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Dual Band Wireless Networking

Technical Trivia

What is Dual Band?

Dual-band refers to a device's ability to function on two different frequency bands. Many CDMA devices sold in North America are dual-band capable. Dual-band CDMA devices tend to offer better roaming inside of North America. Generally speaking, a dual-band GSM device sold in a non-North American market will not function in North America. Likewise, a North American dual-band GSM phone will not function in Europe and most other parts of the world. This is because North America uses two different GSM bands than do Europe and most of the rest of the world. GSM users that wish to travel internationally should look at a tri-band or quad-band device.

Openpinoy | Dual Band Networking

What is Dual Band Wireless Networking?

In Wi-Fi wireless networking, dual band is the capability to transmit on the 5 GHz band of 802.11a and also the 2.4 GHz band used by 802.11b, 802.11g and 802.11n.

Dual-band wireless equipment operate over two different frequencies. The Wi-Fi standards originally defined two different, incompatible systems, one offering high performance with expensive equipment, the other sacrificing performance to achieve affordability. Since these two standards were published in 1999, the standards have evolved to try to reconcile the two different systems, which use different frequencies. Dual band wireless equipment achieves this goal.

Openpinoy | Dual Band Networking

How Does Dual Band Wireless Work?

Wireless networking uses a range of frequencies that are specified by the type of networking used. The specific frequencies a given wireless networking device uses are set by its antennas. Some devices can use more than one frequency, or even multiple types of wireless networking. Any device that can use two frequency sets is a dual band wireless device.

Openpinoy | Dual Band Networking
Openpinoy | Dual Band Networking

A dual band is one that works at both 2.4GHz and 5GHz.

Devices that are using Dual Band Wireless Network
Openpinoy | Dual Band Networking

Dual Band Routers

Unlike ordinary routers that only support one wireless signal band, dual-band routers contain two different types of wireless radios. When first introduced many years ago, dual-band routers supported both 802.11a and 802.11b and were designed for business networks that used a mix of both types of Wi-Fi clients.

Some newer 802.11n Wi-Fi routers also allow simultaneous dual band communication with both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz clients. By supplying separate network bandwidth for each of the two types of links, these routers provide maximum flexibility in setting up a home network. For example, older 802.11b/g clients can be set to run on the 2.4 GHz side of a simultaneous dual-band router without impacting the performance of 802.11n clients running at 5 GHz.

Why choose Simultaneous Dual Band?

Dual Band Wireless Routers have the capability to transmit on the 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz wireless band.

2.4GHz though more widespread in usage (all 802.11b and g devices run on 2.4GHz only) has only 3 non-overlapping channels for transmission, which are crowded due to a lot of interfering devices- other Wi-Fi
access points, microwave ovens, cordless phones, Bluetooth devices, baby monitors, etc. all make for a noisy environment which increase interference and degrade the performance.

5GHz channel is much cleaner with less interference with 23 non-overlapping channels- 8 times more than 2.4GHz for transmission, which makes it suitable for applications like Video streaming and Gaming which are very sensitive to packet loss and delays.

There are two (2) types of Dual Band Routers in the market: Simultaneous and Selectable Dual Band Routers with very different capabilities and performance:

Openpinoy | Dual Band Networking
Openpinoy | Dual Band Networking

Dual Band Adapters

Dual-band Wi-Fi network adapters likewise contain two wireless radios. These adapters can be configured to use either 802.11a via one radio, or the 802.11b/g/n family via the other, but not both. Using a dual-band adapter allows a device to connect to either type of Wi-Fi access point.

Openpinoy | Dual Band Networking

Dual Band Phones

Like dual band wireless network equipment, some cell phones also use two bands for wireless communications. So-called dual-band phones typically utilize GPRS or EDGE data services on either 0.85/0.9 GHz or 1.9 GHz radio frequencies. Unlike Wi-Fi, cellular networks sometimes support tri band (three) or quad band (four) types of transmission.

Phone that support multiple bands can connect to different types of cellular networks, helpful while roaming or traveling. Cell phones do not support simultaneous dual band connections, however.

Openpinoy | Dual Band NetworkingOpenpinoy | Dual Band Networking

Wireless Dual-Band application scenario

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