2.4Ghz vs 5Ghz for Gaming – Which is Better?

2.4ghz vs 5ghz for gaming

We often get asked ‘2.4Ghz v 5Ghz for gaming – which should I use?’


When it comes to wireless technologies, there are several options for you to choose from. You can go wired or wireless depending on what you would prefer and how much money you want to spend.

Since this article is talking about gaming in general and wireless in specific, we’re going to leave out Ethernet (wired) and focus exclusively on the two competing standards that still exist in the wireless market: 2.4 ghz and 5 ghz. Wireless technology has evolved far enough over the years where users should be aware of the differences between the two standards before purchasing a piece of hardware such as a mouse or keyboard which uses either standard. This is especially important when considering online games because latency will play a part no matter how much you pay for a wireless router.

Most current laptops and desktops come with 2.4 ghz wireless built-in for connectivity to the internet, cordless phones and other peripherals such as printers or external hard drives. The newer range of devices that uses the 5 ghz band is restricted mainly to higher end routers and gaming equipment designed to give gamers an edge in online games. The technology itself isn’t much different than the previous generation except that it has better security features and provides faster throughput (speed). Devices compatible with both standards will usually work seamlessly provided they are configured properly; otherwise you’ll run into problems where one standard simply won’t function as well as the other (wireless mice, keyboards etc.). As long as you have the right hardware, then compatibility shouldn’t be much of an issue.

Stick to 2.4Ghz

At this time, gamers are advised to stick to using 2.4 ghz routers for gaming due to the greater range and better speeds that can still get through your walls to provide you with a strong connection. Because 5ghz devices are restricted mainly to high end wireless equipment you won’t see them in homes with anything less than a premium router. If you’re going to be setting up a LAN party in a house or small business then it is advisable that you invest in a high end router that will support both standards but in most cases you’ll find it cheaper and more convenient to use only one frequency band for all home networking needs.

Using 2.4GHz vs 5GHz for gaming is a matter of picking the best option available in your area and hardware. Most users will be fine using only 2.4GHz routers however if you have a high end router that can run both then it might behoove you to use 5GHz where possible due to the ease of having one band that all devices support verses two different bands that are not always compatible with each other. You should also keep in mind that most wireless USB adapters are 2.4GHZ meaning even if your router supports both bands but your adapter does not, you’re still limited to only running on the 2.4GHz band which has half the bandwidth of the 5GHz band.

When to use 2.4 Ghz?

2.4GHZ is best for streaming HD content from other sources, having multiple devices on at once, and if you have a 802.11n router with external antennas set to use beamforming instead of standard 2×2 MIMO routers without external antennas because those switches will only work up to 300Mbps which often gets limited further by hardware such as NIC’s or older mobile phones etc… anything after that and you’ll need a 802.11ac router to take advantage of the higher speeds possible unlike 2.4GHZ which can be split between multiple devices meaning your 100mbps device won’t bottleneck your 400mbps device like it would on a single radio band.

If you’re running any modern router you likely don’t even have to worry about what radio band or routers use which is why this article won’t discuss that and instead focus on the real world gaming performance of 2.4GHZ vs 5GHZ in both range scenarios and when they’re not so you’ll know when one might be better than another in your specific situation. Keep in mind that just because a wireless device such as an Ethernet cord supports faster speeds than another does not mean it’s faster over Wi-Fi due to how most hardware handles the conversion from wired LAN to wireless WAN, with some exceptions like USB 3.1/Thunderbolt which lets you drive a monitor wirelessly at full speed, but we will also see if there are any ways around that as well.

When to use 5Ghz?

5ghz brings a faster maximum speed and is not as congested as more devices support this newer standard, even some older ones since it’s backward compatible with the less popular 2.4GHz Wi-Fi band so it makes sense to have a router that supports both unless you don’t have many wireless devices at all or most of your neighbors also use 5GHZ so there’s no congestion, but if they’re on 2.4GHz then you can just set your AP to 20Mhz bandwidth mode which boosts performance from ~10% up to around 30%. Even though 5GHZ has a shorter range it doesn’t really matter for gaming since you’re usually within 10 feet of the router anyways and depending on where you set it up the 2.4GHz band may suffer from interference and congestion which can result in high ping, disconnections and lag so 5GHZ is actually the better choice for gaming.

To summarise

  1. 2.4ghz has a wider range
  2. 5ghz is more prone to interference
  3. 2.4ghz offers better video quality than 5ghz
  4. You can use both frequencies at the same time for maximum performance
  5. The best frequency for gaming depends on your location and environment  6. The higher the frequency, the faster speeds you’ll get but it will also be more expensive to purchase and maintain
  6. For optimal performance, choose a high-quality product that’s compatible with your home’s WiFi system so you don’t have any lag while playing games online or streaming videos from Netflix or Hulu Plus
  7. If you’re looking for speed, go with 5ghz because it provides faster speeds when compared to 2.4 ghz – this is especially important if you’re using an internet service provider like Telstra or AussieBroadband which are known for their slow uploads/downloads speeds when compared to other providers in the industry
  8. If you want video quality over speed, then go with 2.4ghz because it provides better video quality than 5 ghz.

If you are based in Melbourne and need help setting up a 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz, get in touch with an internet technician near you.

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...