Dual Band Router? Here’s How to Maximize Performance

dual band router

In a world that is mostly digital, having a reliable router and internet is essential. More people work from home, and many companies allow their employees to work a few days a week remotely. And most of us want our internet connection to work at top speed without any problems while also saving money. You can address these concerns with a dual-band router.

If you don’t know what a dual-band router is or what it can do for your wireless connection, this guide should help you. If you have a dual-band router but are experiencing some issues, we can help you troubleshoot some of the most common router problems so that you can have fast and reliable internet.

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What Is a Dual Band Router?

First, if you have no clue what a dual-band router is or what it does, that’s a good thing to know. Simply put, a dual-band router uses two different signals. A single-band router only pulls from the 2.4 GHz band while a dual-band router draws from both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. Most older routers are a single-band router while most newer models feature a dual-band.

Why Do I Want a Dual Band Router?

Most people don’t think to upgrade their routers, especially if they haven’t had many issues. The problem is that because many homes and businesses use a single-band router (or are only connecting to the 2.4GHz band), the 2.4 GHz band is saturated with devices. Think of all the tablets, smartphones, computers, TV’s, and every other device in your house that uses the internet. 

Now multiply that by every home on your block, neighborhood, city, and state. That is a lot of devices all using one channel, and it’s going to bog down your internet speeds. A dual-band router opens up a whole other channel and allows your devices to run faster.

Apartment dwellers deal with this problem even more so than single-family homes. Every unit in your building is using the internet, usually on multiple devices, and because of the proximity, they are all pulling from intermingling signals. By using a dual-band router, you can pull from the 5 GHz band, which almost no one is using, and have a much faster internet connection. 

A dual-band router also allows you to run two separate networks simultaneously. So, if you work from home and your kids love playing video games, you can dedicate one network solely for gaming and another just for your work purposes. Everyone gets internet without bogging down the connection. 

Tuning Your Dual Band Router

Once you have a dual-band router, there are a few things you can do to get optimal performance. It’s important to correctly configure your connection, especially if you have numerous devices running at once on your network.

Pick the Right Internet Connection

Most cable companies offer a few different internet speeds and based on your own needs, you might need a specific speed. First, you need to figure out your current internet speed, and there are a few free online tools to check that. Most internet providers offer a free speed test, so check their websites first. You can also visit Geek Squad’s Speed Test or just Google ‘speed test’

Once you know your speed, decide if you need to upgrade or not. For basic needs like streaming a video, your speed should be at least 3Mbps. If you want HD quality streaming, your internet should run between 5Mbps and 10 Mbps. Check your current package and if you need to change, contact your internet provider.

Practice Safety First

With the number of devices that connect to the internet, it’s vital to practice good internet safety. Not only could you get hacked and have things like your identity stolen, but you could also have neighbors that hop onto your network and bog down the connection. 

Once you get your router, set up the network name and password. You don’t want to choose a network name that provides information about you, such as “John’s Network” and you don’t want to pick a simple password like “1234”

Also, make sure your router’s network encryption is set to WPA2 or WPA2-PSK. These are the best choices for network encryption and provide another layer of protection for your connection. 

Keep It Updated

To get the best performance from your dual-band router, make sure you keep it updated.  Most new routers will perform software updates automatically, but if you have an older model, you might need to do it manually.  If your router is ancient, it might be time to consider a new one.  The more up to date your router is, the better your internet will run and the safer your network will stay. 

You should also keep your devices as updated as possible.  You don’t need to buy the latest model phone or computer as soon as they come out, but make sure all software is current, and you perform regular maintenance.

 

Common Dual Band Router Problems and Solutions

dual band router problems

Maybe you already have a dual-band router, but keep experiencing problems. Often these issues are quite easy to fix on your own and will get you back to fast internet speeds.

Disconnection Between Wi-Fi Security Settings

This is often the most frequent problem with wireless router connections, but it is an easy fix. When setting up your new dual-band router, you want to ensure that the settings between your router and your PC match. The three settings you want to check to make sure everything is connected properly is the Network Mode, Security Mode, and Security Key.

Too Many Devices

Many homes have eight or more devices running at once. While routers can handle a respectable number of devices, there is a point where they become saturated. If you have a dual-band router and are experiencing slow connection speeds, make sure that you are using both channels. If you still have a single-band router, consider getting a new router. 

Slow Connection

Sometimes it seems like your internet connection is still slow, even after you get a dual-band router. If this is the issue, try turning the router off or resetting it. We often keep our routers on 24/7 and sometimes that constant running can cause the connection to slow down. Try turning your router off at night if possible or whenever you don’t need to use wi-fi. That should keep your speeds running at top notch.

 

Unexpected Router Problem: The NAT Table

The network address translation (NAT) table is often an issue for home routers, yet most people have never heard of it or know how to fix it. The way that a NAT table works can be a little complicated for the average user, but it allows private networks, such as your home, to use public networks, such as the internet. It does this through a series of IP addresses and translates them, most often through your router. There are two potential problems with NAT tables you could have.

Memory Storage

Every entry and connection the NAT table configures requires a certain amount of memory storage. While memory isn’t often a problem on newer routers, it could be for older models. If you have too many active connections, the NAT table will fill up. Your current connections won’t be affected, but you won’t be able to establish any new connections. If this seems to be the problem, you might need to get a new router that allows more memory.

Cheap Central Processing Unit

A cheap CPU is most often the primary issue a router’s NAT table will experience. If you have a weak CPU, it won’t be able to handle the heavy processing that NAT tables require.  Even simple tasks like watching a video online can require a lot of processing, and if your router can’t keep up, you will get slower connection speeds. Sometimes a simple router restart can clear the NAT table and clear up any issues, but other times you need to upgrade your router. 

When you need your internet to be fast and keep running while you work, a dual-band router could be your best option. It allows your wireless connection to run on two band channels rather than one, which is often oversaturated. If the dual-band router is optimized, and you keep it updated you should experience faster internet and keep up with substantial amounts of data, network bandwidth, and complex code. 

  

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