The short answer is no. Devices that only support 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi cannot connect to a 5 GHz Wi-Fi network. However, if you have a dual-band router that supports both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, then you’re in luck!
Keep on reading to learn more about this.
2.4 GHz vs 5 GHz Comparison
Simply put, the 2.4 GHz frequency has longer radio waves compared to the shorter 5 GHz waves.
This means that the 2.4 GHz waves can travel longer distances and can travel through solid objects like walls.
For this reason, if your router is using a 2.4 GHz band, you don't need to be near the router to get fast speeds.
However, if you're not near your router that uses a 5 GHz band, you might experience connectivity problems with your devices.
The 5 GHz band uses shorter wavelengths and this is why it is a lot faster than the 2.4 GHz band.
The other reason why we have faster speeds on the 5GHz band is embedded in the history of these two bands.
5 GHz was invented to solve the slow speeds of 2.4 GHz. In the past, almost all devices were using 2.4 GHz. This meant that the 2.4 GHz frequency was always going to become congested because it has many devices competing for it.
Bandwidths Don't Add Up
With the invention of 5 GHz, there was a strong need to develop Wi-Fi routers that have both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. This was because most of the older devices still used 2.4 GHz and they couldn't be left out.
In addition, selectable dual-band routers and simultaneous dual-band routers were introduced to solve this problem.
However, the selectable version can only allow you to use one frequency at a time whereas the simultaneous version lets you have both bands on simultaneously.
Dual Band Router
The question is – can your simultaneous dual-band router, with a download speed of 250 Mbps and 500 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, respectively help you achieve a maximum download speed of 750 Mbps?
The answer is no.
This is because bandwidths don't add up. Your device will simply choose the better and more suitable band for it. For instance, your iPhone can't use both 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz at the same time.
Connecting to Different Wi-Fi Bandwidths
Well, this depends on the Wi-Fi router that you are using. If you're using a selectable dual-band router, you will have to manually change the band that suits your devices.
In this case, the device cannot choose on its own. You will have to be the master of your router.
If you have a simultaneous dual-band Wi-Fi router, both bands can be on at the same time.
Devices that can use both bands will always be able to choose the most suitable frequency on their own at that specific time.
Remember, your device cannot use both bands at the same time. You also don't need to choose a band for your device when you realize the Wi-Fi is becoming slow. This is because your device will choose the best band for it at that time.
However, this will only happen on the simultaneous dual-band router.
Common Questions Related to Connecting a 2.4 GHz Device to a 5 GHz Network?
Google Nest devices can connect to both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi bands but this can't happen at the same exact point in time.
Google Nest devices will simply connect to the best available Wi-Fi band at a particular point in time.
5G and 5 GHz mean completely different things.
5 GHz is simply a newer technology of Wi-Fi bands that provides faster speeds but with a shorter range – if you're comparing it to the 2.4 GHz band.
5G on the other hand means the fifth generation. This is the latest technology in terms of cellular networks. Remember 4G, 3G, and 2G? Well, 5G is just a continuation of these technologies.
No, you don't have to connect all your IoT devices to the same Wi-Fi network. If you have more than one router, other devices can connect to the other router.
However, some devices that use apps on your smartphone might require that your phone and that device are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
This does not mean that your smart devices won't work when connected to different Wi-Fi networks.
However, it's also advised that you use a separate network for your IoT devices and another one for your usual Wi-Fi needs, like connecting your home smartphones. This is strictly for security purposes.
You can get this information in different ways depending on the device you want to use to check.
If you're using a Windows PC, simply go over to the Wi-Fi icon and click on Properties. The next screen that will show up will show you whether you're using 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz.
If you're using an Android phone, simply dial *#0011# and a screen will show up. Look for Wi-Fi and select it. It will show you the frequency that you are using. It might show 2417 MHz but that also means 2.4 GHz.
If you're using an iPhone, you can dial *3001#12345#* to get this information.
In the past, we only had one Wi-Fi band: 2.4 GHz. It became congested because most of the devices being manufactured were using this frequency to connect to Wi-Fi routers which were also designed to use 2.4 GHz.
Not long after, 5 GHz was invented to decongest the frequencies and to get faster Wi-Fi speeds. Today, new routers have both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz to cater to all kinds of devices.
Further, you have two Wi-Fi bands for this reason.
Usually, your Windows PC will automatically switch between the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands according to its needs.
However, you might want it to just stick to 5 GHz for your own personal reasons.
To manually change the Wi-Fi bands, go to your control panel and look for Wi-Fi.
Right-click on Wi-Fi and select Properties.
Now, select the Configure option and look for the Advanced Properties of your Wi-Fi.
Here, you can decide to manually change your Wi-Fi band settings in whichever way you please.
Understanding the difference between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi bands is important if you're planning to buy a Wi-Fi router for your smart home. By now, you should know that you shouldn’t buy a router that only uses 2.4 GHz as 5 GHz is very useful for streaming high bandwidth content.