Our dualband router (like many such routers) gives us the opportunity to set up different SSID's for the 2.4GHz and the 5GHz band. My question directly follows from this option: what are the advantages and disadvantages of using the same SSID or using different SSID's?

Most of the devices on the network are capable of running on the 5GHz band, but some are a bit further away and will thus probably run better on the further-carrying 2.4GHz signal, and some (such as several smartphones) are simply unable to operate at 5GHz.

I read at various forums/bulletin boards that the devices that support both would just choose whichever signal is stronger when you name them both the same. Does this imply they elect for the faster connection?

(Why) would you suggest setting up different or identical SSID's for both bands?


This probably is offtopic, and should be on SuperUser but I can answer from a personal perspective: It's all about control.

If you share an SSID, you're leaving it completely up to the clients to choose how they connect. This will be based on what the client* perceives to be the better choice, and this may not always reflect reality or how you want things to operate. For example, you may wish to only use 5.0Ghz for the devices close to the router, or those needing higher throughput. Your phone may decide to connect through 5.0Ghz while you're in the living room, but may then struggle when you're upstairs and may not renegotiate its connection.

There are pros and cons of both 2.4Ghz and 5.0Ghz, so I prefer to set different SSID's, so that I can simply make the choice as and when required.

I'm also finding that my current wireless router has somewhat intermittent quality on 5.0Ghz, so it's handy to simply be able to select a secondary SSID when I start having problems.

*And what I really mean by this is that whoever wrote the drivers for that client made a decision on how that client should rank different connection options.

  • 3
    +1 It's also worth noting that high-end APs can be set to discard the first x 2.4GHz beacon probes from a client in order to trick them into preferring 5GHz. In this case, you only need a single SSID to support your 5GHz clients and 2.4GHz clients optimally. – MDMarra Feb 1 '14 at 13:14

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