What is band steering and how can it make my WiFi better?
More and more devices are connecting to the home WiFi network. Just stop and think about how many phones, tablets, computers, gaming devices, televisions, and other appliances are wirelessly connected to your network right now. Too many devices can lead to network congestion and impact your network speeds and performance.
Dual-band access points can alleviate over-crowding, by creating a separate 5 GHz network that has a higher capacity and less congestion, and a 2.4 GHz network available for legacy devices that don’t support 5 GHz.
But, have you ever wondered what happens in a network when you have a mix of 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz devices? Or what about your new phone that’s capable of connecting at either 5 GHz or 2.4 GHz? Are your newer, faster 5 GHz devices ever slowed down by the older 2.4 GHz devices?
This is where band steering comes in. Band steering is a technique used in dual band WiFi equipment that encourages newer client devices to use the less congested 5 GHz network. Here’s how it works. When a new device connects to the network, the access point will determine if it is dual-band capable (in other words, can the device connect to the 5 GHz band). If it can, the access point will push the device to connect on 5 GHz by blocking any attempt by the device to connect to the 2.4 GHz band.
This ensures that the 5 GHz devices (like your phone or television) can achieve peak performance without being slowed down by the older 802.11b/g clients on the network. In short, a network with band steering will enable you to get the most out of your newer devices while still making sure that older devices can connect.
What do you need to get band steering in your home network? You’ll need an access point (either a wireless access point, wireless router, or wireless network extender) that is dual band – meaning it has a 2.4 GHz radio and 5 GHz radio inside and can use both radios simultaneously. And, that device also needs to support band steering technology.