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Smartphone Wi-Fi speed

Is Wi-Fi speed a factor when considering new phones? Are some smartphones faster on Wi-Fi than others, like if they support different 'bands'?

Most Useful Answer CTPAHHIK  Nov. 20, 2014 at 09:54

Usually WiFi speed is not a problem for a phone. Unless you are planning to stream high quality video over local wireless network there is nothing to worry about. Anything internet related is not fast enough to beat average WiFi speed. Note that YouTube usually defaults to 480p on the phone and rarely to 720p. There is never 1080p YouTube streaming on the phone. You have to manually force 1080p stream, but most people don't do it as you cannot tell a difference on 5-6" screen.

There are no public WiFi networks supporting 5Ghz, so unless you have a home router that supports 5Ghz band I don't see any advantage to have it. I also don't foresee any high demand for 5Ghz band in public places due to lower coverage. 5Ghz is faster than 2.4Ghz at expense of coverage range. I haven't encountered complains about WiFi speed, but there is plenty of issues with WiFi router being too far away, resulting in bad signal and slow speeds. Since phone antennas for WiFi are very small in bad coverage scenario phone will automatically change to 2.4Ghz, so 5Ghz doesn't really have any purpose for a phone.

5Ghz is good for laptops and tablets (10"+) due to big screen and ability to display 1080p video. They also tend to have multiple large WiFi antennas with twice the range of a phone.

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5 comments

arvy1  Nov. 19, 2014 at 20:11

Good question , I certainly remember my nexus 7 2012 being single band 2.4 ghz which was approx half the speed of my HTC one s (2.4ghz + 5ghz) . My tegra note 7 (2.4ghz single band) however is almost as fast as my HTC one s. Certainly the newest type of band is the ac which is the fastest. It all depends on the size of antenna and how well equipped it is but generally dual band ones are the fastest

equ7  Nov. 20, 2014 at 00:57

As far as I'm aware a phone will only use one frequency at a time. The advantage of dual band is if the WiFi router is also dual band then it can GOTO 5Ghz if its near by (short range) and the 2.4Ghz band is dirty/busy (WiFi, ZigBee, baby monitor, bluetooth , microwave oven etc...). So you have a better chance of a clear channel

CTPAHHIK  Nov. 20, 2014 at 09:54

Usually WiFi speed is not a problem for a phone. Unless you are planning to stream high quality video over local wireless network there is nothing to worry about. Anything internet related is not fast enough to beat average WiFi speed. Note that YouTube usually defaults to 480p on the phone and rarely to 720p. There is never 1080p YouTube streaming on the phone. You have to manually force 1080p stream, but most people don't do it as you cannot tell a difference on 5-6" screen.

There are no public WiFi networks supporting 5Ghz, so unless you have a home router that supports 5Ghz band I don't see any advantage to have it. I also don't foresee any high demand for 5Ghz band in public places due to lower coverage. 5Ghz is faster than 2.4Ghz at expense of coverage range. I haven't encountered complains about WiFi speed, but there is plenty of issues with WiFi router being too far away, resulting in bad signal and slow speeds. Since phone antennas for WiFi are very small in bad coverage scenario phone will automatically change to 2.4Ghz, so 5Ghz doesn't really have any purpose for a phone.

5Ghz is good for laptops and tablets (10"+) due to big screen and ability to display 1080p video. They also tend to have multiple large WiFi antennas with twice the range of a phone.

JanSt / MOD  Nov. 20, 2014 at 10:05

Usually WiFi speed is not a problem for a phone. Unless you are planning to stream high quality video over local wireless network there is nothing to worry about. Anything internet related is not fast enough to beat average WiFi speed. Note that YouTube usually defaults to 480p on the phone and rarely to 720p. There is never 1080p YouTube streaming on the phone. You have to manually force 1080p stream, but most people don't do it as you cannot tell a difference on 5-6" screen.

There are no public WiFi networks supporting 5Ghz, so unless you have a home router that supports 5Ghz band I don't see any advantage to have it. I also don't foresee any high demand for 5Ghz band in public places due to lower coverage. 5Ghz is faster than 2.4Ghz at expense of coverage range. I haven't encountered complains about WiFi speed, but there is plenty of issues with WiFi router being too far away, resulting in bad signal and slow speeds. Since phone antennas for WiFi are very small in bad coverage scenario phone will automatically change to 2.4Ghz, so 5Ghz doesn't really have any purpose for a phone.

5Ghz is good for laptops and tablets (10"+) due to big screen and ability to display 1080p video. They also tend to have multiple large WiFi antennas with twice the range of a phone.

arvy1  Nov. 20, 2014 at 23:08

I think that the main time you will notice the difference is when downloading large files/apps/updates but even then it will depend on your broadband router. I find it is hard to know which phones will give you better speeds but the major manufacturers are likely to impress here.

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