The 2.4GHz wireless band supports wireless B, G, and N standards. This means that most devices, even older ones, will be able to connect and surf over the 2.4GHz network.
Typically, wireless on the 2.4GHz spectrum will penetrate walls and achieve a more stable connection over longer distances than wireless on 5GHz. Although 2.4GHz is compatible with more devices and can get better range, it does have some drawbacks:
- While theoretical speeds can be up to 150Mbp/s, real life speeds tend to max out at around 50-60Mbp/s (interference, distance and number of antennae also play a role in max achievable speeds)
- More likely to experience interference as the increased range leads to more overlap with neighboring networks
- Many other wireless devices also congest the 2.4GHz band (cordless phones, baby monitors, etc)
The 5GHz band supports wireless N and AC standards. Typically, 5GHz will provide a faster and more reliable connection than 2.4GHz, especially when operating in an environment with any considerable amount of 2.4GHz congestion. While wireless on the 5GHz spectrum yields superior performance given the right circumstances, it also has it's limitations:
- While theoretical speeds can be up to 433Mbp/s, real life speeds tend to max out at around 300Mbp/s (interference, distance and number of antennae also play a role in max achievable speeds)
- Stability and speed drop considerably given distance and walls
- Only newer devices with 5GHz networking cards will be able to see and connect to 5GHz
Both 2.4GHz and 5GHz will broadcast simultaneously on the Pace 5268AC and the SmartRG SR515ac, allowing you to switch between the two networks without much trouble. This will allow you to test signal strength and stability of both channels in different locations you will be accessing the network from and choose the best network as the default.
The key points to take away are that 5GHz tends to suffer less from interference of other networks, but suffers from distance and walls. 2.4GHz is more prone to interference from other networks, but can provide more stable connection at longer distances.