Question 2.4Ghz and 5 Ghz Network Names - Okay to be the same?

Duke Caboom

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Apr 9, 2019
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Years ago, I was advised that naming the 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz wireless networks the same would be fine and my devices would just connect to whatever is "better" for them (IE, closer ones would connect to the 5Ghz, further away would be 2.4Ghz).

Is that still the case?
Or should I split the networks up?
 

OrlyP

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Aug 20, 2020
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That is still the case.

There's only a few specific reasons why you'd want to give them different names, like forcing devices to use one band over the other, for instance. Otherwise, the reasons you cited are still valid to this day and should give you a nice balance in WiFi performance, coverage, and compatibility.
 
Reactions: Duke Caboom
Why would you think it connects to 5g radio when it is closer. The choice is purely a signal strength thing and in most cases 2.4g is always stronger. Strong signal and "better" connection all depends on you definition. The 5g band is much faster and many times a weaker 5g signal will still be a lot faster.
It is purely a factor of how lazy you want to be. A person manually selecting the correct SSID will always do better than any software. If your performance is not your key goal and you just need basic connectivity then setting them the same is likely easier. Huge number of consumes just want magic boxes that they have to know nothing about is why manufactures set the SSID the same by default.
 

OrlyP

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Aug 20, 2020
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That may be true and feasible if you have maybe just a handful of WiFi users. But if you have dozens.... I have about 100 spread across different SSIDs/VLANs at home, you would want a more automatic way to manage band utilization. For the most part, I don't run into any coverage or performance issue.

Some APs employ mechanisms to "encourage" 5GHz-capable clients to use the 5GHz band. This is called band steering. I say encourage because, choosing which band to use is a decision typically made by the client radio. The AP can only try to dissuade the client from connecting to the 2.4GHz band so it is forced to use the next available band, 5GHz, if it's in a usable range. Granted that the implementation of this feature is not a standard and can vary from one vendor to another. As such, YMMV. I run mine on Ubiquiti UniFi APs and so far, it's been working great on my environment. Though, I kinda wish I ad an RF spectrum analyzer.

In summary, you can dial in static client associations to the appropriate band depending on what your endgame is (performance vs range), but if you designed your WiFi environment well like choosing the correct channel width, the use of non-overlapping channels, and avoiding high-interference channels, using the same SSID for 2.4 and 5 GHz should be fine for most people.
 
You have to look at who normally posts to these forums. It is mostly home users that have 1 router and a handful of devices. Ubiquiti maybe a good system for a small business but it is way to complex for your general home user who asks simple questions like these.

I can do the same to you. Ubiquiti system is massively inferior to cisco system. Ubiquti has extremely basic ability to roam between AP. It has no ability to roam between say floors in the building where the IP subnet changes or even roam to a cell network if you leave the building. You should just go out and get your cisco wifi certifications so you can install this properly and protect your $30,000 investment in the required network controller :)
 

OrlyP

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I know this is OT but you have to bring up Cisco ;)

I was a full time Cisco engineer in my previous work life. I still own a couple of 2nd hand Cisco gear I use at home.... Cisco 2621XM for the IP phones and a 3560G switch for L-3 inter-VLAN routing.... They're old by today's standards, but still quite capable and more importantly, cheap for home use. Also used Cisco Aironet 1200 series APs, also 2nd hand, way back when businesses were migrating to 802.11n.

Cisco nut, that I was... and to a certain degree, still am. I've been holding on to my Cisco certs for almost 20 years now and counting.

Then around 5 years ago, I pulled the trigger and bought UniFi APs.

All I can say is, we are a big family with tons of IoT devices...

I brought up Ubiquiti because it's the AP I've been using in the last several years that has band steering. As of late, this feature has been trickling down to other consumer WiFi equipment like TP-Link's Omada, D-Link, Asus (they call it Smart Connect), just to name a few. Even open-source router OSs like DD-WRT has it, well, to a certain degree. In fact, the OP may already own a router that supports it.

Just saying that using different SSIDs for each band may not even be necessary with today's 'magic box' APs.
 

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