What Benefits Does Dual 5 GHz Bring To 802.11ax?

Last week we discussed the 4×4:4 vs 8×8:8 debate with 802.11ax. This week I want to wrap up that debate and also highlight the benefits of dual 5 GHz support in 802.11ax APs.

The Aerohive 802.11ax chipset provides for a 2.4 GHz (4×4:4) radio and a 5 GHz (4×4:4) radio. However, one of the radios is dual-frequency meaning you can have two dual-5 GHz 802.11ax (4×4:4) radios in a single AP. Two dual 5 GHz 802.11ax (4×4:4) radios transmitting on two separate 5 GHz channels will provide better performance and efficiency. The competitor’s AP will transmit on a single 5 GHz channel using an 8×8:8 radio and a 2.4 GHz channel using a 4×4:4 radio. The Aerohive AP650 and AP650X will both have dual 5 GHz capability. And with 80% of shipping clients being 5 GHz capable it is common sense (best practice) to deploy APs with the ability to match the network requirements vs being locked in a 50/50 environment where the only solution available to avoid CCI is to disable some of those brand new 2.4 GHz 11ax radios, which is never a best practice.

Additionally, one of the driving factors contributing to Wi-Fi performance will be the expansion of IoT, and 8×8:8 MU-MIMO does not help in this arena. IoT devices send data in short intervals and with low bandwidth requirements. The main benefit of 802.11ax for IoT devices will instead be from the Target Wake Time (TWT) capabilities of 802.11ax that will help preserve battery life for IoT Devices.

Which is better, MU-OFDMA or MU-MIMO?

If all things were equal, a quick comparison of potential benefits from each technology:

Increased efficiency and network capacity Increased capacity
Reduced latency Higher speeds per user
Best for low & medium bandwidth applications Best for high bandwidth applications
Best for medium and high-density deployments Best for low density deployments


If the use case is a small number of clients and very high bandwidth requirements MU-MIMO wins – this is a corner case at best – think several gamers in a room.

If the use case is large numbers of clients with mixed bandwidth requirements MU-OFDMA wins – this is the world we live in today and will continue to expand.



Alexandra Gates is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Aerohive Networks, where she helps define market strategy and vision for the cloud and WLAN products. She is a CWNA with a comprehensive background in wireless technology, including capacity and management planning, RF design, network implementation, and general industry knowledge.

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