What is a Dual Band Router?

By | September 27, 2023

What is a Dual Band Router
A dual-band router is a device that can transmit and receive data at 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless frequency bands.

2.4GHz band was the original standard, with the 5GHz added later.

The reasoning behind the dual-band is that the 2.4GHz band has become too filled with traffic, causing packet collisions and packet loss, slowing down data transfer.

When a packet collides with another or is lost, a router must resend the packet, slowing down the network.

The 5GHz band is relativity unused and, therefore, can transmit data with fewer packet collisions.

The problem is many devices don’t use the 5GHz band and need to use 2.4GHz.

To get the best of both worlds, a dual-band router can transmit and receive in both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.

5GHz is best used with gaming or streaming HD video and is also called Gigabit WiFi.

Gigabit WiFi is set up to use wireless-N (802.11n), wireless-AC (802.11ac), and the new 802.11ax protocols.

New routers labeled as dual-band will use Wireless-N WiFi-4 for 2.4GHz and 802.11ax WiFi-6 for 5GHz connections.

Interestingly, the original wireless 802.11a used 5GHz in the 1990s but was abandoned for the 2.4GHz band.

802.11 WiFi Standards and Frequency

  • 802.11a – WiFi-1 – 5GHz
  • 802.11b – WiFi-2 – 2.4GHz
  • 802.11g – WiFi-3 – 2.4GHz
  • 802.11n – WiFi-4 – 2.4GHz and 5GHz
  • 802.11ac – WiFi-5 – 5GHz
  • 802.11ax – WiFi-6 – 5GHz

Should I Use 2.4GHz or 5GHz WiFi Frequency Band?

If you need distance, the wireless signals can travel farther on the 2.4GHz.

The problem with the 2.4GHz band is that in busy locations, it is overused, which causes wireless packets to collide and slow down the network.

5GHz band has the newest protocols and the fastest speeds, so it is recommended for security and speed.

If you are located in a busy WiFi environment, the 5GHz WiFi Frequency will likely be best.

If you are located in a rural environment and at a location some distance from a router, the 2.4GHz band may be better.

While there are many faster and more secure wireless protocols to use, Wireless-N is here to stay for a long time since it can work at both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.

The new wireless 802.11ax WiFi-6 is great and likely to be the most used WiFi protocol.

Buying a dual-band router is a good idea when looking toward the future of router and device compatibility.

When buying a wireless device such as a tablet or laptop, simply be sure it supports wireless-N; all new devices do, and whichever frequency band it uses will not matter since a dual-band router can support both.

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