A study of 43 devices conducted by Enex for the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has "unexpectedly" shown 5GHz Wi-Fi outperforming 2.4GHz in long-range testing, negating a major reason to continue using the slower 2.4GHz band.
"The 2.4GHz band is often promoted as a better choice for longer range communications," Enex said in its report. "However, Enex's findings did not support this. Operating in the 5GHz band appears to be the best choice for consumers under all circumstances."
"The 5GHz band also has the benefit of more recent technology developments which includes features such as directional beamforming and MU/MIMO (with up to eight antennas and multiuser sub-channels)."
The test also found 30% of modems could not hit 100Mbps on 2.4GHz at a range of 5 metres.
"This would most likely result in a consumer being unable to reach the performance capability of a typical NBN 100/40 FTTN/B service using a Wi-Fi connection," Enex said.
Once walls were put in the way, 26% of devices could hit 10Mbps on 2.4GHz, while 40% could achieve a data rate over 80Mbps using 5GHz.
Enex found a signal strength difference of over 20dB between the two Wi-Fi bands in some devices, with 5GHz having the stronger signal, which it said could be the reason for 5GHz performing so well.
"The new speed tier recognises that most residential customers download far more than they upload and a new product that prioritises download with an associated new wholesale bundle discount may help them to avoid paying a price premium for relatively high upload speeds that most customers do not use or require," the company said in a statement.