Everyone, from home users to large corporations, is responsible for improving and managing Wi-Fi performance. Wi-Fi performance is affected by channel width. The width you choose can make a big difference in Wi-Fi performance. It’s not always easy to get it right. It can be difficult to keep up with best practices when there are multiple standards and many tradeoffs.
Every wireless environment is unique and you must adapt your equipment to suit the conditions. It is often not worth increasing your channel width with 2.4 GHz. Instead, you should keep it at 20 MHz. With 5 GHz, however, increasing channel width can increase performance, but there are tradeoffs. If you don’t have interference concerns and all of your clients support 5 GHz, choose the widest width possible.
This video shows how SPOTO trainer Keith Barker uses NetSpots and SweetSpots as a way to optimize Wi-Fi. He maps his coverage and examines channels for possible interference.
Learn how to become a security expert with SPOTO’s Cybersecurity Training
Start training The right answer to this question, like most things in tech depends on the context. To help you better understand the topic, let’s look at the “why” behind these generalizations.
Understanding Wi-Fi Bands
It is crucial to understand Wi-Fi bands in order to know when to use 20 MHz, 40 MHz, or 80 MHz channel widths. It is also a prerequisite for understanding Wi-Fi channels, channel widths, and channels.
The main Wi-Fi bands are 2.4 GHz & 5 GHz. These Wi-Fi bands can then be divided into channels that wireless devices can use to communicate.
2.4 GHz Wi-Fi Band
The 2.4 GHz band covers a 100 MHz frequency range of 2400 MHz up to 2500 MHz (equivalent in size to 2.4 GHz and 2.5 GHz). The 2.4GHz band is divided into 14 channels each of 20 MHz (more information on other channel sizes later).
You can see that there are 14 channels within the 2.4 GHz band in the image. Channels 1, 6, 11 and 14 don’t overlap.
You’ll quickly realize that 14 bands of 20MHz equal 180 Mhz if you do the math. This is more than the 100 MHz band of 2.4 GHz, which means that the channels overlap.
This is important because overlapped Wi-Fi channels can cause interference. There are four 20 MHz channels available for Wi-Fi at 2.4 GHz: 1, 6, 11, 14, and 14. Not all channels may be available in every location due to different regulations. In the United States, for example, there are only 11 channels.
5 GHz Wi-Fi Band
The Wi-Fi band 5 GHz covers 150 MHz, ranging from 5.725 to 5.875GHz. The range of Unlicensed national information infrastructure (UNII) bands extends the range to 750 MHz. There are 24 channels that are non-overlapping within the 5GHz band, using 20 MHz. This is just a generalization. Channels available will vary depending on where they are located and how large they are.
2.4 GHz vs. 5 GHz: Popularity and interference, throughput and range
While 2.4 GHz is currently more popular than 5 GHz, both are widely used. It is easier to implement 2.4 GHz than its 5GHz counterpart, so manufacturers can take advantage of it to cut costs. 2.4 GHz is also more widely used than its 5 GHz counterpart, so there are many more 2.4 GHz devices.
However, this popularity has its downsides. Network congestion can be exacerbated by the high number of 2.4GHz devices and the limited number of channels that are not overlapping with 2.4GHz.
Many consumer devices, including cordless phones and microwaves use the 2.4 GHz frequency band. Interference is more common in the 2.4 GHz band. It is less vulnerable to interference because of the large number of channels that are not overlapping on 5 GHz Wi Fi.
Which is better: 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz?
To optimize for dist, 2.4 GHz is the best frequency in most cases.