5GHz vs. 2.4GHz Spectrum

Today there are two primary 802.11 standards used in the enterprise:
  • 802.11b/g operating in the 2.4GHz radio spectrum
  • 802.11a operating in the 5GHz radio spectrum
Consider the following when deciding on deploying 5GHz, 2.4GHz, or both:

5GHz2.4GHzAdvantage Defined
Bandwidth54/300Mbps54/300MbpsBoth choices support up to 54Mbps of bandwidth today and up to 300Mbps when the new 802.11n standard is deployed.
Channels243Restrictions in the 2.4GHz band limit the number of simultaneously channels to 3, while the 5GHz band offers up to 24.
Capacity3.45Gbps 450MbpsThe 24 channels available with 5GHz far exceed the capacity of 2.4GHz.
802.11a = 1.24Gbps / 802.11n = 3.45Gbps (5GHz)
802.11g = 162Mbps / 802.11n = 450Mbps (2.4GHz)
InterferenceLowHighWi-Fi in 2.4GHz competes with microwaves, Bluetooth, wireless phones, etc. resulting in a very noisy environment. The 5GHz band is considerably cleaner.
Channel PlanningFlexibleRestrictedWith 8 times the number of channels to chose from in the 5GHz band, planning is far simpler than the 2.4GHz band.
Triple Play SupportOptimalLimitedOnly 5GHz supports the bandwidth, capacity, and throughput required for enterprise quality voice, video, and data applications.
802.11nOptimalLimitedAlthough 802.11n supports both bands, the available channels, bandwidth, and client capacity makes the 5GHz band the obvious choice.
RangeGoodBetterEven though the 2.4GHz band has greater range than 5GHz, proper deployment using directional antennas can eliminate any issue.
By integrating 4, 8, or 16 802.11a/b/g radios and a high-gain directional antenna system with an onboard Gigabyte Switch, Wi-Fi Controller, Wi-Fi Firewall, and dedicated Wi-Fi Threat Sensor into a single device.

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