A dual band router is a router that supports the 2.4GHz and the 5GHz spectrums simultaneously. With the dual band routers also comes with the potential of wirelessly transmitting data at high speeds of up to 900Mbit or as the manufacturer might call it N900.
Nowadays, more and more products are supporting the 5GHz standard but is the price difference worth it?
What are the advantages of having a dual band router?
There are quite a few advantages in having a dual band router compared to just a single 2.4GHz router.
- Higher transfer speeds between devices in the 5GHz band routers supporting up to 900Mbit transfer speeds
- Can easily separate the older N devices on the 2.4GHz band and keep all new products on the 5GHz band
- Living in an apartment or condo complex there will be less interference between routers
- No interference with other devices on the 2.4GHz spectrum (microwave ovens)
- Can add dual band wireless cards to have higher throughput without running network cables everywhere
So you could see from the list above there are quite a few things that the 5GHz spectrum could help with when it comes to wireless networking. Remember when it comes to wireless networks having a slower device on there will slow your wireless speeds on the network as a whole; so if we could separate the older b/g/n devices on the 2.4GHz network and have devices that use 5GHz we can transfer data much quicker.
The 5GHz range would play a big role for those who live in apartment complexes because of the fact there are only so many channels one could use on a regular N router without getting interference from their neighbor next to them. With 5GHz still not being the norm, one could alleviate all the interference by using the 5GHz band on a dual band router.
What are the disadvantages of having a dual band router?
- Cost prohibitive – most dual band routers can cost about double that of a regular single band router
- A lot of devices still do not support 5GHz network frequency
- Distance vs range – 5GHz does not penetrate through walls as well as 2.4GHz so your range will be limited
The disadvantages are few here with the main disadvantage is that of device support. Granted most people have tablets and modern phones that do support 5GHz but when it comes to laptops not all laptops from the past 3 years will have a dual band wireless card that can support the 5GHz spectrum.
The range issue can be attributed to if a signal can go through walls and sometimes floors. With the 5GHz range the signal bounces more than penetrates so what would happen with a multistory dwelling is either weak or no signal. With a weak signal we obviously wouldn’t get the throughput as advertised and might also suffer disconnects between the device and router.
The 5GHz spectrum is becoming popular and one could easily add a wireless dual band network card to their computer to help alleviate either interference between devices in their home or even better to transfer files quicker between computers.