If you are noticing congestion on your network, or you simply need to ensure certain devices get the fastest speeds possible, then it can be a great idea to connect to the 5GHz wifi band.
While most modern devices such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets are 5GHz capable, as are many routers, you may not automatically connect to this band. If this is the case you may not be getting the optimum speeds and service from your network.
To find out how to connect compatible devices to 5GHz, please read on.
Why Would I Connect To 5GHz?
There are two main reasons that you would connect to the 5GHz band. These are:
- Avoiding congestion
- Get faster speeds
The 2.4GHz network is a great network. It has a longer range than 5GHz and is supported by a lot of different devices. This, however, is also its major downfall. The 2.4GHz band’s popularity combined with the fact that it only has 3 non-overlapping channels to choose from means that the network is easily congested.
This is especially likely to be the case if you live in a busy apartment block with lots of neighboring (competing) wifi networks within range, all competing for the same channel space.
In comparison to the 2.4GHz band, the 5GHz band not only has 24 non-overlapping channels. But there are less compatible devices meaning that congestion is far less likely to happen.
Because of this, by moving all your 5GHz band capable devices (that are within range) to the 5GHz band, not only will these devices experience less congestion but the devices that can only use 2.4GHz will also experience less congestion (from its own network).
Get Faster Speeds
As well as the benefits, you will likely notice from a lack of congestion, using the 5GHz channel will also give you faster speeds on your network.
If you have a newer Wireless AC router the 5GHz band will support theoretical speeds of up to 1300 Mbps. On the other hand, 2.4GHz only supports up to 600 Mbps. This means that for uses when you require a significant amount of throughput, connecting to the 5GHz band can be the best option.
Downside to 5GHz
There is a pretty major downside to 5GHz which is one of the reasons 2.4GHz is so popular. The 5GHz band has a shorter range so if you need to connect a device that is far away from your router, it may still be best to use 2.4GHz.
How To Connect To A 5GHz Wifi Network
First: Ensure The 5GHz Band Is Set Up On Your Router
This will obviously differ depending on your router and it may already be set up. Usually, you will have to do something along the lines of:
1. Open a browser, enter your router’s IP address, and login to your router. Not sure how to find your router IP? Learn how to here.
2. You will now be in your router’s menu. Find the “Wireless Settings” or equivalent.
3. From here you will be able to see the bands available on your router and set up the channels used on each band, security settings, and ensure that the band is enabled.
Another thing you can do is use a wifi scanning tool to check which channels are being used in the area. By doing this you can set up the 5GHz band to use channels without any congestion giving you the best possible signal.
Many routers come with an auto-select feature that will do this for you, but if not you can use a tool like Acrylic.
Once you have set up the 5GHz network on your router, connecting to a 5GHz network should be as easy as choosing the network, entering the security details, and pressing connect.
However, if you can’t see the 5GHz network, you should first check to see if your Windows 10 wifi adapter actually supports 5GHz. To do this:
1. Open the command prompt by typing “cmd” into the search bar.
2. Type “netsh wlan show drivers” and press enter.
3. Under “Radio types supported”, look for 802.11ac. If you don’t see 802.11ac but you do see 802.11n, you may still be able to use the 5GHz network. If this is the case you will have to google the name of your adapter to find out.
You may also be able to find out by finding the adapter in the device manager. Simply:
1. Search “Device Manager”.
2. Click “Network Adapters”.
3. Select your adapter.
4. Select “Advanced". In the list, you will see a list of properties, one of which might be 5GHz. Having said that, there is also the chance that it won’t be listed here. If that is the case you again always have the option of Googling your adapter.
On some android phones, it is possible to change the settings on Android so that your device only connects to the 5GHz band (although, on some this unfortunately isn’t an option and your phone will simply select the best possible band).
1. Go to “Settings”, then “Wifi”.
2. Click on the three dots in the corner, then go to “Advanced”, then “Wifi Frequency Band”.
3. Here you can choose either 5GHz.
4. You will now only be shown networks that use the 5GHz band.
To ensure you Mac chooses 5GHz over 2.4Ghz simply follow these instructions:
1. Go to “System Preferences”, then “Network Preferences”.
2. Choose “Wifi”.
3. Click on “Advanced”.
4. Drag the 5Ghz network you want to connect to the top of list. This will ensure you always connect to it when given the chance.
Do you use 5GHz? Let us know about it below...