Debating Tri-Band Vs Dual-Band Routers: What are the Difference?

If you take the time to scour through the market, you will quickly discover that most home routers are simply dual-band. However, a change is afoot. Several tri-band routers have entered the market and there is a good chance that plenty more will follow behind them. When it comes to band options, most will immediately believe that more is better. Is this actually the case? Should you always opt for a tri-band?

The Basics Of Dual-Band Routers


First and foremost, you should learn a little more about dual-band routers. These routers are compatible with two frequency bands, 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz. With a dual-band router, it will be possible to switch from one band to the other based on your current needs. Most modern devices will be completely compatible with the 5 GHz Wi-Fi connection, but older devices may be required to switch with the 2.4 GHz band. With one of these routers, you’ll actually have two Wi-Fi networks running concurrently. This gives you the ability to optimize your service and use it more efficiently.

A dual-band router really gives you the ability to run what you need. This will be true for new and old devices. Also, it should be known that most dual-band routers will be able to support maximum speeds of 2,167 Mbps. Just remember that the speeds can vary from one router to the next.

Pros Of Dual-Band Routers

  • Usually much cheaper
  • Delivers good range
  • The connection is reliable and stable
  • Works with newer devices with 5 GHz compatibility

Cons Of Dual-Band Routers

  • 4 GHz band may experience a lot of interference
  • Speeds can change based on the number of devices connected at the given time

(Video) Intro to Dual-Band Routers: What are dual-band routers?

The Basics Of Tri-Band Routers

The first tri-band router was released to the public in 2014. At the time, the router claimed to offer maximum speeds of 3 Gbps or more. In reality, these speeds were far from accurate. The manufacturer was simply accounting for the signals’ speed outputs and not the actual speeds that the user would experience. As the name suggests, the tri-band router offers three signals. It’ll deliver a single 2.4 GHz and dual 5 GHz, bands. By having three bands at your disposal, you’ll have plenty more to play around with. In return, this can help decrease signal interference.

It’ll also allow you to use the faster 5 GHz band for resource-hogging devices. It should come as no surprise to learn that tri-band routers will cost much more than their dual-band competitors.

tri-band router
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Pros Of Tri-Band Routers

  • Far more bandwidth
  • Having more devices connected will usually not slow down Wi-Fi speeds
  • Possible to dedicate specific devices to a certain band
  • File transfers from devices to device are usually faster

Cons Of Tri-Band Routers

  • Tend to be much more expensive
  • Usually not necessary at this point in time
  • May not show a noticeable improvement in speeds

Speed Comparisons

Initially, most people will believe that tri-band routers will deliver far faster speeds. When you break down the numbers, you will see that this might not be true. With a dual-band router, you will typically receive a maximum of 450 Mbps on the 2.5 GHz band. When you switch to the 5 GHz band, you’ll get maximum speeds of 1,300 Mbps. With a tri-band router, you’ll generally be provided with 600 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz and 1,300 Mbps on each 5 GHz band.

When looking at the available routers, you will discover that most tri-band routers advertise speeds of 3,200 Mbps compared to the 2,167 Mbps provided by dual-band routers. This can be a bit misleading. The numbers definitely make it seem like the tri-band routers will deliver faster speeds, but this isn’t always the case. There isn’t a single device on the planet that is capable of utilizing thousands of megabits per second. At the same time, most Internet Service Providers do not offer these speeds.

At this point in time, router technologies are far more impressive than the technologies offered by most American ISPs. With this in mind, you should not judge your decision based on speeds alone. It is definitely accurate the tri-band routers can deliver faster speeds, but this will depend on how the device is actually used. Since you’ll have two 5 GHz bands, you’ll be able to spread the device across two bands. In return, this will greatly decrease congestion.

If you’re only using two or three devices concurrently, you might not even notice a major difference when switching from a dual-band router to a tri-band router. Therefore, most people may not even need to make the upgrade at this point in time.


Truly, dual-band and tri-band routers are both great. So, which one is right for you? It really depends on your specific needs. If you only use a few devices at home, you’ll likely be fine with a dual-band router. However, if you have five or more devices connected to your Wi-Fi simultaneously, you’ll probably want to make the upgrade. Tri-band routers will likely be the future, but most consumers will not be able to justify the extra cost at this point in time.

2 thoughts on “Debating Tri-Band Vs Dual-Band Routers: What are the Difference?”

  1. The Orbi tri-band router uses the third band ONLY as wireless backhaul between router and acces points (‘satelites’). Once you have decent cabling between router and ap’s, the third band is pretty useless (can’t beat a CAT6 cable with wireless, certainly not when going through walls …)


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