If you’re wondering if a 5GHz router is the same as a 5G router, the answer is no! There’s a lot of confusion around these terms, so we’ll do our best to break them down for you here. 

Here’s the main difference between 5GHz and 5G: While both 5GHz WiFi routers and 5G cellular routers use radio waves to enable wireless communication, and both can operate on the 5GHz frequency, they use different radio wave technologies to connect, and are for different purposes.

5GHz WiFi is used by the standard routers many people have in their homes. 5GHz WiFi routers use short range radio frequencies to connect devices in your home or office to your router, and then your router connects to the Internet. These 5GHz WiFi routers transmit a signal to your devices on one of two frequency bands, 2.4GHz or 5.0GHz. 

Some WiFi routers support dual-band or tri-band operation, and these routers use both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.

What are the differences between 5GHz and 2.4GHz frequency bands with WiFi?

The 5GHz band offers faster data transfer rates, because higher frequencies can carry more data. The 5GHz band is also less crowded than the 2.4GHz band. So there’s less congestion with 5GHz in urban areas, where many devices and networks might interfere with each other. 

The range of 5GHz signals is often shorter compared to 2.4GHz though, so these signals may not penetrate walls and objects as effectively as 2.4GHz. 

5G vs 5GHz - Are they the same?

It’s a Cellular Router – 5G doesn’t refer to a specific frequency band. “G” refers to generation, and 5G means the fifth generation of mobile, cellular network technology, which encompasses a range of frequency bands and technologies for seamless wireless communication. 

5G cellular routers connect to the Internet over longer distances – up to several miles – by way of cellular service provider towers, and primarily operate on frequency bands higher than those used by WiFi, like sub-6GHz and mmWave (millimeter-wave) bands. These bands are different from the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands used by standard WiFi routers. They offer significantly faster data download and upload speeds, reduced latency, and the ability to connect many more devices at once compared to 4G cellular networks. Read more about the differences between 5G and 4G routers here.

The three main types of frequency bands used by 5G cellular routers are:

1. Sub-6GHz Bands: The lower-frequency bands below 6GHz are often referred to as sub-6GHz. These bands provide a balance between coverage and data speeds, and are typically used for wider area coverage in urban and suburban environments.

2. Mid-Band (C-Band and others): Mid-band frequencies like the C-band are in the range of 2GHz to 6GHz. These frequencies offer a compromise between coverage and capacity, and provide faster data speeds compared to sub-6GHz bands.

3. Millimeter Wave (mmWave) Bands: High-frequency bands above 24GHz are called mmWave bands. These bands offer extremely high data transfer rates but with shorter coverage distances. Millimeter waves are often used in dense urban areas to provide ultra-fast connectivity.

While 5G routers generally use higher-frequency bands, the term 5G doesn’t refer to a specific frequency band. Instead, 5G encompasses a range of frequency bands, and different carriers and regions may deploy 5G on various frequency ranges depending on regulatory approval and infrastructure deployment strategies.

What are the benefits of 5G frequency bands?

High Data Transfer Rates: Higher frequency bands such as mmWaves allow for significantly increased data transfer rates. This enables faster download and upload speeds and makes it possible to transmit large amounts of data quickly.

Low Latency: Low-latency communication is key for real-time gaming, virtual reality, augmented reality, and more. The use of higher frequency bands, particularly in mmWave ranges, contributes to lower latency in 5G networks.

Increased Network Capacity: Higher frequency bands can support a larger number of simultaneous connections, which is important in densely populated areas where many devices are connected to the network simultaneously.

Enhanced Capacity in Urban Environments: Millimeter wave bands operating at higher frequencies are effective in crowded urban environments where many users demand high-speed data services.

Improved Spectral Efficiency: Spectral efficiency refers to the amount of data that can be transmitted over a given frequency band. 5G technologies, especially those using higher frequency bands, allow more data to be transmitted in the same amount of spectrum.

Flexible Coverage Options: The use of a range of frequency bands, including sub-6GHz bands for wider coverage and higher frequency bands for localized high-speed connectivity, provides more choices and options when deploying 5G networks.

Support for Different Use Cases: From broad coverage in suburban and rural areas to high-capacity, low-latency applications in urban and industrial settings, 5G frequency bands are designed to handle a variety of use cases. This versatility makes 5G suitable for a wide range of applications and industries.

Innovative Applications: The combination of high data rates, low latency, and increased capacity opens the door to innovative solutions like autonomous vehicles, smart cities, robotic surgery, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

While higher frequency bands offer high data rates and low latency, they also have shorter range and may be more susceptible to signal blockage by buildings and other obstacles. That’s why cellular routers that leverage a combination of frequency bands, including sub-6GHz for coverage, and higher frequency bands for capacity and speed, can be ideal for optimizing 5G network performance.

Get a comprehensive guide to 5G routers

5G vs 5GHz router - what’s the difference?

Peplink is one of the most trusted providers of 5G cellular routers and modems in the world. Our 5G cellular routers have helped thousands of customers from many industries increase bandwidth, enhance Internet reliability, reduce connectivity cost, and enable new deployment possibilities. Contact us for help in determining which cellular router is right for you. 

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Additional topics to explore:

How to choose a 5G cellular router

What is the best cellular router?

What is the Difference Between 4G LTE and 5G Routers?