802.11n vs. AC Whiteboard

Differences between 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wireless

The primary difference between the 2.4 GHz and 5GHz wireless frequencies is range as the 2.4GHz frequency is able to reach farther than the 5GHz frequency. This is a result of the basic characteristics that waves attenuate much faster at higher frequencies. So if you are more concerned with the coverage, you should select 2.4GHz rather than 5GHz.

The second difference is the number of devices on the frequencies. 2.4GHz suffers more interference than 5GHz.
  1. The older 11g standard only uses the 2.4GHz frequency, majority of the world is on it. 2.4 GHz has fewer channel options with only three of them non-overlapping, while 5GHz has 23 non-overlapping channels.
  2. A lot of other devices are also on the 2.4 GHz frequencies, the biggest offenders are microwaves and cordless phones. These devices add noise to the medium that can further decrease the speed of wireless networks.
In both aspects, choosing to deploy on the 5GHz frequency is the much better option as you have more channels to use to isolate yourself from other networks and there are far fewer interference sources.

But the radar and military frequency is also 5GHz, so 5GHz wireless may also have some interference, and many countries require that wireless devices working on 5GHz should support DFS(Dynamic Frequency Selection) and TPC(Transmitting Power Control).

Bluetooth, Microwaves, & Chordless phones
Almost everyone has a microwave in their house. Some of them emit some of the radiation used to warm up your pizza outside of the unit. No, it’s not supposed to do that, but some do, especially as they get older and components start to break down. In addition to being harmful to your health, there “spurious emissions” cause bursts of noise around the 2.4GHz spectrum that can severely interfere with your wireless signal. If you find that you’re in this situation, you might want to consider replacing your microwave oven!
Bluetooth used to be limited to headsets and other special-use equipment, but as its feature-set increased, devices using Bluetooth increased too — and not just in number, but in the bandwidth they use and the amount of time they’re turned on! Bluetooth speakers and docks are a good example of this, though wearables are quickly becoming more commonplace as well.
Keyboards, mice, trackpads, and trackballs can use Bluetooth to connect, and even those that use their own proprietary wireless hardware are typically still using 2.4GHz.

Advantages of 5GHz
Finally users can take advantage of the reduced noise available in the 5GHz spectrum. This will provide faster data rates, fewer disconnects, and a more enjoyable experience. (It may even help you run faster and jump higher, but that study is still pending.)
Bluetooth and other wireless peripherals aren’t going to bother you in the 5GHz spectrum so there’s less interference. Microwaves don’t operate up here (not even newer ones), so that source of noise is eliminated, too.
There are many more reasons why 802.11ac is better than others, but this article is about switching to the 5GHz spectrum, rather than about 802.11ac specifically. With a compatible router or WAP, your 802.11n 0r 802.11ac smartphone or tablet will work much, much better. With a stronger the signal and faster the throughput, less power is required to get your signal above the noise floor, which should result in better battery life in addition to better network performance.
Not all of your devices are going to have 5GHz compatibility built-in, those will still work every bit as well as they did before on 2.4GHz, but will work even better now that you’ll be offloading traffic from that network and putting onto your 5GHz network.
Lastly, there are some potential disadvantages. Given the same power, the higher the frequency, the shorter the distance a signal can travel. That means your signal may not travel as far as it would have on a 2.4GHz network.
Since the signals may not travel as far, that means you may not have as much interference from neighbors as you would have on 2.4GHz. Neither will your neighbors (which could very well be a major advantage to both you and them). Another potential advantage is that 5GHz signals may be able to get into places that 2.4GHz couldn’t reach because of the size of their waveforms.
All in all, I’d highly recommend that you upgrade your router or WAP to 802.11ac and set up both 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks, then move as much of your wireless traffic to the 5GHz side as possible. You’ll have less noise, less interference, better speeds, a more stable connection, and possibly even better battery life. What more could you want?

  1. 5GHz has a shorter range compared with 2.4GHz;
  2. The 2.4GHz frequency is way more crowded than 5GHz, devices on 2.4GHz suffer much more interference than the ones on 5GHz;
  3. Fewer devices are capable of using the 5GHz channel than the 2.4GHz channel.
If there is too much interference around and your clients support 5GHz, it’s recommended to use 5GHz wireless network, otherwise you’d better select 2.4GHz.