Problems with your 5 GHz network not working can appear in one of several different ways:
- You purchased a new router but your Windows computer can't connect to the 5 GHz Wi-Fi network.
- You've moved your laptop to a new location in the house and can't access the 5 GHz network anymore.
- After a Windows system update, you can't access your network unless you switch your network adapter back to 2.4 GHz.
- You've lost access to the 5 GHz Wi-Fi network but haven't changed anything at all.
As you can see, your 5 GHz network can stop working under many different conditions. This is because there are so many different potential causes for this problem to occur. This article will explain some steps to take to get it all working again.
Why Can't I Connect to My 5 GHz Wi-Fi Network?
5 GHz Wi-Fi networks experience less noise and interference from devices like microwaves or bluetooth devices. They also allow you to transfer data (including streaming video) faster, and the higher frequency uses less battery life on mobile devices like your Windows laptop.
Unfortunately, with those benefits come a number of drawbacks which can cause problems with accessing your 5 GHz Wi-Fi network. Your network adapter may not even support 5 GHz. It's also more sensitive to household obstacles like concrete walls or metal duct work. Windows or driver updates are also known to sometimes cause problems with accessing 5 GHz Wi-Fi networks.
How to Fix When a 5 GHz Network Isn't Working
This issue applies to all editions of Windows 10 and Windows 11. Some solutions such as router fixes or your distance from the router may also work for mobile devices such as Android or iOS.
Move your computer or laptop closer to the router. When it comes to 5 GHz signal range, distance is the limiting factor. So optimizing your Wi-Fi signal by getting as close to the router as possible is critical. Also consider correctly positioning your Wi-Fi router antennas for optimum signal range.
Ensure you haven’t accidentally disabled your Wi-Fi adapter. If it is disabled, walk through the steps to enable the Wi-Fi adapter. If it’s already enabled, then go through the process to reset your Wi-Fi adapter and see if you can then connect to your 5 GHz network.
Make sure you’re connecting your Wi-Fi adapter to 5 GHz. You can do this by first forgetting the network on Windows 10 or forgetting the network on Windows 11. Then, walk through the steps to connect to your Wi-Fi network and make sure to choose the 5 GHz network.
Make sure your Wi-Fi adapter is capable of connecting to 5 GHz networks. If your computer or laptop is older, it’s possible it can’t. If you don’t see an option to connect to the 5 GHz network during the step above to connect to the network, your adapter may not have that capability. If this is the case, you can try upgrading to a newer network adapter. If your Wi-Fi adapter is integrated with your motherboard (at this point almost all are), you can always buy a USB Wi-Fi network dongle. Look for “dual-band” adapters from well-known brands.
Make sure your router has the 5 GHz band enabled. To do this, you’ll need to connect to your router as an administrator. While you’re in the Wi-Fi settings, also check you’ve selected the best Wi-Fi channel for the 5 GHz network. Choosing the right channel can often resolve any interference problems you may be experiencing from other devices using the same channel.
If you haven’t updated your network adapter driver in a while, that outdated driver could cause issues with accessing your 5 GHz network. Try updating your Wi-Fi adapter drivers. If Windows can’t find the latest driver, try downloading and installing it from the manufacturer’s website. You could also try using free driver updater tools.
If you recently updated your Wi-Fi adapter driver right before the problem started, try rolling back that driver update to see if you can then connect to your 5 GHz network again.
- How do I connect 2.4 GHz devices to a 5 GHz network?
You can't connect a 2.4 GHz device to a 5 GHz network, but depending on your router, you can work around this limitation. Log in to your router by entering 192.168.1.1 in your web browser. If your hardware can broadcast both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, you can create a wireless network for the lower frequency. Then, you can connect your 2.4 GHz device to the new network.
- How do I know if my network is 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz?
If you're setting up your network for the first time, the default ID may contain the frequency. Look for something like "5G" or "2.4GHz" at the end of the name. Otherwise, log in to your router and find an entry like "Wireless Network Status," which will list the frequency of your network.