In wireless networking, dual-band equipment is capable of transmitting in either of two different standard frequency ranges. Modern Wi-Fi home networks feature dual-band broadband routers that support both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz channels. First-generation home network routers produced during the late 1990s and early 2000s contained a single 802.11b Wi-Fi radio operating on the 2.4 GHz band. At the same time, a significant number of business networks supported 802.11a (5 GHz) devices. Starting with 802.11n, Wi-Fi standards began including simultaneous dual-band 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz support as a standard feature. This inclusion means that nearly every modern router is considered a dual-band router.
By supplying separate wireless interfaces for each band, dual-band 802.11n and 802.11ac routers provide maximum flexibility in setting up a home network. Some home devices require the legacy compatibility and greater signal reach that 2.4 GHz offers while others may require the additional network bandwidth that 5 GHz offers.
Dual-band routers provide connections designed for the needs of each. Many Wi-Fi home networks suffer from wireless interference arising from the prevalence of 2.4 GHz consumer gadgets, like microwave ovens and cordless phones, all of which can only operate on three non-overlapping channels. The ability to use 5 GHz on a dual-band router helps avoid these problems because the technology supports 23 non-overlapping channels.
Dual-band routers also incorporate Multiple-In Multiple-Out radio configurations. The combination of several radios on one band together with dual-band support provide much higher performance for home networking than what single-band routers can offer.
For homes that have many competing wireless devices, Google Wi-Fi is considered one of the top router choices. Its system consists of three satellites, called Wi-Fi points, each of which covers 1,500 square feet for a whopping total of 4,500 square feet of blanketed coverage. It uses beam-forming technology, which automatically routes devices to the strongest signal.