Wi-Fi is one of many technologies we use on a daily basis. Whether it be checking email, posting to Instagram, or streaming Netflix, WiFi is a technology we rely on to stay connected. Wi-Fi operates in 2 distinct unlicensed frequency bands. 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. These bands are split up into channels that correspond to a particular frequency within each band. Most modern routers support both frequency bands.
Do 5 GHz only routers exist? TL;DR answer: no they do not, but you can easily disable the 2.4 GHz band on most routers.
Why 2.4 GHz Started it All
2.4 GHz was the prominent choice in the early days of Wi-Fi. Standards such as 802.11b and 80.211g operated exclusively in the 2.4 GHz band. At the time the combination of longer range and more stable connection made it the better choice. In the early day of Wi-Fi speed was less of a concern. As a result the 2.4 GHz band has became increasingly crowded with devices. This means interference is a very common issue on the 2.4 GHz band.
Why 5 GHz is Better
The 5GHz band really started to gain traction with the 802.11n standard. While technically 802.11n operates in either band, the 5 GHz band was really what 802.11n put in the spotlight. The 5 GHz band has shorter overall range due to the higher frequency band. This is both a curse and a blessing. Shorter range means that more wireless access points are needed to cover a given area, but also mean less chance for interference.
802.11ac know branded as Wi-Fi 5 took the use of the 5 GHz band to a whole new level. The Wi-Fi 5 standard was 5 GHz only. This is how it was able to offer much faster speeds than the previous 802.11n standard.
Wi-Fi 6 is the current standard. It operates in both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, though the highest speeds are only when using the 5 GHz band. Most modern smartphones, tablets, and laptops all support the 5 GHz Wi-Fi band, as do gaming consoles such as the Xbox Series X and Sony PS5.
The 2.4 GHz band is much slower and therefor not generally used by devices that need a lot of bandwidth. Some devices such as many inexpensive internet of things (IoT) devices only support the 2.4 GHz band. This is primarily a cost saving measure that works okay because of the little bandwidth these devices require.
As a general rule, if your device supports 5 GHz, that is where you want to connect it. The speed advantages of 5 GHz are huge, and the stability / interference free operation is also a huge benefit.
Do 5 GHz Only Routers Exist
Some people no longer have any devices that are using the 2.4 GHz band and want to know if they can get a 5 GHz only router. Unfortunately a 5 GHz only router is not really a thing, at least for now. Modern routers all support both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands. The Wi-Fi 6 specification specifically requires that both bands be present.
Can 2.4 GHz Band be Disabled
Most routers will allow you to turn the bands on and off separately if desired. This means that if you want 5 GHz only, you can certainly do that with most modern routers. Of course for most people keeping both bands enabled on their router is going to be the best option.
How to Disable the 2.4 GHz Band on Your Router
If you want to turn off the 2.4 GHz band you will need to do so from within your routers dashboard. You can access your routers dashboard through your web browser in most cases. Some newer routers also come with the option of using a mobile app to access the dashboard. The web browser is the better option in most cases, as often times the app does not provide access to all of the settings.
You can find the IP address of your router by opening a command prompt window and typing in ipconfig and pressing enter. Your default gateway is the IP address of your router. On Mac or Linux the command is ifconfig.
Open your web browser and enter the IP address of your router into the address bar. This will take you to your routers configuration page. If needed accept the security warning that pops up.
You will then be able to login with your username and password. If you do not know what your username and password is, they are likely the factory defaults. Google the brand of your router and look up the default credentials.
You may also find the login info on a sticker attached to your router. This is especially common with routers provided by your internet service provider.
Once you are logged in, navigate to Wi-Fi settings, and turn off the 2.4 GHz band.
At the present time there are no routers that are 5 GHz only. It is easy to turn off the 2.4 GHz band on most routers and access points if desired. Generally it is best to keep both frequency bands enabled, as some devices only support the 2.4 GHz band. The 5 GHz band is highly recommended for any devices that support it.
is 5 GHz Wi-Fi faster than 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi:
Generally 5 GHz is significantly faster than 2.4 GHz. This is due to there being more bandwidth available and less interference. Any devices that support the 5 GHz band should be connected using it.
Is 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi Better for Range:
Generally 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi signals will travel about twice as far a 5 GHz Wi-Fi signals. This is due to the frequency being lower. 2.4 GHz also has an easier time traveling through walls and other obstructions. Of course no Wi-Fi signal travels well thorough solid objects such as brick, stone, or concrete.
Is ethernet better than Wi-Fi
Wired ethernet connections are generally faster and more stable than Wi-Fi connections. They are also less prone to interference. Wi-Fi has the advantage for portable devices because it does not require any wires for data connectivity. Ethernet is best suited for stationary devices such as printers, and desktop computers.