ft. But go 25 ft and was experiencing poor signal quality.
    2.4 Ghz is still a good choice overall for wireless networking. Some suggest using 5 Ghz for streaming and the 2.4 Ghz for everything else. I would say that is a good compromise. I use the 5 Ghz connection with my MacBook Air when I am close to the router and want to stream a show or movie. Switch to 2.4 Ghz for general internet surfing.
    The problem is that 5 Ghz will never be as good at penetrating walls and objects. In fact it may remain a more short range high throughput solution. Or we may see more solutions such as repeaters, and additional access points. Or possibly the FCC will grant more powerful chips to transmit and receive further. At this time we will have to juggle between having good range with 2.4 Ghz but much more congestion or the 5 Ghz band that has more throughput and much quieter band. But with a shorter range without the use of good quality antennas.


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