In wireless networking, dual band equipment is capable of transmitting in either of two different standard frequency ranges. Modern Wi-Fi home networks feature dual band broadband routers that support both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz channels.
The History of Dual Band Wireless Routers
First generation home network routers produced during the late 1990s and early 2000s contained a single 802.11b Wi-Fi radio operating on the 2.4 GHz band.
At the same time, a significant number of business networks supported 802.11a (5 GHz) devices. The first dual band Wi-Fi routers were built to support mixed networks having both 802.11a and 802.11b clients.
Starting with 802.11n, Wi-Fi standards began including simultaneous dual band 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz support as a standard feature.
Two Examples of Dual Band Wireless Routers
The TP-LINK Archer C7 AC1750 Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabit Router (buy on Amazon.com) has 450Mbps at 2.4GHz and 1300Mbps at 5GHz, as well as IP-based bandwidth control so you can monitor the bandwidth of all the devices connected to your router.
The NETGEAR N750 Dual Band Wi-Fi Gigabit Router (buy on Amazon.com) is for medium to large-sized homes and also comes with a genie app, so you can keep tabs on your network and get help troubleshooting if any repairs are needed.
Dual Band Wi-Fi Adapters
Dual-band Wi-Fi network adapters contain both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz wireless radios similar to dual-band routers.
In the early days of Wi-Fi, some laptop Wi-Fi adapters supported both 802.11a and 802.11b/g radios so that a person could connect their computer to business networks during the workday and home networks on nights and weekends. Newer 802.11n and 802.11ac adapters can also be configured to use either band (but not both at the same time).
Dual Band Phones
Similar to dual band wireless network equipment, some cell phones also use two (or more) bands for cellular communications separate from Wi-Fi. Dual band phones were originally created to support 3G GPRS or EDGE data services on 0.85 GHz, 0.9 GHz or 1.9 GHz radio frequencies. Phones sometimes support tri band (three) or quad band (four) different cellular transmission frequency ranges in order to maximize compatibility with different kinds of phone network, helpful while roaming or traveling. Cell modems switch between different bands but do not support simultaneous dual band connections.
Benefits of Dual Band Wireless Networking
By supplying separate wireless interfaces for each band, dual band 802.11n and 802.11ac routers provide maximum flexibility in setting up a home network. Some home devices require the legacy compatibility and greater signal reach that 2.4 GHz offers while others may require the additional network bandwidth that 5 GHz offers: Dual-band routers provide connections designed for the needs of each.
Many Wi-Fi home networks suffer from wireless interference due to the prevalence of 2.4 GHz consumer gadgets. The ability to utilize 5 GHz on a dual band router helps avoid these issues.
Dual band routers also incorporate Multiple-In Multiple-Out (MIMO) radio configurations. The combination of multiple radios on one band together with dual-band support together provide much higher performance home networking than what single band routers can offer.