Though it’s been around since about 1999, the 5 GHz band of Wi-Fi has become increasingly popular more so in the years following 2009 when home networks were first becoming popular.
5 GHz Wi-fi is a short-range, but high-speed band of Wi-Fi, and is often praised as being the best band to connect your devices to because of such. Faster speeds mean faster downloads, uploads, and even gaming.
Most Wi-Fi routers nowadays work on dual bands, broadcasting both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi signals, giving people the option of using one or the other for their devices. Some of these devices include smart home cameras, such as Ring cams.
Many Ring users then became curious as to how 5 GHz internet would or could affect their cameras. Is using the 5 GHz band of Wi-Fi beneficial, or even possible for your Ring smart cameras?
What Are Ring Cameras?
Ring cameras are one of the most popular smart home cameras on the market today. Though they come at a slightly higher price tag than the competition, averaging out at about $100 for products such as their Ring Indoor/Outdoor Stick-Up Cam, they still take the lead in the smart home security sector.
Their product line of cameras includes such items as their versatile Indoor and Outdoor Stick-Up Cams, available in both battery-powered and wired versions. They also have a variety of Ring Video Doorbells, including one wired version, as well as the PoE (Power over Ethernet) version, the Ring Doorbell Elite.
With the exception of the Ring Doorbell Elite, which connects via an Ethernet cable, Ring cameras and video doorbells work using an active Wi-Fi connection in order to connect to the Ring app. This is where you control its various settings such as Motion Zones (where your camera detects motion) as well as how and when to receive Motion Alert. This is also where you view any recordings.
Using a Wi-Fi connection also enables your Ring cameras to connect to any smart home hubs you may be using, such as Amazon’s Echo.
If you happen to take any of your Ring devices when you travel, you also have the option of connecting your Ring cameras to your mobile phone’s hotspot for continued protection wherever you go.
Pros and Cons of 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi for Smart Cameras
Smart cameras are more popular than ever today – and so is 5 GHz internet. Why?
The most notable feature is that it’s faster. Faster speeds mean you get your video footage faster and more clearly. It also means that there is less congestion, as not as many people use the 5 GHz band, nor do as many devices support it as they do the more traditional 2.4 GHz.
However, 5 GHz internet is not without its downsides. Its most notable flaw is it has a shorter range, so any devices connecting to it would need to be within about 50 feet, or 15 meters, of the router.
It also doesn’t penetrate obstructions as well as 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi. So not only should your devices be closer to the router, but the path of the signal needs to have as few obstructions as possible in order to be the most effective.
When it comes to 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, because it’s been around much longer, more devices and manufacturers support connection. It also has greater range than the 5 GHz band so your devices don’t have to be as close to the router in order to connect.
It’s also better at penetrating obstructions such as walls or floors if you happen to be in a home with more than one floor.
But of course, there are also downsides to using the 2.4 GHz band. First off, it isn’t as fast as the 5 GHz band. Because everyone is using it, their channels tend to be more congested, resulting in slower speeds for your devices.
As with many other things, there are pros and cons to both bands of Wi-Fi. Which one you use depends upon your needs, your home, the space you have, and whether your devices can even connect to the 5 GHz band of Wi-Fi in the first place.
Ring Products that Support 5GHz
While 5 GHz (and 6 GHz) Wi-Fi may be the wave of the future, Ring has a little catching up to do. How so?
A majority of their smart home cameras support only the 2.4 GHz band of Wi-Fi – and they make sure to let you know this in many of their Support forums. This means that even if you were to try and set them up on the 5 GHz band, it would most likely fail.
If you want to know whether your Ring camera, or one you plan to buy, supports the 5 GHz band of Wi-Fi, first visit the product page on Ring.com. Scroll down to the section where you can view the device Tech Specifications, then look under the section entitled, ‘Power and Connectivity’. There, under ‘Connectivity’ it will indicate which bands of Wi-Fi that that particular device supports.
Some of the most common Ring devices that many people own, such as the Ring Doorbell 1 and 2, as well as Ring’s Indoor cams, do not support the 5 GHz band of Wi-Fi.
If you want dual-band support, however, some of Ring’s newer devices do support it. You’ll find luck with devices such as:
- Ring Video Doorbell 3 and 4 (the battery models)
- the Ring Doorbell Pro 1 and 2
- the Ring Doorbell Elite (this is PoE, but it also supports Wi-Fi if you’d prefer)
- the Floodlight Cam Wired Pro also provides support for 5 GHz Wi-Fi.
Being some of their newer devices support 5 GHz, it’s likely that Ring will continue to incorporate the ability to support the 5 GHz band going forward in any non-budget devices they produce from here on out. There is as of yet no word on whether Ring will retrofit older devices with the ability to support 5 GHz bands via a software update or other – but it seems very unlikely.
If 5 GHz support is necessary for you, you’ll be better off purchasing a new Ring camera or doorbell unfortunately.
Can you ‘force’ your Ring Device to a specific band?
If you have one of the Ring devices that actually supports the 5 GHz band of Wi-Fi, this is relatively simple. When it comes to setting up your device, you’ll be prompted to choose which Wi-Fi network you want to connect to.
Most routers broadcast both the 2.4 and 5 GHz Wi-Fi signals, so set up should be as easy as choosing it from the list of available networks.
From there, you can set up your cameras as normal. Because they are typically two different signals, it’s unlikely that your Ring camera will default or switch over to the 2.4 GHz signal.
However a problem occurs when a Wi-Fi router publishes a single SSID (network name) for both Wi-Fi bands. In this case, there’s little you can do to force your Ring device to connect to one of the other, unfortunately. Your only real ‘options’ are:
- Some routers allow you to log into the admin console, and change the Wi-Fi band that a device is connected on. Unfortunately, this functionality is the exception not the rule.
- You could try disabling 5 GHz Wi-Fi on your router (again, within the admin console), and then restarting the router. This will force all your devices to connect to 2.4 GHz. Of course, the downside here is that you won’t get 5 GHz Wi-Fi back until you re-enable it – and then your Ring devices might just connect back to the 5 GHz band.
Some users try to ‘force’ the issue by trying to connect their Ring devices that don’t support the 5 GHz band to accept it. Unfortunately, even Ring says, it won’t work.
Though it’s not the same, if your mobile device uses a 5G network, you should be able to connect your Ring devices to a mobile hotspot. However, depending on your carrier and plan, this may incur unnecessary charges, and may not be as practical as using Wi-Fi – unless you’re away from home with your devices.
Why Changing Your Wi-Fi Channel might be more beneficial
Changing the channel on your Wi-Fi may be more beneficial than trying to force your cameras to run on the 5 GHz Wi-Fi band, especially if you have cameras that only work with the 2.4 GHz band.
While there are many channels on the 2.4 GHz band of Wi-Fi, the most recommended are 1, 6, and 11. Why? Of the just about 14 channels there are, these are the only ones that don’t overlap, and thereby have the least amount of interference. The lack of interference from other channels will help with speeds.
Many ISPs already have a channel chosen for your Wi-Fi router. Depending on who your service provider is, there may be a few steps you have to take in order to change the channel.
For those using a router via their ISP, you would have to log in to your provider’s site, then view your Wi-Fi connection settings. From there, you can see what channel your Wi-Fi bands are using, as well as see what options there are to change it.
If you have purchased your own router, you would log into your router, and from there be able to view what channel your Wi-Fi is running on, and change it.
Changing your Wi-Fi channel to one that’s less congested often improves speeds better than upgrading your internet – and saves you money too!
5 GHz isn’t for everyone – yet
While it is increasingly popular, 5 GHz Wi-Fi hasn’t garnered itself full universal use just yet. Because of its albeit few, limitations, all manufacturers haven’t gotten to the point of using it for all of their devices as of yet.
As technology continues to advance and improve, it’s likely, however, that this will eventually change.