2.4 vs 5 ghz wifi speed

Discussion in 'Technical Corner' started by JOhnH, Jul 18, 2022.

  1. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I have a Spectrum modem with separate router at my desk.

    On both my Ipad PRO and my Iphone X, Speedtest shows about 50-80 Mbps when connected to the 2.4ghz band but around 350 Mbps when connected to the 5 ghz band from about 4 feet away. I realize 5ghz is supposed to be faster, but THAT much faster?
     
  2. ja_user

    ja_user Pattern Altitude

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    Yes, and 2.4 has better range.
     
  3. Bob Noel

    Bob Noel Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Lots of variables. If the 5Ghz channels are clean while the 2.4 ones haves lots of other users, then yes, there can be a significant difference
     
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  4. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    When I'm in the far part of the house or out in the yard I often can't even connect to the 2.4ghz band but I can connect to the 5ghz band.
     
  5. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    Yes, lots of variables. One of which could be that the router favors the 5ghz band.
     
  6. ja_user

    ja_user Pattern Altitude

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    Just because the manufacture put a 2.4 and 5Ghz chip in, doesn't mean they are created equal. Antenna's and other factors come into play.
    RF interference is a huge issue, that no one ever pays attention to.
     
  7. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN En-Route

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    2.4 is slower and more susceptible to interference as it has fewer channels to choose from. It has a longer range and will penetrate further through obstructions such as walls, floors, trees, etc.

    5.0 is faster but attenuates faster, too. It has significantly more channels available so will be less likely to suffer from interference in most appliacations.

    I restrict all my IoT (internet of things) devices to 2.4. They don't need the speed and benefit from the better range.
     
  8. Kenny Taylor

    Kenny Taylor Pre-Flight

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    That's almost certainly interference from your neighbors. Most 2.4 GHz channels overlap each other. None of the 5 GHz channels overlap. If you have an Android phone or tablet, grab a free app called WiFi Analyzer. It does a great job visualizing it.

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Country Flier

    Country Flier Line Up and Wait

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    I never thought about the range between the two, but it makes sense...I have acreage and when I mow, I often have problems streaming music to my phone. I wonder if it would help to connect to 2.4 instead? I'll have to try...
     
  10. masloki

    masloki Cleared for Takeoff

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    If all of your devices are of recent vintage, you should name both networks identically and let the device pick the frequency it wants as you roam about.
     
  11. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I didn’t know it worked that way.
    Do you mean if one is called bonanza that the other should also be called bonanza, and not bonanza5? Can they have different passwords? (For guests).
     
  12. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    Modern WiFi routers can create virtualized radios/access points. There should be a guest mode in there somewhere.
     
  13. masloki

    masloki Cleared for Takeoff

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    This is the way.
     
  14. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard En-Route

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    I'm surprised no one's posted this yet:

    As this is radio technology, the WiFi routers negotiate the most reliable connection. The slower, speeds are generally more reliable at distance, while faster speeds are attained by physically close-proximity devices. (Yes, the macbook in your living room will connect at a faster speed than the one on your sun deck, assuming the first is closer to the WiFi router.)

    802.11b, introduced in 1999, works in the 2.4Ghz spectrum and negotiates connections from devices in increments between 1Mb/sec and 11Mb/sec.

    802.11g, introduced in 2003, also in the 2.4Ghz channel space, connects devices between 6Mb/sec and 54Mb/sec.

    802.11n was introduced in 2008 and works in both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz spectrums, depending on the equipment capabilities. It was a tremendous jump-forward in connection speed, at 72Mb/sec to 600Mb/sec. (yes, it's slowest connection rate is faster than the fastest 802.11g speed).

    802.11ac works exclusively on 5Ghz radio equipment, and negotiates connections from devices from 433 to 6,933 Mb/sec.

    So here's my takeaway:
    • yes you need to pay attention to the little letters.
    • 802.11n is quite common and works on both 2.4 and 5Ghz radios
    • this really only matters on device-to-device communications.
    • If your gateway in/out of the WiFi router is a 50Mb/sec internet connection, 802.11n and 802.11ac don't materially differ for external traffic. (you won't load the POA webpage faster)
     
  15. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard En-Route

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    This isn't a typical result, and is an indicator that interference or equipment differences aren't allowing an equal playing field.
     
  16. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    And then there's Wifi6/6E.

    Also, don't forget that things negotiate down to the lowest common denominator.
     
  17. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard En-Route

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    Yeah, I'm aware of 6/6E. Didn't think it was really part of the discussion, quite yet. The purpose of my list was to simply cite the more common standards that come into play as we change from 2.4 to 5Ghz, not document the progression of the technology.
     
  18. rpadula

    rpadula En-Route

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    Yes, because it has more Hertz.
     
  19. Bob Noel

    Bob Noel Touchdown! Greaser!

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    not necessarily... isn't the encoding different?
     
  20. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard En-Route

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    I hope it was the bunny that wrote that.
     
  21. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I was wondering if that was supposed to be a joke.
     
  22. DFH65

    DFH65 En-Route

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    In my experience Wifi on devices is a complete black box. Trying to determine why it is connecting to a particular access point or at a particular frequency is anyone's (except the company who wrote the driver) guess.
     
  23. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard En-Route

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    And, for the most part, we're given absolutely zero insight, and zero tools to observe/manage how it works.

    Frustrating for those of us that want a few knobs and gauges.
     
  24. DFH65

    DFH65 En-Route

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    I work at an institution of higher education occasionally we need to track devices on our WIFI. Sometimes what they do and what they connect to seems to make no sense at all. Then the user blames you because they are having connectivity problems.
     
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  25. Albany Tom

    Albany Tom Pattern Altitude

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    RGBeard is spot on with the different protocols, especially in the 2.4 GHz band. One thing that can happen with 2.4, and much less likely with 5, is that when a device pops on it can force a kind of a re-negotiation of protocol, if the device is older and doesn't understand what's going on with the newer protocol. Not an issue if all of your equipment supports the newer standard, but bringing up older 2.4 devices can slow things down a bit on that band until they re-sync. I haven't heard of that happening with 5 Ghz.

    2.4 is also used frequently by non-wifi devices, or at least used to be, and they can take away channel availability.
     
  26. rpadula

    rpadula En-Route

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    7f2.jpg

    Like most jokes, it had a kernel of truth to it, although I had channel bandwidth in mind more so than operating center frequencies.

    See also: https://dilbert.com/strip/1994-08-01
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2022
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