In today’s world, smart devices and connected IoT devices are everywhere in every home. With all these devices connected on one network, it can get difficult to ensure a smooth online experience while streaming, gaming, and video-calling all under the same roof.
What is Band Steering?
Band steering is a cable modem router feature that automatically moves your devices from the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz network bands based on usage, speed, coverage, and distance. This is a feature that you can turn on and off, but the payoff of having it on is better WiFi and Internet. Multi-User, Multi-Input, Multi-Out (MU-MIMO) also leverages band steering and is supported on WiFi 6.
Band Steering Explained
Band steering is a feature that can help slow WiFi issues. Most cable modems or cable modem routers come with two main frequency bands which are 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Often, devices slow way down on the 2.4 GHz band, especially if every device on your network is trying to connect to it. You can manually switch over devices to the faster 5 GHz band, but with band steering built in, your cable modem router can do this for you. A router that supports band steering considers all the connected devices and decides which to send to different frequency channels to efficiently maintain your WiFi network performance based on each device’s use, speed, your network coverage, and the distance your devices are from your cable modem router.
Why Band Steering Matters: it shifts devices from one band to the other to help move heavy-bandwidth devices to different channels to avoid congestion on the network.
So, is Band Steering Worth It?
The answer to this is a bit nuanced. But ultimately, we say yes. There are no downsides to enabling band steering, but there are things to know.
- Idle or new client devices may be band-steered.
- Any of your devices previously associated with the 2.4 GHz band might not be steered even with band steering enabling. If this happens, try manually un-associating the device(s) from the 2.4GHz band.
- Some basic Band steering technology doesn’t consider your habits with gaming, video streaming, or browsing web pages. So, it cannot provide solutions tailored to the need for speed on these devices. Look for Intelligent Band steering that uses Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning, typically enabled by a WiFi Management app like MyHitron+.
Band steering is a convenient tool and the power to turn it on and off is in your hands.
Want more information on Band steering, MU-MIMO, and other WiFi boosting resources? Check out Hitron’s Learn Page for more