Dual-band vs tri-band routers are now the standards for home and small office networks, but which is best for you? In this guide, you’ll learn about the latest technologies available for your home network.
- What Are Bands?
- Dual-Band Router
- Why Would You Want A Dual-Band Router?
- Tri-Band Router
- Why Would You Want A Tri-Band Router
- Things to Consider
What Are Bands?
Bands are the frequency of your wireless network. The use of bands can vary greatly depending on the situation you’re trying to solve. For example, when using wireless in your home, you want a high-bandwidth connection that supports multiple devices. However, if you are testing wireless networking on a boat or an RV, you may need to move between bands to optimize connectivity.
Most routers today are dual-band, meaning they have a 2.4 GHz band and a 5 GHz band. The 5 GHz band is faster, but it also has a shorter range and isn’t compatible with older devices that only support 2.4 GHz, such as older printers and Bluetooth devices.
Why Would You Want A Dual-Band Router?
The 2.4GHz wireless band has 11 channels in North America, while the 5GHz band has 23 channels – each channel’s bandwidth is 20 MHz (meaning it supports up to 20 MHz of data at once), so theoretically, the 5 GHz band supports more than twice as much data as the 2.4 GHz band.
Since there’s less crowding on the 5 GHz band, it can support faster connections than the 2.4 GHz band, so the 5GHz band is usually preferable for high-bandwidth applications like streaming video and gaming, which take up a lot of bandwidth at once.
A tri-band router adds an extra 5 GHz band to the mix, allowing you to connect more devices without slowing down your network. Tri-band routers are useful if you have a lot of devices that need to stay connected to Wi-Fi at all times, like smart home gadgets or video game consoles.
Why Would You Want A Tri-Band Router
Tri-band routers are ideal for households that have a lot of internet traffic. In general, these are larger households with multiple users and devices. If all members of your household use the internet regularly, you might want to consider a tri-band router.
The following household characteristics indicate you need a tri-band router:
- You stream a lot of content. You watch Netflix and other streaming services on multiple devices, at the same time. You might also be downloading or uploading large files, such as videos or graphics.
- You play video games online. If you have several gamers in your home, they will likely compete with each other and everyone else for bandwidth. Tri-band routers can help avoid lag and buffering while gaming.
- You have smart home devices (or plan to). Smart home technology includes things like security systems, lights and thermostats that connect to the internet. These devices depend on a fast connection to work properly, but they don’t take up much bandwidth when idle. When they’re actively sending and receiving data, however, it can affect your entire network’s performance if you don’t have enough bandwidth available.
- You work from home or telecommute. If you work from home, you may need to log into your employer’s VPN or cloud-based network. You also might need to share files that are too large for email or even a cloud service. Tri-band routers can handle all this without a problem.
- You have more than 10 devices on your home network. If you have more than 10 devices, you need a tri-band router because it will give each of them enough bandwidth to use the internet at the same time and still get good performance.
- You don’t know what router settings to use. Changing your router’s default settings is a bad idea if you don’t understand what you’re doing. Tri-band routers come with easy-to-understand documentation and settings, so it will be easy to get started with them.
Things to Consider
Dual-band routers have been the standard for some time, with tri-band routers really only becoming a thing in recent years.
If you’re looking to upgrade your router, or are shopping for a new one, you might be wondering if dual-band or tri-band is the better choice. There are several factors to consider when making your decision. Here’s what we recommend as you make your choice.
The speed of your internet connection is one of the most important factors in determining how fast your Wi-Fi network will be. If your internet service provider (ISP) only offers 100 Mbps, then a tri-band router may not increase your Wi-Fi speeds at all. In fact, if you have a lot of devices on your network and they’re all active at once, it’s quite possible that having more bandwidth available from your ISP would yield better speeds than upgrading to a tri-band router.
One of the biggest benefits of a tri-band router is that it can allow more devices to connect at once without slowing down. This is because both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands are dedicated to the 2.4GHz network, while the 5GHz band is dedicated to the 5GHz network. This means that if you have a home full of devices, you may see an increase in your speed when using a tri-band router vs a dual-band router.
As we mentioned earlier, some older routers and devices don’t support the 5GHz band, but almost all routers and Wi-Fi-enabled devices currently on the market do. In addition, dual-band routers tend to be less expensive than tri-band routers which makes them a more attractive option for people who may have older devices or who don’t need as much bandwidth.
6 GHz band:
The 6 GHz band is an upcoming frequency that will provide additional bandwidth for Wi-Fi networks. It will be complementary to both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, but it will not impact your decision when choosing between a dual-band or tri-band router.
Is dual-band or tri-band faster?
The speed of your home network is determined by a number of factors, including the capacity of your Internet provider, Wi-Fi technology you’re using, and the wireless frequency band that transmits data between your router and connected devices.
When it comes to dual-band vs. tri-band routers, there are no major differences in terms of speed. In fact, it is currently not possible to use the third 5 GHz frequency band offered by tri-band routers because no device can receive a signal from two bands simultaneously.
However, the second 5 GHz band of a tri-band router can be used for faster transmissions with compatible devices.
Are tri-band routers worth it?
Do I need a router with multiple bands?
Tri-band routers are not for everyone. However, if you have a large house and lots of devices that connect to the internet all at once, a tri-band router will provide a much faster internet connection.
Are there any disadvantages to having a multi-band router?
The only disadvantage is cost. Dual-band routers are typically more expensive than single-band routers, so if you can get sufficient coverage from a single-band model, it will probably save you some money.
Which Connection Is the Most Powerful – Dual or Tri?
In general, tri-band routers offer more configuration options and greater flexibility for network devices that can use the 5 GHz band, but dual-band routers can work perfectly well in most homes. If you have lots of devices streaming video or playing games on your home network, a tri-band router may be worth the investment.
Which Band Should You Use for Your Gaming Network?
Because they support much faster throughputs, 5 GHz bands are generally better suited to gaming applications. If your computer supports both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, you should choose the latter when possible. But if your game console only supports 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, that’s the one you’ll need to use.
Which Band Should You Use for Your 4K Streaming?
As you upgrade your devices to 4K resolution, you need to consider whether you’re going to use the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz WiFi band for your streaming needs. The choice depends on several factors, including your Internet connection speed and interference from other network devices.
If you are considering purchasing a dual-band router vs tri-band, you should think about your current wireless devices and what use you may have for future wireless devices that could result in a broadband connection demand greater than your current wireless network can support.