Last week Apple dominated tech headlines when it announced details of the iPhone 5. With its release today, thousands of fans will line up across the globe to be the first to try the new smartphone.
There have been a number of iPhone improvements, but the one I find significant is the fact that the iPhone 5 will have dual band Wi-Fi. This means that in addition to supporting the 2.4GHz band, it will now support the 5GHz band. Why is this significant? Well, the iPhone joins a number of other smartphone vendors who now have products capable of operating in both the 802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz) and 802,11a/n (5GHz) Wi-Fi bands. Other vendors that stack up include Samsung’s Galaxy S III and HTC’s One X.
Why is this 5GHz important? There is certainly nothing wrong with the 2.4GHz band. Both bands are unlicensed in most regions of the world. However, with the proliferation of devices due to the growing BYOD trend, the 2.4GHz band is getting real crowded. Remember: the 2.4GHz band only has 3 non-overlapping channels available. Think about it: all these devices like smartphones, laptops, tablets, and access points are competing for the available bandwidth while interference increases. In short, the 2.4GHz band just doesn’t have enough capacity for all these competing devices.