Way OT: help with 5 GHz WiFi connection

Submitted by Moleskyn on February 21st, 2016 at 5:37 PM

I've been looking into Wifi stuff in the past couple days, trying to ensure I'm making best use of the tools at my disposal here at home. I'm having a hard time figuring out which WiFi standards my devices are compatible with.

Here's what I know:

  • My router is a couple years old, but is a quality router. It has a maximum possible throughput that is far higher than what I pay for from my ISP. It has dual-band support, so it is broadcasting on 2.4 and 5 GHz frequencies. Looking at my router configuration settings in my browser, both frequencies are enabled, and I've named the SSIDs differently to be able to tell them apart.
  • From what I can tell, my laptop (also a couple years old), should be able to take advantage of the 5 GHz frequency. It's a Windows machine, and I ran a command in command prompt to see what radio types it supports: 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n. From what I've been able to find, it's the 802.11n radio that should allow me to pick up the 5 GHz frequency.
  • I have a few other Android devices, and have no idea what they are capable of picking up. I also don't know what methods are out there to check their capabilities. Just based on their age, I would expect them to be able to pick up the 5 GHz frequency: tablet is a Nexus 10, phone is an LG G4.
  • I don't see the 5 GHz SSID show up under "available WiFi networks" on any of my devices. This would leave me to believe that none of my devices are capable of picking up the 5 GHz frequency, but it seems that at least my laptop should.

Is there something I'm missing?

 

Comments

MGoGrendel

February 21st, 2016 at 8:09 PM ^

Your single SSID should be broadcasted on both 2.4 and 5 - there is no reason to set up separate SSID's.  Set up your router again and connect to the frequency you want.  5 GHz has shorter range with a higher capacity, but your Internet connection is slower so it doesn't matter which connection you use if our are close to the AP.  If you want to connect farther away from your AP, use the 2.4 connection (the signal strength will be higher).

If you can't see one (like your SSID at 5 Ghz), check to see if you checked "set to private", at which case it would not see the SSID name broadcasted.  You may be able to set up a second SSID for your private use and have the SSID go unbroadcasted (old router dependant).  You would then have to manually set up your connection on your devices.  This is done for security reasons.  (Or, you can name your SSID "free porn spam" to deter people from trying to connect).

Your cell phones should have the latest Wi-Fi upgrade to connect to anything your older Wi-Fi router broadcasts since all the new Wi-Fi standards are backwards compatible to your older router.

Ask if you have other questions.  (Except "why do kittens purr?", because I don't know that one).

Danwillhor

February 21st, 2016 at 8:56 PM ^

you don't need more than a single SSID. The router can output both frequencies the same way it can output both g&n signals (g being backwards compatible with b). Have a single SSID outputting a dual frequency (2.4 & 5) as well as both g&n bands. Any device that can receive a wifi signal will accept it in the fastest option for itself. If it can accept n-band it will choose that over the g-band on its own. The same applies for 2.4 & 5ghz. Any device made in the last couple years should be able to accept the best of both (n-band @ 5ghz). Oddly, the PS4 console does not support 5ghz. It's the latest piece of hardware that has built in wifi that I know of to only accept 2.4ghz and it's only flaw, IMO (a very minor but unexpected flaw).

MGoGrendel

February 21st, 2016 at 10:58 PM ^

There are two SSID's in my house that are unseen. One is on my security system and they other is on my cable TV system - both are major providers using this security method. This keeps the low level hackers at bay. So it is one security level of defense; but not the best defense all by itself- which I think is your point.

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DaytonBlue

February 21st, 2016 at 5:46 PM ^

IIRC 802.11n is by far the latest of those standards and it's been around for years (b is old and g is more about compatabilyt for b devices).   i don't think there are many current devices out there that don't support 802.11n so not sure what's going on w/ your setup.

Moleskyn

February 21st, 2016 at 5:49 PM ^

Laptop is a Lenovo, router is a LinkSys.

The WiFi standard is the part that kind of confuses me: I believe 802.11ac is newer than 802.11n, but it sounds like 802.11ac was just to improve on 802.11n, not necessarily introduce anything new.

That said, I don't know what standard my router is using (or if the routers even align with standards). Though the fact that it has a 5 GHz band available makes me think I should be able to connect to it with a compatible device.

Blueblood2991

February 21st, 2016 at 6:00 PM ^

It is a common misconception that all wireless n cards can support 5ghz. Cheaper made cards (used in a lot of tablets and phones) are wireless N, but only use the 2.4 bandwith.

You can still take advantage of the extra data transfer that wirless N offers though.  If this is just for home use, I highly doubt you would even notice the difference if you ran all of the devices on 2.4 vs 5.  As you stated, the incoming internet speed is no where close to the available output of the router.

Tucson Wolverine

February 21st, 2016 at 5:59 PM ^

Can you see the 5 GHz network with your laptop? Almost sounds like the network is hidden. If that is the case, you could either change the setting to show the network, or manually type in the network information on your laptop (ssid, password) and see if it connects.

BlueMan80

February 21st, 2016 at 6:01 PM ^

It should see the SSID you setup for the 5GHz band on your router. My Samsung Galaxy S5 works with 5GHz wifi. So, scan for available wifi networks and you'll get your answer.

However, it is possible to turn off the 5GHz radio in your router. Make sure you didn't do that.

austinnt

February 21st, 2016 at 6:09 PM ^

Like everyone else, I'll say you should have someone like geek squad come out so they can diagnose it. However, I've found that android devices usually will opt for 2.5ghz connections because it saves on battery. I also find that most routers people buy suck, and most likely will end up being your issue. Good luck.

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Brooklyn_Blue

February 21st, 2016 at 6:40 PM ^

Did you upgrade to windows 10 on your laptop?  Some companies still haven't put out Win 10 specific drivers.  My wirelss card in my desktop stopped seeing 5ghz networks once I upgraded to Win 10.  

Moleskyn

February 21st, 2016 at 8:04 PM ^

This is interesting and may explain why I'm not seeing the 5 GHz band on my laptop. I upgraded to Win 10 a few months ago. Though I checked my wireless driver (an Intel Wireless-N 7260), and the latest update for it was just in January.

That may not necessarily mean it was upgraded to work with Win 10, but either way, it doesn't explain why I'm not seeing the 5 GHz band on my Android devices.

bossmania

February 21st, 2016 at 6:53 PM ^

802.11 n can use either the 2.4 ghz or the 5 ghz frequencies in theory but it's not always true. Some network adapters use N but cannot use the 5ghz frequency. I would google the exact model of the laptop or network adapter to confirm it can use 5ghz. If so, you either have a problem with your router (could be configuration) or with your laptop's network adapter (drivers?)

 

 

MGoAlumnus

February 21st, 2016 at 7:05 PM ^

You most likely have one of two things going on:

1. You have something on your 5 GHz network misconfigured.  Make sure you're 'broadcasting' your SSID.  It's possible to have a wireless network configured and working, but without the SSID broadcasted, meaning you have to know the exact name of the network, type it in, and then connect.  Alternatively, you can try to connect to your 5GHz network on your devices by manually typing in the SSID.

2. Your router's 5 GHz functionality is broken.

It's proabably number 1 since the rest of your router is working normally.  Your LG G4 should definitely be able to see your 5GHz network, and most likely your laptop as well (but I can't say for sure without knowing more about it).

You're welcome to upload some screenshots of your router config and I can take a look, I used to work at Cisco and did a bit of wireless testing.

Also, once you do get it working, I would recommend having the same SSID for both your 2.4 and 5 GHz if your router allows for that.  That way you don't have to manually choose which network that you connect to, your device will use whichever is better.  As some users have mentioned above, 5 GHz is faster but it doesn't go as far, so it depending on your location it'll be better or worse than the 2.4 GHz network.  If you name the two the same, you can let your device figure it out.

MGoAlumnus

February 21st, 2016 at 8:19 PM ^

Everything there looks good, can you show me the 'Wireless Security' sub tab?

If everything there looks good, it might be worth trying to manually select a channel (similar to how you have channel 1 selected on the 2.4 GHz network).  There are some restricted channels due to airport usage, and there's a small possibility your router is using one of those.

Also would be worth selecting 'Disabled' for the SSID Broadcast, and trying to manually connect using your phone.

Blueblood2991

February 21st, 2016 at 8:26 PM ^

My apologizes OP, when I responded earlier I didn't see the specific Android devices you listed.  I'm almost positive those should be dual-band.

Did you happen to update the firmware on the router while you were messing around? Linksys routers are notorious for having signal issues after updates and just requires a reset usually.(Hold red reset button on bottom for 30 seconds, and then unplug and plug back in after another 30 secs).

Worth a shot to try

Larry

February 21st, 2016 at 7:36 PM ^

One of the more useful apps I've ever run across will help you with at least knowing your Android devices' 5GHz capabilities. It's called Wifi Analyzer and can be found on Google Play. Look for a square that says "2.4G" as you swipe sideways through the screens, and tap it to change to "5G." If you see any networks, your own or otherwise, the Android device in question is 5GHz capable.

JamieH

February 21st, 2016 at 10:39 PM ^

Unless you have really fast internet, I don't see why you want to use the 5GHz band, unless you have interference from another device on the 2.4GHz band.

The signal strength of the 5GHz band sucks.  You can pick up the 2.4GHz band about twice as far away from your router.  So about the only reason you ever want to use the 5GHz band is if you have a really fast connection that exceeds the throughput of the 2.4GHz band or if you have other devices on the 2.4GHz band that are interfering.

For example, I have 200Mbps internet and an ac router, so I hook up to the router through the 5GHz band to get the full use of my internet speed.  But the 2.4GHz band has much wider range in my house.  And if your internet is anything 40Mbps or less, you probably just want to use the 2.4GHz band. 

marathon95

February 22nd, 2016 at 10:44 AM ^

I have a netgear router. For devices that are capable of 5G I see wireless networks of NETGEAR000 and NETGEAR000-G. For devices that aren't 5G capable I only see NETGEAR000.

TdK71

February 22nd, 2016 at 11:45 AM ^

http://www.amazon.com/RT-AC68U-Wireless-AC1900-Dual-Band-Gigabit-Router/dp/B00FB45SI4/ref=sr_1_1?rps=1&ie=UTF8&qid=1456158993&sr=8-1&keywords=rt68u&refinements=p_n_condition-type%3A6461716011%2Cp_85%3A2470955011

 

I'm getting 88 Mbits down and 13 Mbits up on a Comcast connection on my Galaxy S5.

Plus I attached a WD external 1TB drive and have all my videos and music setup to stream via DNLA.  as well as cloud services go that I can access my data from anywhere.

The setup and config is wery easy and straightforward via a web GUI and there is custom firmware available should you wish to further customize your home network.

I recommend this device highly.