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5GHz Wireless Worth It?


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Sir Topham Hatt

My router does 2.4GHz and 5GHz. 

I called each one by the same SSID as I don't really care which my phone connects to and I'm happy for it to connect to either, roam between them both whenever it needs to.

 

Bought some smart plugs.

Now I'm not really convinced by all this smart stuff but having taken advantage of Echo Dots at the cheapest they've ever been, I purchased two and have found them fairly useful for playing music from Spotify.

 

I could use the app and a speaker we already have but... well... I guess this means I can be lazy and just use voice commands.

 

 

Now to the smart plugs and actual question... 

 

They use 2.4GHz wireless only. When I try and connect them to the router, they don't like it when 5GHz is on so I've turned it off.

 

Apart from speed, is there any real problem with only having 2.4GHz?

I feel a bit old fashioned  ut the plugs were only £15 for two. Perhaps I should have invested in proper Alexa ones... Although I see they only work with 2.4GHz too.

 

Cheers

Edited by Jason S.
Changed thread title for accuracy
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adrynalyne

10000% worth it. 2.4 is a polluted frequency, which is far worse than a speed issue. Just make sure you have a strong connection. 

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+xrobwx71

5ghz has the potential to be faster but you'll never see what it advertises. It also has less range. For what you're using it for,2.4 is perfectly fine. 

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Mindovermaster

^ He isn't wrong...

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adrynalyne
8 minutes ago, Mindovermaster said:

^ He isn't wrong...

Tell that to my neighbors that I am regularly switching to 5Ghz due to frequent disconnections and instability from a polluted frequency.

 

I don't even run 2.4Ghz in my home.

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Mindovermaster
2 minutes ago, adrynalyne said:

Tell that to my neighbors that I am regularly switching to 5Ghz due to frequent disconnections and instability from a polluted frequency.

 

I don't even run 2.4Ghz in my home.

It totally depends on the area. 2.4 might not be safe in your apartment, but in a house in a rural area, you won't get that.

 

And being we don't know about his situation, you can't say that "you" having issues.

 

It's different everywhere you go.

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adrynalyne
1 minute ago, Mindovermaster said:

It totally depends on the area. 2.4 might not be safe in your apartment, but in a house in a rural area, you won't get that.

 

And being we don't know about his situation, you can't say that "you" having issues.

 

It's different everywhere you go.

I don't live in an apartment...so true, you don't know about my situation.

 

The fact is, 2.4 shares with a myriad of other devices, and only has three unshared channels. That long range that is desirable is also its downfall because thats what allows for the pollution in the first place.

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adrynalyne
4 minutes ago, Mindovermaster said:

It totally depends on the area. 2.4 might not be safe in your apartment, but in a house in a rural area, you won't get that.

 

And being we don't know about his situation, you can't say that "you" having issues.

 

It's different everywhere you go.

Let me show you something. This is with the 2.4Ghz radios in my APs turned to low. In the 5G range, almost half of those are mine.

 

image.png.2f0fe5e54a43be6c64a5cfaf7d49abee.png

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+LostCat

Assuming you’ve got 11AC or 11AX 5 is better for bandwidth and range depends on the devices and router.

 

For devices that don’t have bandwidth concerns either is fine, but 2.4ghz on an AC router is still N.

 

Also most routers have a limited antenna layout so that can matter in some cases.

 

2.4 is also more susceptible to temporary problems from unrelated electronics.

 

Whether or not any of this matters depends on your equipment and what you need from it.

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goretsky

Hello,


Perhaps changing the SSIDs of the 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks will solve the issue.

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky

 

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theefool
9 hours ago, adrynalyne said:

Let me show you something. This is with the 2.4Ghz radios in my APs turned to low. In the 5G range, almost half of those are mine.

 

image.png.2f0fe5e54a43be6c64a5cfaf7d49abee.png

Didn't know you can do that in UniFi.  Learned something new.  :) Have 25 here at 4G, 0 at 5G.

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adrynalyne
41 minutes ago, theefool said:

Didn't know you can do that in UniFi.  Learned something new.  :) Have 25 here at 4G, 0 at 5G.

Even 25 is a crazy number.

 

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+BudMan

Yeah iot devices like lightbulbs and smart plugs, and even other stuff that isn't going to be streaming media is most likely going to be 2.4 only..

 

Here is mine, notice only 9 devices on 5ghz..  And 19 on 2.4..

5-24.png.44c40bd858d4fefc1d911e5445c9a9b6.png

 

But if you look at what is on what - my devices that you would need bandwidth are on 5ghz, or devices that are a bit more expensive.. and support 5.. Are on 5..

 

Phones, ipads, laptops, etc.. alexa's are all on 5..  My thermostat, lightbulbs, harmony hub, etc.  Pretty much all on 2.4 because that is all they support.  They don't need high bandwidth.  But they quite often need range because most home networks have crappy wifi to be honest..  They have 1 wifi router in the corner of their house somewhere..  And well the makers of such devices also save a penny or 2 only having 2.4 support.

 

All of my ssids are both 2.4 and 5.. And have had no issues with cheap iot devices connecting.  I have a couple of low end smart plugs..   Control the xmas lights sort of thing..  I had picked up a 2 pack for $30 - like 3 years ago.. Show them on amazon right now for $15 for 2.. That is a good price for sure.. But yeah they only support 2.4, but have had no issues with them.. 3 years and still working ;)

 

If you have devices that have trouble with connecting to a single ssid that is both 2.4 and 5.. Then split that up, say put a _2g and _5g on the end of the ssid.

 

Even if you do not need high bandwidth, if your not using 5, and you have devices that support 5.. Your lowering the 2.4 available bandwidth.  Keep in mind wifi is shared..  By not putting your devices that support 5 on 5..   Now if your internet is just utter in the dirt for speed.. 25mbps or something.. And you don't do any local transfers of stuff.. Then guess it doesn't matter all that much.

 

If you have 5ghz capable devices, and they are in range of connecting.. I would not suggest you disable 5ghz just because you have devices that have trouble with the ssid being a combined 1.. Just create a 2.4 ssid, and a 5ghz ssid.. So that you can connect what you want to 2.4 and other devices like your phone and media streamers, etc. can use the 5..

 

@adrynalyne those are the AP in the area, I thought that was your devices ;)  at first - I was going to say wow 109 devices..  I just added 8 new lightbulbs so have gone over the 30 mark when everything connected.  But 109 was going to say damn ;)

 

I'm in a single family home with decent amount of distance between homes.  But yeah you can pick up a few other wifi networks.

 

wifinet.png.806a93934ab78c45a392ae1f1af74a1b.png

 

So sure interference can be an issue.. But keep in mind many of these could be direct connection... Many a device puts out a direct wifi signal these days. For setup for use - roku wifi remotes for example.. What the concern is signal strength of the stuff that is near by..

 

So for example here are the strongest signals - that top 1 is my directv box that puts out wifi for its little mini devices.  The stb you connect to other tvs in the house.. Its running on odd channel (60) so shouldn't be too much problem for interference on what Im running..  60 is a DFS channel.. So that is outside the normal 5ghz band used by normal wifi devices.. 

 

signal.thumb.png.7b481c93c9b9b6eb215b656aba2dbee2.png

 

But those 2nd two are house next to mine..  Running on channel 10 (wtf!) he has wifi router in auto mode be my take.  And he is pumping out some power for sure.. But that AP in my guestroom closest to him I run on channel 1, so shouldn't be an issue..  I run all my 2.4 in low power mode, and 5 only at medium..

 

In general yes should look to see what is around you and plan your channels and power for least amount of interference and overlap..   But I would not suggest turning of 5, if you have devices that support it for sure..

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adrynalyne
3 hours ago, BudMan said:

Yeah iot devices like lightbulbs and smart plugs, and even other stuff that isn't going to be streaming media is most likely going to be 2.4 only..

 

Here is mine, notice only 9 devices on 5ghz..  And 19 on 2.4..

5-24.png.44c40bd858d4fefc1d911e5445c9a9b6.png

 

But if you look at what is on what - my devices that you would need bandwidth are on 5ghz, or devices that are a bit more expensive.. and support 5.. Are on 5..

 

Phones, ipads, laptops, etc.. alexa's are all on 5..  My thermostat, lightbulbs, harmony hub, etc.  Pretty much all on 2.4 because that is all they support.  They don't need high bandwidth.  But they quite often need range because most home networks have crappy wifi to be honest..  They have 1 wifi router in the corner of their house somewhere..  And well the makers of such devices also save a penny or 2 only having 2.4 support.

 

All of my ssids are both 2.4 and 5.. And have had no issues with cheap iot devices connecting.  I have a couple of low end smart plugs..   Control the xmas lights sort of thing..  I had picked up a 2 pack for $30 - like 3 years ago.. Show them on amazon right now for $15 for 2.. That is a good price for sure.. But yeah they only support 2.4, but have had no issues with them.. 3 years and still working ;)

 

If you have devices that have trouble with connecting to a single ssid that is both 2.4 and 5.. Then split that up, say put a _2g and _5g on the end of the ssid.

 

Even if you do not need high bandwidth, if your not using 5, and you have devices that support 5.. Your lowering the 2.4 available bandwidth.  Keep in mind wifi is shared..  By not putting your devices that support 5 on 5..   Now if your internet is just utter in the dirt for speed.. 25mbps or something.. And you don't do any local transfers of stuff.. Then guess it doesn't matter all that much.

 

If you have 5ghz capable devices, and they are in range of connecting.. I would not suggest you disable 5ghz just because you have devices that have trouble with the ssid being a combined 1.. Just create a 2.4 ssid, and a 5ghz ssid.. So that you can connect what you want to 2.4 and other devices like your phone and media streamers, etc. can use the 5..

 

@adrynalyne those are the AP in the area, I thought that was your devices ;)  at first - I was going to say wow 109 devices..  I just added 8 new lightbulbs so have gone over the 30 mark when everything connected.  But 109 was going to say damn ;)

 

I'm in a single family home with decent amount of distance between homes.  But yeah you can pick up a few other wifi networks.

 

wifinet.png.806a93934ab78c45a392ae1f1af74a1b.png

 

So sure interference can be an issue.. But keep in mind many of these could be direct connection... Many a device puts out a direct wifi signal these days. For setup for use - roku wifi remotes for example.. What the concern is signal strength of the stuff that is near by..

 

So for example here are the strongest signals - that top 1 is my directv box that puts out wifi for its little mini devices.  The stb you connect to other tvs in the house.. Its running on odd channel (60) so shouldn't be too much problem for interference on what Im running..  60 is a DFS channel.. So that is outside the normal 5ghz band used by normal wifi devices.. 

 

signal.thumb.png.7b481c93c9b9b6eb215b656aba2dbee2.png

 

But those 2nd two are house next to mine..  Running on channel 10 (wtf!) he has wifi router in auto mode be my take.  And he is pumping out some power for sure.. But that AP in my guestroom closest to him I run on channel 1, so shouldn't be an issue..  I run all my 2.4 in low power mode, and 5 only at medium..

 

In general yes should look to see what is around you and plan your channels and power for least amount of interference and overlap..   But I would not suggest turning of 5, if you have devices that support it for sure..

Yeah I pick up another 30 or so if I up the power. This is a 2100 sq ft SFR outside of the city. While the houses are somewhat close, it’s still nutty and you know just about everyone is using auto for the power level. 

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Marujan

5GHZ works bad for me, not for gaming. Netgear $250 router. Ping is jumping between 40 to 85 then 115 till 180.

Wired connection stable on 38ms.

 

Changed channel does not fixed an issue.

So iam wired only now.

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adrynalyne
1 minute ago, Marujan said:

5GHZ works bad for me, not for gaming. Netgear $250 router. Ping is jumping between 40 to 85 then 115 till 180.

Wired connection stable on 38ms.

 

Changed channel does not fixed an issue.

So iam wired only now.

Consumer APs typically suck. I have old ass Unifi APs that don't vary that much. 

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+BudMan

No sure how changing your power level would have you pick up more devices as nearby?

 

1 hour ago, adrynalyne said:

Consumer APs typically suck

This is so freaking true ;)  I have never heard of anyone switching to real AP.. And saying oh I'm just going to go back to off the shelf soho..

 

Wifi is normally crap for anything but checking your email, streaming some music of video maybe..  Its always going to suck compared to wire that is for sure..  Not sure why anyone who is concerned with response time would ever play a game over wireless..   BTW - ping is not always a good measure of game response time... Pings are lowest level sort of traffic, low priority, first to drop sort of traffic.. While its ok for test of what your normal rtt to some distant IP is... I wouldn't be all that concerned that pings went up when your playing a game..  Ping is almost going to always go up when you start moving any amount of traffic.  Even before it hits the internet.. Since as your local network starts moving traffic your queues on your interfaces start to fill up, and now packets have to wait... Even locally via a wire you can see this...

 

Here is a test I did for another thread elsewhere trying to explain what happens when you start moving traffic.  So running ping to my nas, which is local - normally see about 0.5ms response time... But start moving even some traffic, this was moving 200mbps on my gig connection and you will see that time go up, even locally.. With only switch between you.  Now start thinking about how many hops your doing with routing and lower end speeds not full gig.. As you move up your network to your isp to the internet.

msdGRek.thumb.png.3ec7f80a1a904c36e031f862579811e5.png

 

While ping time going up is a indication that your line has traffic on it - doesn't always 1:1 relate to response time in a game..   I wouldn't be all that concerned with an increase in ping times as you play a game or stream a movie, download a file, etc. because its going to be a given that yes as you fill up a pipe  the time for any specific packet to move through the network is going to take a bit longer.  Since now you have a lot of cars waiting in line to get on the highway, vs the onramp being empty.

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adrynalyne
3 minutes ago, BudMan said:

No sure how changing your power level would have you pick up more devices as nearby?

 

This is so freaking true ;)  I have never heard of anyone switching to real AP.. And saying oh I'm just going to go back to off the shelf soho..

 

Wifi is normally crap for anything but checking your email, streaming some music of video maybe..  Its always going to suck compared to wire that is for sure..  Not sure why anyone who is concerned with response time would ever play a game over wireless..   BTW - ping is not always a good measure of game response time... Pings are lowest level sort of traffic, low priority, first to drop sort of traffic.. While its ok for test of what your normal rtt to some distant IP is... I wouldn't be all that concerned that pings went up when your playing a game..  Ping is almost going to always go up when you start moving any amount of traffic.  Even before it hits the internet.. Since as your local network starts moving traffic your queues on your interfaces start to fill up, and now packets have to wait... Even locally via a wire you can see this...

 

Here is a test I did for another thread elsewhere trying to explain what happens when you start moving traffic.  So running ping to my nas, which is local - normally see about 0.5ms response time... But start moving even some traffic, this was moving 200mbps on my gig connection and you will see that time go up, even locally.. With only switch between you.  Now start thinking about how many hops your doing with routing and lower end speeds not full gig.. As you move up your network to your isp to the internet.

msdGRek.thumb.png.3ec7f80a1a904c36e031f862579811e5.png

 

While ping time going up is a indication that your line has traffic on it - doesn't always 1:1 relate to response time in a game..   I wouldn't be all that concerned with an increase in ping times as you play a game or stream a movie, download a file, etc. because its going to be a given that yes as you fill up a pipe  the time for any specific packet to move through the network is going to take a bit longer.  Since now you have a lot of cars waiting in line to get on the highway, vs the onramp being empty.

Well it does affect it, so you tell me? 🧐
 

If you turn up the power of the radio, it makes the signal stronger, so my guess is it picks up more signals? I mean, that’s why it sucks so many people have their damn radios on auto because they go far and beyond their own homes on 2.4. 

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+BudMan

Hmmm - I really don't see how that could have any effect at all.. You would have to dump a list, and then change your power and dump the list again.. And then see which ones are different..

 

But this is traffic that is received at your AP.. What power the AP transmits its own signal at should have no effect on what the AP sees from neighbors..   Unless some AP/devices seeing your higher level signal increase their transmit?  if many devices being on auto, maybe this is some sort of compensation for other wifi in the area?

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adrynalyne
3 minutes ago, BudMan said:

Hmmm - I really don't see how that could have any effect at all.. You would have to dump a list, and then change your power and dump the list again.. And then see which ones are different..

 

But this is traffic that is received at your AP.. What power the AP transmits its own signal at should have no effect on what the AP sees from neighbors..   Unless some AP/devices seeing your higher level signal increase their transmit?  if many devices being on auto, maybe this is some sort of compensation for other wifi in the area?

I have no idea. 

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+LostCat
1 hour ago, BudMan said:

Wifi is normally crap for anything but checking your email, streaming some music of video maybe..  Its always going to suck compared to wire that is for sure..  Not sure why anyone who is concerned with response time would ever play a game over wireless..

All I can tell you is I can barely tell the difference with my Eero 6 setup.  I don't really care if I'm wired or not anymore.

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+BudMan
42 minutes ago, LostCat said:

I don't really care if I'm wired or not anymore.

Depends on what your doing.. I can tell you for sure.. Wireless even AX can not do this.

 

dothatwithwire.png.c115c830ce83e69cb67d1428eed41c52.png

 

When you moving large files back and forth from your PC and your nas... There is a big different between 113MBps (gig) and like 270+ish MBps..

 

filecopy.png.648c61099f835d07f9f7a601bb08c275.png

 

Do that with your wireless ;)  While sure you can see gig speeds with AX..  Still doesn't compare to a wire.. Never will.. Wireless is fine for mobile devices.. But when I want to move data, wire is going to win ever single time..

 

 

 

 

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Jason S.

OP - admittedly, i didnt read the whole thread. Do you live in an apt or house? Apartments, of course, are going to be super crowded on the 2.4GHz spectrum. 5GHz helps, and 'ax' promises to do even better w/ tons of wireless devices.

 

fwiw, i try to always use 5GHz when i can. Some older devices simply dont support it. Other times it'll come down to distance and obstructions. For instance, 2.4GHz should do better in a home with many walls. 5GHz might struggle getting through walls and concrete.

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+LostCat
2 hours ago, BudMan said:

When you moving large files back and forth from your PC and your nas... There is a big different between 113MBps (gig) and like 270+ish MBps..

I don't use a normal NAS, so indeed.  You were talking about gaming though, not heavy file transfers.

 

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+BudMan

AX runs on 5ghz ;)  So if user can't use 5ghz, and has no devices for 5ghz even?  He wants to turn it off - don't see how AX would help him..

 

You don't need AX for gaming either ;)  2.4ghz is fine for gaming from a bandwidth perspective.. But wireless be it G,N,AC,AX is not going to be as robust from a connection standpoint as a wire either.. While you mesh system will provide better wifi and can provide for a more stable connection sure..  In a small apartment, mess is prob not going to help all that much - because its not area he needs to cover but interference from all the wifi in the area.  5ghz should and would be better because you can use channels that are not normally used, and have less range, even in an apartment setup..

 

Wire there is no interference.. And you don't have to worry about signal strength, and you don't have to worry about shared bandwidth.. etc. from a gaming perspective - wire wins hands down as well. 

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benthebear

Throwing my 2 cents in here, and to back up what others are saying.

 

5GHz is absolutely worth it. Any device that supports it should be connected to it. As others have pointed out, there's a lot of interference with 2.4GHz because just about everything wireless uses it. Do you have a microwave running between the device and the wireless access point (WAP) ? Kiss that connection goodbye until the microwave stops running. If you have the WAP in the same room as your Nintendo Switch, or any console with wireless controllers, you'll experience input lag. Breath of the Wild was not fun until I figured that one out. 

 

I have seen IoT devices have issues if the 2.4GHz and 5GHz SSIDs are combined. I think it would be best to give the 2.4GHz and 5GHz their own SSID. So like "My WiFi-2G" and "My WiFi-5G". Connect the IoT devices to the 2G SSID, and connect any device that supports 5GHz to the 5G SSID. The devices connected to 5GHz will benefit from the boost in speed, and you shouldn't run into any connection issues.

 

Going with the..."proper Alexa," plugs won't help because they're all the same. You're right. They only support 2.4GHz, and they also have the cheapest WiFi antenna in them. 

 

Finally, if it's possible, and it hasn't already been done, move the WAP to a more centralized location in the home. That would kind of help with the coverage issues 5GHz has. I'm assuming here since I don't have a lot of information to go by. ISPs don't care or know much about WiFi. I've been in a lot of homes and businesses where the WAP is on the far end of the location. 

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