Wireless routers these days are dual-band and can transmit and receive data using two separate frequency bands: 2.4GHz and 5GHz.
The 2.4GHz is long-range and connects with more devices, while the 5GHz is short-range and provides less interference.
However, is it possible to use both of these frequency bands simultaneously?
You can use 2.4GHz and 5GHz at the same time if you have a simultaneous dual-band router and if your wireless devices support both bands. However, some dual-band routers support only one WiFi network, so you need to choose either the 2.4GHz or 5GHz frequency.
In this article, I will talk about how you can use both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies in a simultaneous dual-band router.
I will also talk about the advantages and disadvantages of using the two channels at the same time.
5 Facts About Using 2.4GHz and 5GHz at the Same Time
There are a few things you need to know if you are thinking of using the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands simultaneously.
1. Simultaneous Dual-Band Router Is Better
A simultaneous dual-band router is better because it has twice the available bandwidth, and it offers a more reliable and dedicated wireless network for gaming and for videos.
In addition, having two separate networks when connecting many devices helps avoid interference and overcrowding, and it allows for more flexibility when it comes to making the best connection possible.
Take a look at the main differences between the two dual-band routers in this table:
|Selectable Dual Band||Simultaneous Dual Band|
|Has the same bandwidth size as a single band||Has double the bandwidth size|
|Its single network is more crowded||Its independent networks help avoid interference|
|Has one WiFi network to support all devices||Has a dedicated and reliable WiFi network for gaming and video|
|You can select one WiFi network||Its two separate networks operate at the same time|
2. “Simultaneous” Does Not Mean “Accumulative.”
Some people believe that having a simultaneous dual-band router and turning both frequencies on means that a device would connect to both WiFi networks at once and enjoy twice the bandwidth.
They also believe that this will allow them to enjoy a faster accumulated internet speed and less ping.
Those people are wrong.
Using both 2.4GHz and 5GHz through a simultaneous dual-band router will not increase your individual speed. It will increase throughput, though.
For instance, if your 5GHz band allows you to download a file at 600 Mbps, max and your 2.4GHz band has a maximum download speed of 300 Mbps, it doesn’t mean having access to both bands will allow you to download the file at 900 Mbps.
What happens instead is that your device will go for the better option between the two, which, in this case, is the 600 Mbps, but without maxing out the connection.
Meanwhile, increasing throughput means that downloading your file at 600 Mbps without maxing your connection out will still allow another user to download the same file at the same exact moment, but at 300 Mbps.
3. Devices With Access to Both Bands Still Need To Choose
Having access to both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies does not mean that you can connect to the two at the exact same time.
Using a simultaneous dual-band router merely allows your device to choose between the 2.4GHz and 5GHz, depending on which one offers the better connection.
And because it can select and connect automatically, you don’t need to switch bands manually every time you feel that your WiFi connection is sluggish.
Reading recommendation: Can Google Home Connect To 5GHz Wifi? 6 Surprising Facts
4. The High-Frequency 5GHz Band Isn’t Always the Better Choice
The 2.4GHz WiFi is the default band for most routers because it’s older.
The 5GHz frequency band only came later. This is the reason why there are devices that can connect to the 2.4GHz band but cannot support the 5GHz.
While 5GHz is the higher frequency, it doesn’t automatically mean that it’s the better choice between the two.
Each band has its own advantages and disadvantages, depending on certain factors.
For one, the 5GHz band has a shorter range than the 2.4GHz, so it is ideal for small spaces and for connecting devices that are nearer to your router.
Larger houses with more walls, multiple floor levels, or more obstacles would do better using a 2.4GHz band.
The 2.4GHz is also great for mobile devices like laptops and smartphones.
And because of its better range, the 2.4GHz accommodates more devices at home. The more crowded this network gets, the more interference there is, and the slower it transmits data.
As such, when it comes to reducing lag, connecting to the 5GHz band is a good solution. It can cut through network clutter and has less interference.
So when it comes to dual-band routers where you only get to choose one frequency for a particular device, you need to go with the one that addresses that device’s network needs.
For example, if you are playing a game using your smartphone and need a faster connection, use the 5GHz, but you will also have to be near the router.
Once you are done with your game and want to check your social media in your room upstairs, you can switch to the 2.4GHz.
The good thing about having a simultaneous dual-band router is that you get the flexibility you need.
You don’t have to decide which band would be ideal for a particular device at a specific time and location because the device will automatically switch bands without your help.
Learn more: How many devices can connect to 5GHz WiFi?
5. There Are Cheaper Options for Simultaneous Dual-Bands
As you would expect, on average, simultaneous dual-band routers are more expensive than selectable dual-bands. But the price discrepancy isn’t that wide.
In fact, there are good simultaneous dual-band routers that are priced at less than $200, and there are even ones you can get for below $100.
According to this list, you can get these routers at reasonable prices from Amazon.com:
- TP-Link Archer C7: Allows streaming on multiple devices, 2-year warranty included
- TP-Link Archer C5: Supports latest generation of Wi-Fi, 24/7 technical support available
- Linksys EA6350: Provides up to 10 devices in 1000 square feet with Wi-Fi coverage
- Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 (R7000): Advanced tech works with 30 devices at once
- Netgear Nighthawk AC2300 (R7000P): For use with up to 35 devices, Parental controls
How To Use 2.4GHz and 5GHz at the Same Time
To use the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands together:
- Verify you have a simultaneous dual-band router instead of a selectable dual-band. You will know by going to the web-based setup page of your router.
- Go to the wireless settings and verify your selection of both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Remember, simultaneous dual-band routers support both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands at the same time, so you don’t have to select one over the other, especially if you know your devices would benefit from having access to both networks.
- Leave both of them on and make sure to set the same SSID and password for both networks. Doing this allows your devices to alternate between these two frequencies, depending on which one establishes the better connection at a given time.
Most routers today are dual-band and offer you WiFi connectivity on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands.
However, if you want to use the 2.4GHz and the 5GHz bands at the same time instead of just selecting one, you’ll need the simultaneous dual-band router.
Don’t confuse the term “simultaneous,” though. Even if the router allows you to turn both frequency bands on simultaneously, your device will only connect to one band and not both of them at once.
It will automatically pick the best connection for itself, so you don’t have to switch bands manually.
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