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H5X00R 04-16-2013 08:55 PM

A question about dual band routers

I've been using a Linksys WRT54G router for ages and it is still functioning but watching HD videos online is less to be desire.

I heard about these dual band routers 2.4ghz/5ghz and heard they are good for HD streaming. My question is do these routers detect when I am playing HD videos online and switches to the 5Ghz band automatically or do I have to manually do this myself?

Thanks in advance...

rknichols 04-16-2013 10:09 PM

The machine making the connection to the router elects to use either 802.11g (2.4GHz) or 802.11n (5GHz). To change that you would have to break the current connection and reconfigure that machine's wireless networking.

H5X00R 04-16-2013 10:50 PM

Thanks rknichols

salasi 04-17-2013 04:30 AM


Originally Posted by H5X00R (Post 4932787)
My question is do these routers detect when I am playing HD videos online and switches to the 5Ghz band automatically or do I have to manually do this myself?

  • I know of no router that has some kind of '...not enough bandwidth here, let's switch to the other band...' function. (But then, I'm pretty out of touch with latest developments.)
  • I don't know why you wouldn't just leave the router (actually, the connection) on 5 GHz all of the time, if that's what produces the bandwidth that you need. I mean, if 5 GHz does it for you and 2.4 doesn't, why not just use 5 GHz? No intelligent switching required.
  • Warning 1: 5 Ghz range tends to be less than 2.4 GHz range (depending on all sorts of things, such as intervening objects, noise(interference) on the two bands (5 GHz tends to be the 'quieter' because it isn't used by Bluetooth, Microwave Ovens, your neighbours' WiFi, mobile phone WiFi, Intelligent Can openers and your toaster, etc, etc, but if you are in an isolated/quiet area that means that the 5 GHz noise advantage possibly doesn't apply to you), so it can be that 5GHz is faster close by and 2.4 GHz is faster at range (depending on the environment).
  • Warning 2: Some of the earlier/cheaper routers don't really do simultaneous 5GHz/2.4 GHz. So, if, for example your mobile phone was using 2.4GHz to talk to the router, or another computer was using the other band, that might cause the 5 GHz streaming to break up, just because your router was having 'dead time' switching between bands. Just what you don't want!
  • Warning 3: Somehow, it seems that 5GHz has moved from '...the next big thing...' to 'dead end technology' without going through the 'wildly successful' phase, at any time. It seems likely that all of the 'Wireless N' functions are being thought of as delivering enough bandwidth (see the 'N 600' and 'N 750' routers out there) so that 5 GHz doesn't do anything that other technologies can't, and while some of the techniques that are giving 'N' a boost (beam steering, channel bonding) could make the move to 5GHz to make it better, I don't see evidence that there is much enthusiasm for this amongst the manufacturers of routers and wireless adapters. On the one hand, this may mean that the 5GHz band stays quiet and you don't get all of your neighbours migrating there and causing the perf to deteriorate over time. On the other hand, it means that 5GHz equipment may be becoming an endangered species. And, on the other, other, hand, the perf of the 'N' equipment seems very dependant on having two, compatible, N pieces of kit (not just the router, but also the client-end), probably preferably from the same manufacturer in order to achieve top performance. So if, for example, you are stuck with something miscellaneous as the wireless interface in you laptop, it is unclear how close you'll get to the speed advertised on the router box. Probably, not very, in practice, unless you are right by the router (and, in which case, wouldn't you just use a cable?).
  • Warning 4: With all of the miscellaneous warnings above, no one knows exactly how well it will work without trying it. That is, usually buying stuff and seeing whether it is good enough. In general, that is really not very satisfactory, but it is unclear how that would change.

H5X00R 04-17-2013 04:51 PM

Thanks salasi for the detailed information.

I don't own a dual band router yet but am going to buy one soon. I just wanted some info if anyone owns a dual band router, is it worth it and is HD streaming is great as they claim in the advertisements.

rknichols 04-17-2013 07:37 PM

I've heard second hand that simultaneous dual band operation can be problematic. Perhaps that's just with some of the early models. I don't own a dual-band router myself -- don't have anything else that can do Wireless-N. Netflix streaming seems to work just fine with my old WRT54GL running DD-WRT as an access point and switch only.

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