The Difference Between 2.4ghz and 5ghz Wireless, and Which One You Should Use for Your Xbox

2.4 VS 5 ghz wireless gaming router
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You’ve probably seen settings for 2.4ghz and 5ghz wireless bands while updating settings on your router.

While it might seem like these are just fancy numbers and protocols, it’s really important to understand wireless bands and how they work. Using the wrong wireless band for Xbox online gaming could significantly slow down your internet speeds, increasing lag and latency.

This article will walk you through the difference between 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi, and which one you should use to improve your internet connection for gaming.

What’s the difference between 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wireless Bands?

2.4ghz and 5ghz Wireless Router Bands for Gaming

The difference between these two frequencies is actually pretty simple:

  • 2.4GHz has more range (coverage), but slower speeds (bandwidth)
  • 5GHz has less range (coverage), but faster speeds (bandwidth)

Higher frequencies allow data to be transmitted at higher speeds – the one catch is that even though 5ghz is a higher and stronger frequency, it lacks the ability to penetrate walls that the lower frequencies can.

It’s easy to see there are key differences between 2.4ghz and 5ghz wireless bands on your router that you need to know about in order to decide which one you should use for your Xbox One.

Should I use 2.4GHz or 5GHz Wireless for my Xbox One?

Most people are probably wondering which band they should connect to from their Xbox consoles.

The answer? It depends.

Before you do anything else, we highly recommend reading our article on How to Reduce Lag and Fix Your Internet Connection for Online Gaming. A good wireless signal starts with a strong internet infrastructure in your home.

Next, if possible, we always recommend using a hardwired connection by running an ethernet cable from your router to your Xbox. While no current wireless technology replaces a physical connection, it’s understandable that not everyone has their Xbox near their router.

If you are limited to wireless, choosing whether to use a 2.4GHz or 5GHz wireless frequency is pretty straightforward:

  • If your Xbox 360 or Xbox One is close to your wireless router, we recommend connecting to 5ghz wireless band.
  • If your Xbox 360 or Xbox One is out of the line of sight, or in a different room than your router, we recommend connecting to 2.4GHz wireless band.

There will always be special circumstances, such as a thinner wall separating the router and Xbox, or the router and Xbox being in the same room but separated by a large object or piece of furniture.

You also have the issue of device overload. Not only do you have to be concerned about how many devices are on your 2.4ghz or 5ghz band, but also how many of your neighbor’s devices are on the same wireless band.

To make things more complicated, most common household appliances the use 2.4ghz wireless band. The position of your microwave, whether it’s a smart microwave, and how many similar devices you have could also play a role in which wireless band you choose to put your Xbox on.

Test, Test, and Test Again

With so many variables at play when deciding whether to use 2.4ghz or 5ghz for gaming on your Xbox One, the most important thing you can do to speed up and strengthen your wireless connection is to test, tweak, and test again.

Here are a few tips:

  • Reset your modern and/or router by unplugging and plugging back in 30 seconds later
  • Connect to both 2.4ghz and 5ghz bands to see which band is faster
  • Try moving your Xbox and/or router above waist level and within line of sight of your router (if possible)

How do I set up a 5GHz wireless connection?

Determine that you need to place your Xbox on a 5ghz wireless band? Setting up a 5GHz wireless connection is actually pretty straightforward.

Although all dual band wireless routers are different, there are some general guidelines you should follow to set up a 5GHz wireless connection.

The example below is for a Netgear R6220 (AC1200) Dual Band Router. Most routers have similar settings and options:

  • Log in to your wireless router admin panel
  • Navigate to your wireless settings
  • Locate the 5GHz wireless connection settings
  • Turn your 5GHz wireless connection on
  • Give your 5GHz wireless connection a name and password
  • Reboot your router and connect your devices

Your 5GHz wireless connection will broadcast a separate SSID when you search for wireless connections.

Some routers, such as the Netgear Nighthawk XR500 have a smart switching feature that chooses the band your device uses based on what the router thinks is best. To be honest, we found setting up separate 2.4ghz and 5ghz networks to be much faster and give you better control over which devices get priority.

Using the right wireless band (2.4ghz vs. 5ghz) can help improve your internet for gaming

Now that you know more about the difference between a 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency on your dual-band wireless router, you can more effectively troubleshoot network issues and improve connection and internet speed on your Xbox.

What’s your experience using 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless bands? What’s work, and what hasn’t? We’re always finding new solutions here at XboxDIY and we would love to hear from you. Drop us a comment below, visit us on our YouTube channel, or reach out to us on our Contact page.

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