The Wi-Fi Lifeguard (Generation 2) by default broadcasts two wireless bands, each on a different frequency: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. This article will explain in detail the difference between the two options you have when connecting your device.

We have detailed the technical reasons for which situations you would use either band below. A good rule of thumb is to try using 5 GHz if your device supports it. If you experience poor connectivity due to distance from the closest Wi-Fi Lifeguard, forget the 5 GHz SSID (Wi-Fi network name) and connect to the 2.4 GHz SSID. If you are going to add any additional Wi-Fi Lifeguard routers to your Lifeguard network, only one SSID will appear. You will not have to pick either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz—the Lifeguard network will choose for you automatically.

It is important to note that some devices do not support 5 GHz. This simply means that they can't connect to a 5 GHz broadcast. Older devices with wireless functionality, and other low-bandwidth usage devices, such as printers, usually support only 2.4 GHz. Devices that support connecting to a 5 GHz band also support connecting to a 2.4 GHz band.

The two benefits of using a 2.4 GHz band with a device, is that broadcast distances and wall penetration (depending on material) are greater in comparison with using a 5 GHz band.

There are three disbenefits of using a 2.4 GHz band with a device. The first disbenefit is that 2.4 GHz band wireless broadcasts can disrupt or be disrupted by competing common non-computer hardware using the same frequency (such as microwaves, cordless phones, and analogue cameras). The second disbenefit of using a 2.4 GHz band, is that its maximum theoretical throughput speed when using 802.11n (Wi-Fi 4) is 600 Mbps. The third disbenefit of using a 2.4 GHz band is that there are far less channels available for wireless broadcast on the 2.4 GHz frequency in comparison with the 5 GHz frequency, with only three channels that do not overlap. Non-overlapping channels are desirable to be wirelessly broadcast on, as bands on each overlapping channel compete with bands being wirelessly broadcast on other overlapping channels.

There are three benefits of using a 5 GHz band. The first benefit of using a 5 GHz band, is that the 5 GHz frequency is only commonly used for wireless computer devices. This means that there are no other common non-computer hardware devices using the same frequency. The second benefit of using a 5 GHz band, is that its maximum theoretical throughput speed when using a single 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) stream is approximately 3.5 Gbps. When used with a 4x4 MIMO network, this multiplies to a total maximum theoretical throughput speed of 14 Gbps. The third benefit of using a 5 GHz band, is that there are far more channels available on the 5 GHz frequency in comparison with the 2.4 GHz frequency.

The two main disbenefits of using a 5 GHz band with a device, is that broadcast distances and wall penetration (depending on material) are worse in comparison with using a 2.4 GHz band.
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