In today’s world of advancing technology, routers have slowly become a necessary digital appliance. A router’s performance can significantly influence your Wi-Fi experience, so choosing the right one is crucial. But many people often misunderstand one big question: what is a dual-band, and should I buy one?
A dual-band router is a router that can broadcast in two bandwidth frequencies. A single-band router can broadcast at either 2.4 GHz or 5.0 GHz, but a dual-band router can use both bands: 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz.
Whether to buy a single or dual-band router is entirely up to you and your needs. Both routers have their upsides and downsides, and the features that matter most to you are what will guide your buying decisions.
This article will elaborate on dual-band routers and how they differ from single-band routers.
What Is a Dual Band Router, and How Is It Different From a Single Band Router?
A router is a device that lets you connect two or more packet-switched networks or subnetworks. Most routers are wireless; however, there are also wired routers. If you have a wireless router, then you must have seen this number 802.11 at one point or another. This number is simply a standard to describe connections in wireless networks.
To differentiate between the wireless network capabilities, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers assigned a letter suffix to 802.11. So, when you get a router, the alphabet rating in front of “802.11” determines its transmitting speed.
- An 802.11 router transmits up to 2 Mbps in the 2.4 GHz band.
- An 802.11b router transmits up to 11 Mbps in the 2.4 GHz band.
- An 802.11a router transmits up to 54 Mbps in the 5 GHz band.
- An 802.11g router transmits up to 54 Mbps in the 2.4 band.
- An 802.11n router transmits up to 450 Mbps in the 2.4/5 GHz band.
Now that you understand the basics of a router, you can send and receive data in two-band frequencies when you get a dual-band router. For example, you could configure the router to transmit data on the 2.4 GHz while video uses the 5 GHz band. The transmitting speed of any wireless router you want to buy depends on the rating of its Wi-Fi network.
Single band and dual-band routers are the most popular choice when you want to buy a router. There are many differences between a single-band and dual-band router. Below are four main features that differentiate a dual-band router from a single-band router.
Feature #1: Compatibility
One of the main differences between a dual-band router and a single-band router is its compatibility. Not all devices support both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. Some devices transmit at 2.4 GHz while some at 5 GHz. Hence, if you buy a single-band router, you must ensure the device supports the band of the router you buy. However, a dual-band router is compatible with more devices since it uses both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.
Feature #2: Price
Since a dual-band router is more versatile, the question now is why would anyone still buy a single-band router? The most obvious reason people still buy single-band routers is their price. Dual-band routers are more expensive than single-band routers. A dual router can cost as much as two or even three times the price of a single band router.
Feature #3: Network Speed
Even though a dual-band router is expensive, it is worth the price, particularly when comparing its network speed with a single-band router. Generally, single-band routers’ speed is limited to the internet and the router. Hence, when using a single band router, you often encounter network issues and interferences. But using a dual-band router gives you better network speed and flexibility.
Feature #4: Performance
Finally, dual-band routers outperform single-band routers. Most single-band routers have a shorter range and signal strength, whereas dual-band routers have a longer range and better signal strength. Single band routers have such a level of performance because they are designed for users looking to check emails, stream videos, and surf the internet. In comparison, dual-band routers are hyped up because they are designed for users who are into online gaming, high-resolution video streaming, and so on.
When selecting a 2.4 GHz or 5.0 GHz bandwidth frequency on the router, ensure your wireless device and adapters have the bandwidth capabilities; otherwise, they will not find or connect to the router.
If you are looking for opportunity costs and don’t require much from your Wi-Fi network, you should buy a single-band router. But if you are looking for a strong signal and often do much with your Wi-Fi network, you should buy a dual-band router. However, dual-band routers are more expensive than single-band routers, but they are worth the price.