I have a TP-Link Archer C7 which is a dual-band AP. People in the house use different laptops, phones, tablets and smart-TVs. Would the network speed increase if I split devices between the two bands? The alternative I'm looking at is giving both frequencies the same SSID so that devices switch automatically.

  • Whichever way you choose to go about this, always ensure smartphones and tablets are on their own separate VLAN; IoT devices should always be on their own VLAN with no traffic allowed between them and other LAN devices _(if such communication is necessary for an app, manually configure port redirect firewall rules to only allow traffic between a specific device(s) to that specific IoT device and port number. The only two types of devices that should be on a LAN, and not a VLAN, are PCs and servers... any other way is insecure, carrying varying levels of risk.
    – JW0914
    Aug 7 '20 at 20:49
  • @JW0914, if you do not mind explaining: I have Android phones only on the same common LAN as all my PCs and a couple of small servers, not using VLANs at home at all. What are the exact vulnerabilities of such a lax and lazy setup? Working from home, I have to take security more seriously. If you want to give an extended answer, I'll be happy to post a separate question. Appreciate your answer either way. Thanks!
    – kkm
    Aug 19 '20 at 4:01
  • Android and IoT devices have way too many exploit points to be trusted on the same network as PCs and servers, which is made worse by the fragmented ecosystems and the lack of updates from OEMs, so it's just not worth the risk. If you need to stream Android/IoT ↔ PC/server, it would be best to create firewall rules between the vLAN(s) and LAN for specific ports going to and from specific IPs and MACs.The FBI recommends the same.
    – JW0914
    Aug 19 '20 at 11:21
  • See also superuser.com/questions/362366/…
    – MarcH
    May 15 '21 at 1:49

No. What you want to do, is get as many devices setup using 5Ghz, and use the 2.4Ghz as a fall-back.

The reason is that because 2.4Ghz bands overlap, 2.4Ghz is usually very overcrowded with neighbour networks. 5Ghz allows a faster speed too depending on the specifications.

The only drawback with 5Ghz is that its range is more limited than the 2.4Ghz, depending on the router. If the router itself is very powerful, you may not even notice this, which is why 2.4 is mentioned as fall-back. Use it if 5Ghz is not working correctly, but if it is, then 5Ghz is preferred.

Also, older devices may not support 5Ghz either.

I recommend against using the same SSID for both networks because that will likely get devices capable of doing 5Ghz to connect to the 2.4Ghz network. (I talk from experience.) This is because the 2.4 Ghz has more range, so it comes into network range sooner than the 5Ghz, and therefor automatically connects.

Once connected, the client will not automatically switch!

I usually use SSID_Name_24 and SSID_Name_5 to distinquish both.

If at some point your device works correctly at 5Ghz and you were using 2.4Ghz too, it is a good idea to forget the 2.4Ghz network on your device, to prevent the auto connection to the 2.4 network. For android phones, there are apps that will allow you to switch (reconnect) to another network, and although it works reasonably well, its still a lot better to only use the 5Ghz network if possible.

2021 EDIT: In 2021 it is far more common to have devices that can distinquish 2.4GHZ and 5Ghz dual connections and they will correctly choose the 5Ghz network over the 2.4 Ghz network. With this in mind, I still hold by my answer, and it is for the following reason. Internet Of Things (IoT) devices are very common nowadays and they only operate on 2.4Ghz. If your phone connects to the network in 5Ghz mode and you connect your smart lamp or smart switch, even though your network supports 2.4Ghz, the app will refuse to connect as it is 5Ghz, not realizing it is also 2.4Ghz capable. In this case you really do want to be able to switch to the 2.4Ghz before adding the IoT device in your app. That said, it is a good thing to setup a separate shielded network for IoT devices if you have that option, and in that case you can have a 2.4/5 Dual wifi channel and a separate IoT 2.4 wifi.

  • 1
    +1 I agree in principle. In practise, however, I've found it's simpler in the long run, as soon as all your devices are 5GHz-capable, to switch off the 2.4 altogether, to prevent that "I saw you first & I'm not letting go" situation.
    – Tetsujin
    Aug 8 '17 at 12:45
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    @Tetsujin of course, but I always keep that 2.4ghz available in case for some reason 5Ghz is not working at that moment: for example just at the edge of the range, or when someone comes over who does not have a 5ghz capable device. But I have 2 routers in my home, both doing 5Ghz, and only one of the two also does 2.4Ghz. But I'll add a paragraph in the answer to make it clear. :)
    – LPChip
    Aug 8 '17 at 12:56
  • "Once connected, the client will not automatically switch!" - Unless the router supported this functionality, which the router in question doesn't (but worth pointing out router's (mainly mesh networks) do support this functionality.
    – Ramhound
    Aug 8 '17 at 15:16
  • @Ramhound I totally agree, but if I added that, the answer would become overly complicated.
    – LPChip
    Aug 8 '17 at 15:27
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    @MarcH you switch manually. But if the SSID is the same, you cannot switch manually.
    – LPChip
    May 15 '21 at 12:10

Most routers now support Band Steering which will push 5Ghz capable devices to 5Ghz. This allows you to have the same SSID for both bands and devices will use whatever band they are capable of using.

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