House WiFi - a Fact I wasn't aware of!

Just reading a technical article, about WiFi in the home, which brings up a setting I hadn’t thought of.

I have tested the idea & it seems to work here.

The principle is that many house get more than one wifi service, from their router, and these are picked up when the wifi scan takes place.

Usually you are asked which one you want to use.

For example, in my case, I get offered a basic 2.4Ghz one AND another one at 5G.

That sounds like a choice between ordinary & double speed.

That may be so BUT …>

The Tech article points out that WiFi of 5Ghz has much less penetrating power than 2.,5.

That means that the 2.5 can get through more walls, etc, and reach further rooms than the 5Ghz version!

I put that to the test (as you do) and it’s certainly true here…as a result, I use 5G for the close up devices (Alexa) etc and 2.5 if I have to go through more walls & stairs!

If you can’t see your wifi incoming you could download, for example, WiFi Analyzer, and it will tell you what’s in reach!


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The 2.5Ghz setting is for devices that haven’t caught up with modern technology. As you say, my Echo devices and mobile phone connect to 5Ghz but my Alex-controlled sockets and lights and old tablet do not. Chances are that the cost to produce new versions of equipment aren’t worth the effort, and as the saying goes, if it’s not broken, why fix it?

The issue with 5G not being able to penetrate walls is something that has been known in the tech world for a very long time BUT it is something that the tech world keeps very very quiet. In the open 5G is brilliant and does it’s job very very well but start putting physical obstacles in its way and the signal starts to deteriorate.

What is being kept quiet from the public is that due to the inefficiencies of 5G signal being able to penetrate thick surfaces, to maintain a strong signal there will need to be a lot more base stations placed in an area than was needed for 2.5Ghz.

I got an Orbi Mesh Router and satellite a couple of years back. It was a used (refurbished) one from Ebay. Still quite expensive but I haven’t regretted buying it. I’m aware of the different bands and how one can work better than another depending on varying locations and equipment. The Orbi works all that out according to what I read and I’ve never tried overriding any automatic settings.

Good coverage all over the house and some of the garden. All of the garden if I add the second satellite that came with the purchase.

Our router transmits, by default, on 5G.

However, where it struggles, like one of our security cameras outside, I use a TP-Link extender plugged in near to that location. These things, of course, transmit the signal from near the router to the extender.
I do have another one too, which could be plugged in somewhere else, but haven’t really needed it as yet.

Another thing you might also consider is that the neighbours wifi can interfere with your system.

There are apps for your phone which can show you which frequencies are being used locally “Wifi Analyser” in your phone’s play store will find several.


This is mine at 2.4Ghz usually it shows several but being Sunday the local businesses must have turned theirs off. I have two sources set at either end of the spectrum. There are 12 channels but because they overlap you really are limited to three if the source is strong (ie close)

I actually prefer 5Ghz because less wifis use it here. Both my routers are dual band so transmit on both.

Anyway if you do have dodgy connections on your wifi it might be worth checking to see if your neighbour is using the same channel and adjusting your router to a different one.

Just set it up to use both, as I do. Some devices can’t use the 5Ghz anyway, such as my Kindle.

Actually, now I look properly, it does use both.

Yes, the 2.4Ghz is sort of classed as “legacy” and the default these days is have both running at the same time. It wasn’t that long ago the 5Ghz had to be enabled manually if you wanted to use it. So many people had old wireless dongles that couldn’t use the 5ghz frequency.

:023: Actually, not sure but I think the TP-Link extenders might only use 2.4GHz.

It depends which model you buy. As it happens I have one waiting for me at Currys -
TP-LINK - RE200 WiFi Range Extender - AC 750, Dual-band cost is £22.99. There are better ones but this is for 4G in my caravan so there is no point getting better. I will be using it wired instead of using the router WiFi. Long story why.

At home I stick to 5GHz as 2.4GHz is virtually unusable - there is a very strong source of non-WiFi interference which I’ve not been able to identify. I see neighbours 2.4GHz signals but have no idea if they can use them or not. I have a wired WiFi extender there too.

presumably you talking about for mobile phones only you don’t say?

Yes, just checked.
My router is using 5GHz
my extender using 2.4GHz

I’m not sure whether I can change the router to 2.4GHz, but I’d prefer to leave it alone after the problems I’ve had.

Who me? No. Why would you think that? There is no phone line here so I use a 4G router to access the internet using the cellphone 4G network. It can then provide ethernet or WiFi connections for phones, tablets, phones or anything else that needs an internet connection.

Aha! The very man.

I have been considering ditching Virgin Media due to their terrible customer service and moving to Three’s Home Broadband service, which I assume is similar to what you are using.

Apparently, the speeds available, whilst not as fast as VM fibre, are faster than ADSL connections and the prices comparable to the latter.

From the reviews I have seen, it is sadly lacking in reliability and poor connection, but I’d be interested to know how you feel about yours.

Of course, you may be with a different supplier, but it is the type of connection I might be interested in and only mention Three as that is the one I use for my smartphone and, in that instance, I have found it excellent.

Here at the caravan I am a long way from any cell tower so I use an external antenna. I was using EE but had to maintain the contract throughout the year and data was limited. I found that I could get unlimited data for £20 a month through Superdrug and could suspend the service without penalty over winter and restart it when I wanted to.

That uses the Three network and the nearest Three cell tower is just over 2.5 miles away and the other side of a wooded hill. The simple antenna I was using with EE didn’t cut the mustard so I put these up…

The mast the original antenna was on looked decidedly dodgy in the recent gales which is why I moved them to the short straight mast in the picture. The move is why I need the WiFi extender as the router had to be put in a Keter storage box outside the van and the WiFi is a bit weak from there.

Even so it can give results like this

That may well be restricted by the rather poor WiFi signal inside the van from the box outside it. One device had to be moved to work at all.

I’m happy with it here - in truth I have no alternative anyway of course but in an urban setting you may paradoxically be less lucky - a cell has a limited capacity and in a town although there are more and closer cells there are a lot more people using them. On the plus side you may get away with either no or certainly a lot simpler antenna.

This test which I just ran is rather odd with the upstream double a rather lack lustre (slowest I’ve seen with the new antennas) downstream

Wow! The first thing that struck me was the upload speeds.

For me, and as far as I know, just about everyone else, the upload speed is a fraction of the download speed.

Anyway, the end outcome, if anything like yours, would be certainly sufficient for my purposes. Unfortunately, there is no way of telling what sort of connection I would actually achieve. It’s a shame that it isn’t possible to ‘try before buy’!

I understand that taking my mobile phone around the house will give some indication of what sort of signal could be achieved and I tried this. Unfortunately, there was very little showing up throughout the house, so I’d almost certainly need an external antenna.

An advantage, however, would be that there’d be no need for the installation of a phone line as would be needed for a conventional connection.

Thanks a lot for the information, anyway.

Talking of speed tests.

My desktop computers use a wired connection but I often use my laptop while sitting in the lounge so I thought I would test the difference in speed between the 2.4Mhz and 5Mhz wifi connections. The difference wasn’t as great as I expected.

First the 5Ghz band.

then the 2.4Ghz

I am not displeased with these figures as they go through a wifi router and two switches before they get to the WAN router. (I pay for a 100/40Mbps connection)

It occurs to me that I also read somewhere recently that the same ‘House WiFi’ will work much better when 5G becomes available to more people. The speeds would be much faster than the reports I have seen about the present 4G system.

Unfortunately, 5G is only available at present in a few limited locations and, of course, each 5G transmitter has a much shorter effective range than 4G. That is certainly the case where I am anyway.

On the other hand, they are expanding their networks all the time, so perhaps later it’s something worth examining.

4G can rival ADSL but apart from the higher upstream speeds can’t rival even FTTC let alone a full fibre connection. I notice that they are putting in ducting for FTTP back home but I expect it will be considerably more than I pay for an 80/20 FTTC connection that delivers about 60/18 and I have no justification for anything faster than that. I run a web server from home which rules out using 4G there otherwise I’d probably give that a try as I could just take the router and sim home from here.