Does WiFi Frequency Matter

Ever wondered why you were told to reboot the router when your Internet is slow? It has to do with your WiFi frequency channels.

We used to only have a single WiFi frequency until WiFi 5 (802.11ac) came out with an additional one – 5Ghz.

Some may ask questions like:

  • Which WiFi frequency is better? 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz?
  • 5Ghz is much faster, but why can’t my IP camera use it? 
  • Which WiFi frequency should I use?
  • What about WiFi 6?

In this article, we will be explaining what is WiFi frequency, why WiFi channels will impact interference and most important all – how you can change your WiFi channel settings and get blazing fast Internet speed without spending a penny.

The Evolution of Wireless Standard

Here is a quick snapshot of the evolution of Wireless Standard from Wireless N to now, WiFi 6.

FeatureWiFi 4WiFi 5WiFi 6
Wireless Standard802.11n802.11ac802.11ax
Channel Bandwidth20, 4020, 40, 8020, 40, 80, 80 + 80, 160
Frequency Bands2.4Ghz2.4 and 5 GHz2.4 and 5 GHz
Maximum Data Rate150Mbps6.9 Gbps*9.6Gbps*
Highest Subcarrier Modulation64-QAM256-QAM1024-QAM
Streams148

Table from WiFi 6 – Wireless Standard Specification

The Biggest Difference Between 2.4Ghz & 5Ghz

To put it simply, 2.4Ghz frequency can travel a longer distance before the signal degrades, whereby 5Ghz is much stronger and able to transmit more data, but way shorter distance.

Source: Netspot – Why A Router Has Two Frequency

Now that you have some basic understanding of both frequencies, let’s proceed with the next question.

Why You Were Told To Reboot Router When the Internet is Slow

This is because your WiFi channel is congested and devices are taking a longer time to communicate with one another, hence instead of telling you to login to your WiFi system and change the channel (which is a hassle), you were told to restart the router.

When your router reboots, it will automatically select a WiFi channel, different routers will have different channel preferences based on their settings.

Which brings us to the next point – what is a WiFi channel?

Understanding WiFi Channels in 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz

Each WiFi frequency will have its own channels, you may refer to the table below for more information.

WiFi FrequencyBandwidthWiFi Channel
2.4Ghz20,401,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13
5Ghz20,40,8036,40,44,48,149,153,157,161

MetaGeek did a great job explaining WiFi interference which you may read over here. There are 3 sources of WiFi interferences:

Co-Channel Interference

If you have too many devices connected in a single wireless channel, you will face congested traffic. In case you didn’t know, there is a total supported device for every router, you can find this information on our router tool.

Adjacent-Channel

This is for those who set up access points and having clients and access points overlapping channels which will impact the signal.

Non-WiFi Devices

Electronics such as microwave, cordless phone or even analog camera transmit signals which would affect your WiFi network.

Why They Always Recommend Swapping To Channel 1, 6 & 11 for 2.4Ghz

Because these are the only non-overlapping channels, the lesser they overlap, the lesser interference, which means better WiFi frequency.

Here’s How You Can Find Out Interference

Real simple, just go to your Apple Store or Google Playstore to download any WiFi analyzer (click here for a quick search).

This app will show you what WiFi channel you are in and what is the recommended least congested channel that you should opt to.

How Do I Change My WiFi Channel?

Simple, just follow the steps below unless you have specific instructions from your brand operator:

  • Login to 192.168.0.1
  • Type in your username and password
  • Go to your Wireless Settings
  • Select Channel & Bandwidth
  • Change your channel and you’re good to go!

Conclusion – Learn To Diagnose Your WiFi Status

Most of the time when we have lousy Internet speed, we would often blame that it’s either we don’t have 5Ghz covered in the whole house, or something wrong with the router.

Learning how to diagnose your WiFi status and WiFi channel is a FREE way that doesn’t cost you money to see if you needed an upgrade (way before you splurge on WiFi 6 Routers).

P/S: Need more help? Ask all your WiFi-related questions in WiFi community, also feel free to reach out to us on Whatsapp or Facebook.

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