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What is the difference between 5G and 5GHz Wi-Fi?



5G and 5GHz Wi-Fi are both used for wireless connectivity, but they have nothing else in common. Anyone who refers to "5G Wi-Fi" actually means 5GHz Wi-Fi, which is different from the 5G mobile standard.

5G is the new mobile standard

You will hear much more about 5G soon. It is a mobile standard and is the sequel to 4G LTE and 3G. 5G stands for "fifth generation", as it is the fifth generation of this mobile standard.

5G is designed to be much faster and has a lower latency than 4G LTE. You start to see the first 5G smartphones in 2019, and mobile operators like AT & T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon will roll out their 5G mobile networks. 5G can change your internet connection by providing fast broadband internet service also wirelessly.

While 5G is an exciting new standard, it has nothing to do with Wi-Fi. 5G is used for mobile connections. Future smartphones can support 5G and 5GHz Wi-Fi, but current smartphones support 4G LTE and 5GHz Wi-Fi.

RELATED: What is 5G and how fast will it be?

5GHz is one of two tapes for Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi has two frequency bands you can use: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. 5 GHz is the newer one. It came to great use with the 802.11n Wi-Fi standard, which was first published in 2009. It's still part of modern Wi-Fi standards like 802.11ac and Wi-Fi 6.

5 GHz Wi- Fi is great. It offers several non-overlapping channels, which makes it much less overloaded. It is excellent in places with a lot of Wi-Fi overload, such as apartment complex where each apartment has its own router and Wi-Fi network. 5GHz Wi-Fi is also faster than 2.4GHz Wi-Fi.

Despite the slower speeds and increased overload, 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi still benefits. 2.4 GHz covers a larger area than 5 GHz, and is better to walk through walls thanks to longer radio waves. The shorter 5 GHz radio waves provide faster connectivity, but they can not cover as much ground.

If you have a reasonably modern router, it's probably a dual-band router that supports both 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi at the same time.

We've seen people using the term "5G Wi-Fi" to refer to 5GHz Wi-Fi, but it's incorrect. They mean "5GHz Wi-Fi."

RELATED: What is the difference between 2.4 and 5 Ghz Wi-Fi (and which should I use)?

Why do some Wi-Fi networks say they are "5G"?

To make matters a bit more confusing, people sometimes call their networks like "My Network" and "My Network – 5G". It's quite misleading, but it was not confusing until 5G came together. Here, "5G" is just short for "5GHz."

This is because Wi-Fi routers that support 5 GHz Wi-Fi can be configured in several different ways. These routes can host both a 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz network at the same time, which is useful for older devices that only support 2.4 GHz or larger areas where devices can move outside of the 5 GHz range, but still within 2.4 GHz range.

If both Wi-Fi networks are the same, for example, if both your 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks are called "My Network" – when the connected smartphone, laptop, or other device automatically switches between networks, select the 5 GHz network and drop the 2.4 GHz network whenever necessary. It is nevertheless the goal. In reality, many devices do not do this correctly and can only connect to the 2.4 GHz network, or they can try to connect to the 5 GHz network and fail.

Therefore, people often configure their squares to have two separate Wi-Fi network names. One might call something like "My Network – 2.4 GHz" and another like "My Network – 5 GHz." Both host the same router, but one is 2.4 GHz and one is 5 GHz. You can then choose which network you want to connect to your devices. Of course, you do not need to use informational names like this – you can mention a "Lime" and a "Lemon" if you want

Why do people say "5G Wi-Fi"?

5G is a fairly new standard. Someone started calling 5GHz Wi-Fi "5G Wi-Fi" back in the days when 3G and 4G LTE were the dominant cellular standards.

It was never called it officially, but it was a shorter name someone used. It's like how many people called the iPod Touch on "iTouch". It was not the official name, but everyone knew what they were talking about.

But now 5G due to launch in consumer devices, "5G Wi-Fi" is just confusing and unclear. When you see the term "5G" associated with Wi-Fi, it probably refers to only 5 GHz Wi-Fi.

However, in most cases, "5G" will refer to the new mobile standard. And as 5G spreads, people should hopefully start to be a bit more precise to avoid confusion.

Image Credit: Ice Barber / Shutterstock.com, Tadej Pibernik / Shutterstock.com, Mayuree Moonihurun ​​/ Shutterstock.com. 19659027]
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