Tri-band routers are among the fastest and most expensive on the market today. But what explains the price and the promise of superior performance of this type of technology, compared to equipment with dual-band networks, still quite popular? Next, you’ll understand what the term tri-band means, what are the advantages and limits of routers of this type, and find out whether investing heavier on a model equipped with support for three simultaneous Wi-Fi networks makes sense to your reality, and pocket.
Before the tri-band, the dual-band
To understand what tri-band routers are, and understand where the advantage is in such a device, you need to know the dual-band technology.
In summary, the term dual-band refers to the device’s ability to distribute wireless Internet signal on two different frequencies: 2.4 GHz, older, slower, but greater coverage; and the latest and fast 5 GHz signal, ideal for newer handsets that support Wi-Fi 802.11 bgn.
A dual-band router can operate in both frequency bands at the same time, increasing compatibility, since it will serve older equipment, restricted to 2.4 GHz; but will also have higher performance for newer devices, supporting faster 5 GHz networks.
In summary, a dual-band router works by running two simultaneous wireless networks: one at 2.4 GHz and the other at 5 GHz.
So does tri-band mean a new frequency?
It may seem logical that if dual-band represents routers running 2.4 and 5 GHz, a tri-band device has a third signal frequency range. But it’s not really that way.
A tri-band router works only with both 2.4 and 5 GHz frequencies. The name “tri-band” comes from the fact that this type of router provides three networks at the same time: one of 2.4 and two of 5 GHz.
What is the advantage of tri-band?
Tri-band routers have the advantage, in comparison with other technologies, for better performance due to more efficient network management. First, the provision of three simultaneous networks ensures that connected devices do not encounter as much bottling.
Environments with numerous Wi-Fi networks, such as a densely populated area, can cause connection noise and slow down performance due to the tumultuous spectrum of dozens of different signals.
With the availability of two simultaneous 5 GHz networks, these types of routers can lessen this type of problem by allocating their devices more efficiently between these two high-performance networks.
Is a tri-band router faster than a dual-band router?
Regardless of the distribution pattern of networks, whether dual or tri-band, there are transfer limits that are imposed on routers. 2.4 GHz networks can reach a maximum of 600 Mbps (megabits per second), while 5 GHz networks theoretically reach a maximum of 1,300 Mbps of speed.
Moreover, these values are theoretical peaks which, under normal conditions of use, are almost irreproducible. Although your router and computer can communicate at 1,300 Mbps per second, in practice, you will never reach that speed.
Because these ceilings are independent of the type of router, dual or tri-band, the question arises: is there a difference in speed in favor of tri-band?
The answer is that, in general, tri-band routers offer better performance because they manage their wireless network more efficiently. In addition to reducing speed loss caused by a busy spectrum around their home or office, these routers allocate devices more intelligently within each of the three concurrent networks.
The result of this more precise control is that your devices end up operating more efficiently within the network. This reality is even more noticeable if you usually have a lot of handsets within the same network at the same time. However, if your router is in the service of a computer and a cell phone most of the time, and from time to time other devices, the advantages of tri-band end up decreasing.
Price and resource differences
Tri-band routers are more expensive and currently end up targeting the more premium lines of manufacturers. In Brazil, brands such as TP-Link , D-Link , Asus and Linksys market products with these characteristics.
In terms of price range, models can be found around R $ 350, although there are units with prices that go well above R $ 1,000. In general, the difference between these products is in the speed supply (although, as we have seen, the limits are 600 and 1,300 Mbps, there are tri-band models that arrive with smaller speeds, in 450 and 750 Mbps, for example) and performance due to the ability to manage devices connected to three networks simultaneously.
Other features of these routers may be associated with even more aggressive security and performance tuning, aimed primarily at gamers.