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Looking to buy a Tri-Band Router but not sure if it’s worth the extra money? Well, a lot of people are in the same boat as yours and in this knowledge base article, we intend to provide you with all the information related to the tri-band technology.
What is a Tri-Band Router?
While a dual-band router broadcasts signals in a 2.4GHz and a 5GHz WiFi frequency band, a Tri-band router, as the name suggests, broadcast three different signals simultaneously. Instead of broadcasting a third different WiFi frequency though, a tri-band router broadcasts a single 2.4GHz signal and two 5GHz signals.
Now, the question arises, why do you need two separate 5GHz WiFi frequency bands? The simple answer is, to avoid congestion.
The theoretical maximum speeds offered by a WiFi router are shared across all the devices in your network. So, for example, if you are streaming 4K videos on Netflix, the overall WiFi speed will reduce in your network and your dad trying to download a large PowerPoint presentation in the other room might experience some slowness. This is a classic example of WiFi network congestion.
A tri-band router hosts two different 5GHz wireless networks. As a result, the end-user devices (devices connected to your WiFi network) are automatically split into different networks. This results in better utilization of bandwidth since all your devices get more speed to share amongst them.
The thing to note is, this will not speed up a single device since that device will only be connected to a single network at a time, however, the speed offered to the other devices that you connect in the network will be more.
Dual-band vs Tri-Band Router
Theoretically speaking, a dual-band router offers speeds up to 450 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and up to 1300 Mbps on the 5GHz band. Due to this reason, these dual-band routers are labeled as AC1750 class routers – 1750 is the sum of the maximum speeds offered on the 2.4GHz and the 5GHz band. Netgear AC1750 is an example of a dual-band router.
Again, some routers offer a speed up to 600 Mbps on the 2.4GHz network and up to 1300 Mbps on the 5GHz network. These routers are labeled as AC1900 class routers.
This might appear misleading though, as a single device cannot get speeds up to 1750 Mbps or 1900 Mbps for that matter. These are just theoretical numbers. Since a device will be connected to only one WiFi frequency band at a point in time, it will get speeds up to 450 or 600 Mbps, when connected to the 2.4GHz band and speeds up to 1300 or 1900 Mbps when connected to the 5GHz band.
Now, the same theoretical concept applies to a tri-band router. These routers are labeled as AC3200 class routers. Theoretically, the maximum speed offered on the 2.4GHz band is 600 Mbps and 1300 Mbps on the two 5GHz bands – so that’s 600+1300+1300, equals 3200.
As pointed out earlier, the maximum speed for an individual device will still be 1300 Mbps, however when you connect more number of devices, each of them will be distributed across the two 5GHz and the 2.4GHz network, which means each device will get more WiFi speed than it would have originally got in a dual-band router.
Will a Tri-Band Router Speed Up My WiFi?
The simple answer is yes, it will improve the WiFi speed for each device if you are using multiple devices. If you are using a single device, you won’t see any difference.
The reason being, since a tri-band router has a 2.4GHz and two 5GHz networks, all of your devices are split across these three networks. So, if you are running devices simultaneously that require high bandwidth, they will automatically be split between the 5GHz network, thereby reducing interference between the devices and offering each one faster WiFi speeds.
If you do not use multiple devices simultaneously, it doesn’t make sense for you to invest in a tri-band router. A dual-band router will suffice. Moreover, most of our readers complain that modern WiFi standards are anyway faster than the internet speed provided by their ISP (Internet Service Provider).
If you have multiple devices, and if you are used to a lot of bandwidth-intensive usage on your multiple devices, a tri-band router makes more sense for you and you shouldn’t mind spending that extra money for it.
Best Tri-Band Router in 2020
We ran numerous tests for our best long-range WiFi router post, and Linksys EA9500 Max-Stream AC5400 surfaced as a clear winner as the best tri-band router.
Little on the pricey side, the Linksys Max-Stream AC5400 is one of the best WiFi routers available in the market today. This tri-band wifi router provides seamless WiFi coverage in a 3000 sq ft house. Moreover, you can connect up to 25 devices simultaneously.