Radio Waves and Home Wifi

My wifi router at home has 2 bands much like a lot of the routers used today.  There is a 2.4GHz band and a 5.0 GHz band.  These create different networks, and are nice because you can segregate your home network system to have more bandwidth.  What I didn’t realize until last night was that the 5 GHz band only works at close range and when it doesn’t have to go through objects.

Our router is in our living room, and while I was sitting in there, I could connect without a problem. However, go into the next room in our office and the signal now has to travel either through the wall or around the hallway. In the office, the signal was not working, or it would only work for a little while and stop.  Then I switched over to the 2.4 GHz band and bam, it works.  Move back into the living room, and amazingly I can connect to the 5 GHz band easily.

So what’s going on here?  I did some research into this and the lower bands usually travel further.  With regards to physics, this makes sense because data is transferred at a lower rate, thus less energy = further distance.  So if you want to use the 5 GHz band in your house, the best option is to put it next to the devices (TV, etc.), so the signal doesn’t have to travel.  Otherwise, the 2.4 GHz band is the way to go.

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