Band Steering – brief definition
Band Steering helps end devices, that can send and receive data on both the 2.4 and 5 GHz frequencies in the home network, to make the right choice between the wireless networks depending on the situation.
Wi-Fi devices that can use multiple frequency bands (e.g., 2.4 and 5 GHz) decide independently through which frequency they establish the connection. In doing so, however, Wi-Fi devices do not always make an optimal decision. Band Steering supports this decision-making process.
What is Band Steering?
Band Steering monitors and organizes the frequency band allocation within a Wi-Fi network. This is especially important in cluttered network environments where many users and different end devices are active – within an apartment building, for example.
Band steering automatically assigns all Wi-Fi clients to their optimal wireless network. It takes into account the technical characteristics of the respective end device as well as its distance from the nearest access point.
The result: Data can be transmitted more efficiently via band steering. This applies to the smart TV at home, which regularly has to transmit data-intensive 4K streams. It also applies to the small smart home device that only sporadically exchanges tiny amounts of data and may be more dependent on high range.
Wi-Fi frequency band: 2.4 or 5 GHz?
Most (especially older) end devices transmit via the 2.4 GHz frequency. The huge advantage: This frequency is of comparatively high range, since low frequencies can penetrate thick walls, metallic objects and other potential obstacles more easily.
However, this network only provides few channels that have to be shared by numerous Wi-Fi clients. On top of that, Bluetooth devices, cordless phones and other household objects also transmit in between. For this reason, the 2.4 GHz frequency band tends to be more susceptible to overload.
The newer 5 GHz frequency band meanwhile can transport significantly larger volumes of data due to its greater number of available channels. At the same time, it is not as susceptible to interference because fewer end devices use this frequency band. This makes it ideally suited for data-intensive applications – which should, however, take place in the vicinity of the router or access point. This is because the 5 GHz band is of much shorter range than the 2.4 GHz band.
Band Steering encourages as many end devices as possible to make use of the 5 GHz frequency band and relieve the 2.4 GHz band. The result is efficiently distributed data traffic within the home network, where each end device seeks out the data highway that will get its data to its destination as quickly as possible.
The user's advantage: Band Steering automatically establishes the optimal Wi-Fi reception and eliminates annoying manual channel search to improve performance.
How to activate and use Band Steering
For devolo products that support Band Steering, this feature is enabled by default. In order to fully take advantage of automatic band assignment, all you need is
- Dual band capable end devices that can transmit on both the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands.
- one or more access points – ideally in the form of an intelligent mesh network – that can handle Band Steering.