How to use Nest products with 2.4 and 5 GHz Wi-Fi networks

Nest products need Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet. There are two frequency bands used for Wi-Fi communication: 2.4 and 5 GHz. Many modern routers can broadcast on both bands. Some Nest products only use the 2.4 GHz band, while others can use either band.

To use or troubleshoot Nest products, you don’t need to be a Wi-Fi expert. You just need to know which band your Wi-Fi network is using, and whether it works with your Nest products. We’ll help you find this information, and troubleshoot any problems you may be having with either band.

Learn about 2.4GHz, 5GHz and dual brand routers

A Wi-Fi router provides the wireless network that allows your devices to connect to the internet. Each network uses the 2.4GHz band, the 5GHz band, or both. It doesn’t matter whether you have cable internet, DSL, or another type of internet service; your Wi-Fi router will use one (or two) of the bands to provide your wireless connection.

Dual band routers can broadcast on both bands, while single band routers can only broadcast on one band (usually the more common 2.4GHz band).

If you’re not sure whether your router is
dual band, you can look up its model
number on the manufacturer’s website.
Some routers even have “dual band”
written on the router itself or on the
packaging that it came in.

You could also take a look at the name
(SSIDs) of any Wi-Fi networks you use.
Your router may be providing two
networks, with slightly different names,
confirming that you have a dual band router.

network names and passwords

But a dual band router doesn’t always have to provide two networks, so seeing only one network doesn’t necessarily mean your router is single band. Check the manual to be sure, and if your router is dual band, the manual will have instructions to set up Wi-Fi on both bands.

How to tell wether a dual band router's network is 2.4GHz, 5GHz or both

A dual band router has two different ways of using the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. It can either broadcast separate Wi-Fi networks for each band, or it can broadcast one Wi-Fi network that uses both bands. So, when you’re setting up your Nest product with the Nest app, you might see two Wi-Fi networks, or only one.

If you see two networks, you’ll need a way to be able to tell which bands they’re using. Sometimes, you can tell just by looking. When you first set up Wi-Fi in your home, you may have named your Wi-Fi something like “HappyHome.” A dual band router might create two Wi-Fi networks named “HappyHome,” with numbers to indicate which band each one uses: 5, 5G, or 5GHz, and 2, 2.4, or 2.4GHz. So you may see HappyHome5 and HappyHome2 in the list of available networks, and it’s clear which band each one uses.

If the name of the network doesn’t give you a clue about the band (or bands) it’s using, you’ll need to go to your router’s settings and see for yourself. If you’re not familiar with router configuration, you might want to get some help from the person or internet service provider that originally set up Wi-Fi in your home.

And of course, if you have a single band router, it will only broadcast on the one band it’s capable of using -- most likely the 2.4GHz band. But check your router’s manual to be sure.

Which Nest products work with 2.4GHz or 5GHz bands

Nest products (and most Wi-Fi products) only connect to one Wi-Fi network at a time, whether that network uses the 2.4GHz band, the 5GHz band, or both.

If you have a dual band router that’s broadcasting on both bands, Nest products should work fine with it. However, some Nest products only work with the 2.4GHz band. When you’re setting up one of these products with the Nest app, you won’t see any networks that only use the 5GHz band; the Nest app knows they’re not compatible, so it won’t display them.

Note: Note: If you can’t see your home Wi-Fi in the list of available networks in the Nest app, make sure you’re not trying to set up a 2.4GHz-only Nest product on a 5GHz-only network. But many other factors can prevent a Wi-Fi network from appearing in the Nest app, so if you’ve ruled out the 5GHz band, try the other suggestions in our Wi-Fi troubleshooting article.

Here’s a list of Nest products and which bands they work with:

Nest Thermostats

 

 

 

2.4GHz

5GHz

1st and 2nd gen Nest Learning Thermostat

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3rd gen Nest Learning Thermostat
Nest Thermostat E

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Nest Protect

 

 

 

2.4GHz

5GHz

1st and 2nd gen Nest Protect

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Nest cameras

 

 

 

2.4GHz

5GHz

Nest Cam IQ Indoor
Nest Cam Indoor
Dropcam Pro

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Nest Cam IQ Outdoor
Nest Cam Outdoor

 
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US and Mexico:
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Rest of world:
5GHz not supported

Dropcam HD / 
Dropcam

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Nest video doorbells

 

 

 

2.4GHz

5GHz

Nest Hello

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US:
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Rest of world:
5GHz not supported

Note: In the United States and Mexico, Nest’s outdoor cameras can use the 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands. In the rest of the world, these cameras are regulated as outdoor Wi-Fi products, which means they can’t use some of the 5GHz bands. So we designed them to only use the 2.4GHz band.

How can I tell which Nest Learning Thermostat I have? >

How can I tell which Nest Protect I have? >

Choosing the right band for your needs

If you’re not having issues with your Wi-Fi connection, there’s no reason to change the network your Nest product is connected to.

But if you need to, you can try switching to a different band. In order to do this, both of the following must be true:

  • You have a dual band router that’s broadcasting separate networks for the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. You won’t be able to easily switch bands if your router is broadcasting one network that uses both bands.
  • Your Nest product supports both bands. See the table above to confirm.

If your Wi-Fi network and Nest product fit these criteria, use the information below to choose the right band for your needs.

You can also try experimenting with both bands to see if one gives you better performance.

Advantages and disadvantages of 2.4GHz

Even though it’s been around for a long time, the 2.4GHz frequency works well with modern devices. A 2.4GHz network connection won’t necessarily be slower than a 5GHz connection, as long as you don’t have a lot of devices using it all at once.

In fact, a 2.4GHz network can be the better choice. 2.4GHz signals travel farther, so they cover a larger area, and they can travel through solid objects more easily.

Try switching your Nest product to a 2.4GHz network if:

  • Your Nest product is installed far away from your router, or you’re having problems with a weak connection to your 5GHz network.
  • There are a lot of physical obstacles, like walls, appliances and furniture, between your Nest product and the router.

On the other hand, the 2.4GHz band tends to be crowded because many household devices use it — not just Wi-Fi devices. This causes interference that can slow or even stop Wi-Fi traffic on the band.

You might not want to connect your Nest product to a 2.4GHz network if:

  • You have other Wi-Fi devices connected to your 2.4GHz network, and they’re all using it at once.
  • You’re getting a weak signal due to interference from household devices like cordless phones, baby monitors, microwaves, and wireless speakers. An easy way to tell if there’s interference is to turn these devices on or off, and see what happens to your Nest product’s wireless connection

Advantages and disadvantages of 5GHz

The 5GHz band was developed for Wi-Fi more recently. As a result, it’s less likely to be crowded by older products. If you have a lot of Wi-Fi devices using your network all at once, the 5GHz band can also offer higher data transfer speeds since more data can “fit” into the signal.

Try switching your Nest product to a 5GHz network if:

  • There are several other Wi-Fi devices using your 2.4GHz network at once.
  • You’re experiencing wireless interference from other devices (cordless phones, baby monitors, microwaves, wireless speakers).

However, just because 5GHz is a higher number doesn’t mean it’s better all-around. A 5GHz network has a shorter range, so it’s not as useful for devices trying to connect from afar. 5GHz signals also don’t go through walls or other obstacles as well.

You might not want to connect your Nest product to a 5GHz network if:

  • Your Nest product is located far away from your router.
  • There are a lot of physical obstacles, like walls, appliances and furniture, between your Nest product and the router. 

How to switch your Nest product to a different band

When you’re setting up each Nest product for the first time, you’ll choose a Wi-Fi network with the Nest app. If you haven’t already done this, you can use the information above to pick the network and band that’s right for you.

If you’ve already set up your Nest product and you want to switch networks, follow the same steps you would when anything changes with your Wi-Fi connection:

  1. On the Nest app home screen, select the Settings icon (shaped like a gear) at the top right.
  2. Tap Home info app home icon.
  3. Tap Home Wi-Fi help.
  4. Find the Nest product you want to update and tap Start.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions. If you have a Nest Cam or Nest Hello, be sure you’re in the same area as your camera so your phone or tablet can communicate directly with your camera.

If you have a Dropcam HD, you’ll need to set up your camera with a Mac or Windows PCinstead.

Note: If you have a dual band router that’s broadcasting a single network on both bands, you won’t be able to switch your Nest product to a different band; your product automatically chooses which band to use.

Important: If your Nest product does not support the 5GHz band, you won’t see any 5GHz-only networks in the list of available Wi-Fi networks. Only the networks that use the 2.4GHz band will show up for your product, so you don’t need to worry about accidentally picking the wrong one.

Differences between 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands in other countries

Different countries have different standards for Wi-Fi, including the channels allowed within each band. You may run into problems if you mix and match Wi-Fi devices and routers from different countries — even if the band is listed as compatible. We recommend only using Wi-Fi devices, including Nest products, with routers purchased in the same country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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