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5G WiFi: What is It and How Does it Compare to 2G WiFI?

5G WiFi, 2G WiFi, 5G cell phones – the tech world can be incredibly confusing. When I first started researching tips to boost my WiFi speeds, I kept seeing people talk about 5G. Naturally, I assumed they meant cell 5G.
As it turns out, I was completely wrong.

5G WiFi and cell 5G are two different things. I started doing more research on the topic, and I realized that my readers are probably just as confused as I was.

I’m going to explain what 5G WiFi is, the difference between 5G WiFi and cell 5G and the difference between 5G and 2G. Understanding these differences will help you understand how to boost your WiFi speeds.

2G vs 5G WiFi

What’s the difference between 2G and 5G WiFi? When we talk about 5G vs 2G WiFi, we’re talking about two different radio wavelengths. You may know these as frequencies or bands.

The main differences between 5G vs regular WiFi are range and speed.

  • 2G has a larger area, but the speed is slower. Range can be up to 410 feet with the right standard. Speed can be up to 150 Mbps.
  • 5G has a smaller area, but the speed is faster. Range can be up to 230 feet with the right standard. Speed can be up to 1 Gbps.

Most modern routers can operate on either band, but 2G is normally the default setting because the range is longer.

Which frequency, or band, should you choose? That really depends on your situation.

A friend of mine lives in a modest-sized house in the middle of nowhere. He lives alone, and his nearest neighbor is half-a-mile away. For him, 2 GHz works perfectly fine, and his range is so long, he can get his WiFi out in his back garden.

Now, my house is in a more suburban area. We have a bigger home with lots of neighbors and a few kids, that’s why we always try to keep our wifi safe. We have a lot going on in our homes. Lots of devices, lots of appliances and a garage with an automatic door opener. All of these things interfere with my WiFi connection.

Needless to say, our 2 GHz band is congested. That’s why we find 5G to be the better option for our home.

The only problem? We wind up with a lot of dead zones in our house. That’s another problem with 5G – the higher frequency has a harder time penetrating solid objects, like walls and floors.

I was ultimately able to solve this problem with one solution: a 5G WiFi extender. I went with the RangeXTD WiFi range extender, and I’m glad that I did. It’s a dual-band device, so it can operate on either 2 GHz or 5 GHz.

If you want to take advantage of the 5G band and use an extender that operates on the same band, you have to have a 5G WiFi router. Most new routers are dual-band, so you shouldn’t have a problem making the switch unless you have a really old router.

If you do, you can always buy a 5G WiFi adapter.

Will 5G Replace WiFi?

This is a question that I get a lot from readers, and here’s the thing: we’re talking about two different things here. Don’t worry, it’s a confusing topic.

When we talk about WiFi and routers, we know that there are two bands: 2 GHz and 5 GHz. But we also know that smartphones can operate on 5G, but this is a completely different thing.

WiFi 5G is different from cell 5G. The 5G associated with smartphones is the fifth generation of cell networks. WiFi 5G refers to the 5 GHz band, which is just a frequency.

As far as 5G vs WiFi goes, I highly doubt that 5G will be replacing WiFi anytime soon. But I don’t have a crystal ball, and Internet service providers don’t seem to be too interested in updating their infrastructure. You never know what tomorrow will bring, but as of right now, there still isn’t enough 5G coverage to justify this outcome.

It’s no question that 5G speeds can rival WiFi and even surpass it in many cases. We may eventually reach a point where 5G replaces home broadband entirely, but the more likely scenario is that the two are used alongside each other.

But as of right now, 5G still needs to go through a growth period. It’s only available on a limited scale. Coverage is expanding quicker than I thought, but there are some advancements in WiFi that may prevent 5G from replacing WiFi entirely.

WiFi 6 is the Future

WiFi 6 claims to be four times better performance-wise in congested and dense areas – like big cities – while still maintaining network efficiency. Another major bonus of WiFI 6 is that it doesn’t drain the batteries in your devices as easily because they don’t have to work as hard to connect to the network.

It will be some time before WiFi 6 will be rolled out broadly, but when it does, I think it will complement 5G and the two will allow us all to enjoy overall faster speeds.

Is 5G Faster Than WiFi

Is 5G WiFi better? Is 5G faster compared to WiFi? The answer may surprise you (I know it surprised me).

Here’s what Opensignal found:

  • 5G significantly improves real-world speeds
  • 5G has faster average download speeds than WiFi in 7 out of 8 leading 5G countries

Although 5G is faster, Opensignal doesn’t think that 5G will replace WiFi anytime soon. And that’s because the two complement each other well. If 5G is just a fast or faster than WiFi, you can turn off your phone’s WiFi connection and reduce the congestion on your home network.

Spreading our connections out helps reduce overall congestion and allows us all to enjoy faster speeds.

The world of frequencies and cell signals is a confusing one, but now you understand the difference between 5G WiFi and cell 5G and 2G WiFi. Knowing these differences will help you make more informed decisions when buying routers, extenders and other similar devices.

September 13, 2020

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