2.4 & 5 GHz WiFi Networks – Improving Your WiFi IQ
  • by Ian Framson
  • Aug 15, 2013
  • WiFi, Tradeshow Internet

What is 5 GHz WiFi?

5 GHz is the "other frequency" WiFi client radios can use, besides 2.4 GHz, to connect to a wireless access point or hotspot.

Why would I want to use it?

First, because the 2.4 GHz band is crowded, and therefore has a greater chance of interference. There are too many devices using it: lots of other WiFi devices, including embedded WiFi radios, MiFis, personal mobile hotspots, but also non-WiFi radios like Bluetooth, cordless phones, baby monitors, and stuff like microwave ovens.

Providing reliable WiFi at crowded events has several distinct challenges. To help our clients overcome these challenges we employ a series of wireless best practices we've learned over the past 5 years. One of these best practices involves making use of both the older 2.4 GHz WiFi spectrum (802.11 b/g) and the newer 5 GHz WiFi spectrum (802.11 a/n). The older spectrum is widely supported by all WiFi devices, but it is limited to 3 non-overlapping channels, and as a result, is frequently subject to interference. By comparison, the newer 5 GHz WiFi spectrum has 21 non-overlapping channels (in the U.S.) and can carry much more data, but comes with other trade-offs that must be considered.

Improve your WiFi IQ by exploring the full Network World article by John Cox.