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Online Community Manager
Online Community Manager

Dual Band modems/routers explained

If you’ve received dual band modem, you have the option to connect to two different WiFi networks. In this article, we’ll talk through Dual Bands modems and the difference between the 2.4GHz & 5GHz wireless frequencies. 

What’s a Dual Band modem?

The term Dual band refers to a modem that works on the 2.4GHz & 5GHz Wireless frequencies. Our current Optus supplied dual band modems include:

Home Broadband (Fixed)

Wireless Broadband

The difference between 2.4GHz & 5GHz: Low vs high frequency bands

The main differences between the two frequencies are how they effect the range and speed of your WiFi signal as well the ease of which they can pass through solid objects (known as penetrability) 

As a general rule, lower frequencies like the 2.4GHz band can travel further, are better at passing through solid objects but transmit data at a lower rate (when your device is within close range to your modem).

On the other hand, higher frequency bands such as the 5GHz band can't travel as far, have a harder time passing through dense material but offer superior speeds when your device is within close range to your modem. 

 Function              2.4GHz                                                                                  5GHz

Speed Slower maximum potential speeds  Faster maximum potential speed 
Signal Range Less signal loss over longer distances (can be susceptible to interference from other devices working on the same frequency band)

Greater potential for signal loss over further distances 

Penetrability  Signal can pass through solid objects with greater ease Signal has a harder time passing through dense solid material


Which WiFi band should I use?


Connect to the 5GHz band when:

  • You’re within close range to your modem and want to take advantage of faster WiFi speeds
  • Your modem isn't placed in a room enclosed by walls made from dense material such as concrete or brick 
  • You've noticed on drop outs on your WiFi network which may be caused by signal interference from other devices/appliances

Connect to the 2.4GHz band when:

  • The range of your Wireless Network is of importance. The 2.4GHz band is suited for those with larger homes with multiple devices in separate rooms to your modem
  • Your modem has been placed in a room separated by walls made from dense material

Is there anything else I need to know?


How to enable the 5GHz band

In most cases, the 5GHz band will enabled by default. When searching for available WiFi networks, you’ll see the option to connect to both the 2.4GHz or 5GHz WiFI Network (SSID). The two networks should share the same password. You can change the name of your WiFi network and password via the modem GUI (the setting and configuration page).

Are there any minimum device requirements?

The device that you're using to connect to your Home WiFi network must support AC WiFi. Most newer devices are compatible with both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. If you're not sure, check your device specs (either on the manufacturers website or printed on the packaging). You'll want to look out for 802.11ac (normally listed under Wireless connectivity or WLAN).

If you're considering a WiFi range extender, you'll also want to make sure that it offers Dual Band connectivity. 

3 Replies
Occasional Contributor
Occasional Contributor

Re: Dual Band modems/routers explained

I've been told that when the nbn is first connected, the speed is always slow and after about a week it gets to the speed you pay for eg 50/20 etc but it will get faster each day for a week or 6 weeks. Is this correct?

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Blog Author

Re: Dual Band modems/routers explained

Is that something that we've advised @gearboxx? It's the first I've heard of such a thing. 

 What sort of speeds are you seeing on your end?

What type of NBN is connected in your area i.e. NBN-HFC, FTTP,FTTB,FTTN? If you have an NBN connection box (network termination device), try connecting a laptop or desktop directly into the assigned UNI-D port. If you run a speed test. that’ll give you the best indication of the speeds the service is able to achieve. 

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Re: Dual Band modems/routers explained

It’s also important to note that on most Wi-Fi chips, the 2.4GHz signal only supports connections on 802.11a/b/g/n while the 5GHz radio also supports 802.11ac. While it’s not so important for your external internet access (because 802.11n will generally support speeds greater than your internet speed), you won’t get local network connections as quick on 2.4GHz - which will affect speeds for tasks like copying files to network storage.


Please note that I am not employed by Optus and as such any views are my own and the information provided is (at best) general only and does not take into account your dreams, aspirations or financial circumstances.


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