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So I found out that my router supports dual band (LinkSys E3000), so I went to its settings and changed it from operating on 20MHZ to 40MHZ . So does it mean I get better speed now? or I just have misunderstood how this works?

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Are you asking about the 2.4GHz band or the 5GHz band? –  David Schwartz Jan 26 '13 at 23:44

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

From here:

http://homekb.cisco.com/Cisco2/ukp.aspx?pid=80&app=vw&vw=1&login=1&json=1&docid=e1ec57e167054575a8a7b924e23ee10e_Manually_Configuring_the_Wireless_Network_of_your_Linksys_Du.xml

NOTE: The wireless network modes for a Linksys Dual-Band router will vary depending on the frequency band(s) you choose to enable. In the 2.4 GHz frequency, the Wi-Fi signal range is divided into channels each at 5 MHz interval. Adjacent channels overlap and will interfere with each other at 20 MHz block. Setting the channel width to 40 MHz network will allow you to use 2/3 of the entire Wi-Fi band. Thus having a higher chance of overlapping and interfering with other wireless networks. Meanwhile, if you set the channel width to 20 MHz, the network will only overlap with the two channels before and after that frequency.

You won't get better speed by doing that change. You may get better signal, but there's a downside to it. Essentially, you will have a higher chance to have collisions with other wireless networks around you. I would keep it at 40 just so you have less packet loss.

Dual-band routers essentially give you two access points with each having their own bandwidth in them. Usually one AP will be in the 2.5GHz range and the other will be in the 5.0GHz range. Within each spectrum, there are several wi-fi modes that you can enable. The fastest will be Wireless N, with speeds of 300Mbps. However, those 300Mbps are all shared between all devices connected to that AP.

For example, if you have 5 devices in the 5GHz AP and one is using up 200Mbps, then the other 4 devices on the 5GHz AP will have 100Mbps to work with.

However, both AP's are isolated from each other(wirelessly anyways; they have the same Gateway IP so items on different AP's can still contact each other), so if you have two data-hungry wireless devices you could put one in the 2.5GHz AP and another in the 5.0GHz AP(assuming it supports 5GHz wifi).

If you want to get the fastest speed out of your router, enable both the 2.5 and the 5.0 AP's, configure them with wireless N, and split your devices across each network evenly one by one

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