Very often the 5 GHzWi-Fi band is associated exclusively to the transmission protocol 802.11ac. In fact, even today’s most popular protocol 802.11n works perfectly in the frequency range at 5 GHz. The big difference between the two protocols is that the 802.11n operates mainly on the range of radio frequencies of 2.4 GHz, while the 802.11ac protocol operates exclusively on the 5 GHz range, featuring less noise and interferences.
The benefits of the 5GHz Wi-Fi band
As mentioned above, the 5 GHz radio band is free from interferences because the frequency of 2.4 GHz is now saturated by many devices (including non-Wi-Fi ones) that work on the same frequency (microwave ovens, Bluetooth, cameras, garages, cordless phones …). Today, the only known source that can generate interferences to the 5 GHz band have a range of cordless phones that work on specific channels, however now no longer raise a particular problem due to the spread of the most popular DECT 6.0 (which operates instead on the 1.9 GHz frequency). Therefore, the 5 GHz band provides an ideal environment for the Wi-Fi communications.
Normally, the Wi-Fi networks are designed to offer two specific features: coverage and capacity. The 2.4 GHz band is able to cover a larger area than the 5 GHz, because radio waves travel farther when the frequency is lower. In the enterprise environment, coverage is more important and the 5 GHz band offers more than 20 non-overlapping channels compared to 3 or 4 in the 2.4 GHz band. This aspect makes the 5 GHz the best choice for companies that want to improve the performance of their Wi-Fi network.
Obviously, a lower cover for cell involves a greater total cost and, in fact, a 5 GHz network requires more APs to cover the same area with the 2.4 GHz. Installing multiple access points provides for a greater work, and therefore the final cost of implementation will be more expensive. This economic aspect has always favored 2.4 GHz solutions, although the trend has been changing because of the increased need of companies to invest in increasingly high-performance networks.
What to choose between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz
Nowadays, there are still many enterprise-class products, especially for the mobile industry, which are not compatible with the 5 GHz frequency. The good news is that this situation is improving with the gradual increase in the percentage of dual-band Wi-Fi devices (which support both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) and their widespread diffusion within companies. Looking at the info graphic above, already in 2015, 68% of new Wi-Fi devices were dual-band, with an already highly marked upward trend.
In summary, we can see together what are the advantages and disadvantages for companies in implementing the 5 GHz in their networks.
The benefits of the 5 GHz frequency
- The 5 GHz band is less likelyto be congested than the most widespread and “clogged” 4 GHz.
- The 5 GHz band guarantees ahigher throughput with the same channel width and has also 23 non-overlapping channels (compared to only 3 of the 2.4 GHz band) to cancel the danger of interference.
- The 802.11ac protocol implements the mostrecent technologies such as MU-MIMO e Beamforming
Disadvantages of the 5GHz frequency
- The Wi-Fi networks of 2.4GHzcover an area greater than the 5GHz wireless networks.
- The cost per cell results to be higher than the traditional networks of 2.4 GHz.
From our experience, the 5GHz and 2.4GHz frequencies are both valid depending on the network in which they are used, and many solutions are implemented in dual-band mode. The 5 GHz offers higher speeds and less interference, while the 2.4 GHz offers greater coverage with a lower cost of execution.
Contact us for more information on the implementation of enterprise network of 2.4GHz and 5GHz