Why Your Laptop Can't Detect 5GHz


When I was looking for a replacement for my decade old HP Pavilion laptop last January, I was only concerned with the CPU, the memory, the resolution, the size, and more importantly the weight. I'm not a techie person so my understanding of the technical aspects is limited. My husband suggested that I consider buying a Dell laptop (he's a Dell user) because he knows I will be benefiting a lot from their Premium Support Services. He is right. They are very helpful especially to people like me.

Yesterday, I had my PLDT Fibr connection installed. It's working great on my iPad Mini 4 and Sony Xperia phone. It was only today that I decided to work after two weeks of bumming (because of PLDT internet issues that is worthy of a lengthy article). I was so excited to try the 20mbps connection but to my surprise my laptop cannot detect the 5GHz.

    My Dell Inspiron 11 3000 Series 

I recalled that when I was at WeCube PH co-working space last week, I also wasn't able to connect to their 5GHz wifi. So I called up Dell this morning and we tried to find out what's wrong only to realize that my laptop's network adapter doesn't support 5GHz. If you could only hear how our voices sounded when we were about to end the call. Kinda sad. Defeated. 

But I learned something.

Here's what you should consider when buying a new gadget. 

802.11g and 802.11n network modes adapter can only support 2.4GHz network capability.

802.11g, 802.11n and 802.11b network modes can only support 2.4GHz network capability.

802.11a and 802.11g and 802.11n network modes has both 5GHz and 2.4GHz network capability.

I googled for more answers...

802.11a, 802.11n and 802.11ac all work on 5GHz, but with 802.11n it's optional. This means that as most current routers are 802.11n models, you will probably need to find out if yours has a 5GHz radio in addition to the more common 2.4GHz one.
Not all routers can use both frequencies simultaneously, so if yours can't it's entirely possible that you won't be able to use 5GHz at all. The reason being that if even one of your Wi-Fi devices doesn't support 5GHz (many don't), it won't be able to communicate with your router when you set it to 5GHz. (http://www.techadvisor.co.uk/how-to/network-wifi/how-enable-5ghz-wi-fi-on-your-laptop-3608743/)

Is your laptop 5GHz ready? If you are planning to purchase a new laptop or gadget, make sure that the network adapter is already capable of the 5G technology. The Philippines is slowly embracing this with PLDT encouraging subscribers to switch or upgrade to Fibr connection. 

What happens now? I can actually uninstall the adapter on my laptop and replace it with something else but that will compromise my warranty. I'm considering a  wireless adapter wi-fi dongle. Hmm..