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Are there any consumer-priced, single-band (5GHz / 802.11ac only) WiFi routers, i.e., ones that only have a 5GHz radio?

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    Do you mean one that you can disable the 2.4GHz radio? Or do you need one for whatever reason that doesn't include a 2.4GHz radio at all? – Peter Cooper Jr. Sep 11 at 19:49
  • @PeterCooperJr. I mean one's that only have a 5GHz radio and lack a 2.4GHz radio. – Geremia Sep 11 at 19:54
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    @Geremia, Having no 2.4Ghz radio would break backwards compatibility with b/g/n WiFi. Any router that has only a 5Ghz radio in it cannot receive a WiFi Certification! (Then it's not a "WiFi" device at all!) That's basically shooting yourself in the foot for compatibility with most WiFi devices. Of course you can usually disable the 2.4 Ghz radio in a router that has one... – Romen Sep 11 at 20:57
  • @Romen That's what I thought; it's for backwards compatibility. Perhaps you can turn your comment into an answer. I didn't know about WiFi Certification. – Geremia Sep 11 at 21:02
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Routers and WiFi devices have to undergo certification to have the "WiFi" branding. Any router that does not have a 2.4 Ghz radio would not be backwards compatible with IEEE 802.11 b/g/n and may not qualify for the "WiFi" branding.

I have never seen a "WiFi" router with only a 5 Ghz radio. But you can disable the 2.4 Ghz radio in many routers though. It is possible that a router with only 802.11ac support can exist, but it may be hard to find a product like that using the "WiFi" brand as a search term.

For now, I would not recommend seeking out a product that explicitly avoids having a 2.4 Ghz radio. It wouldn't be guaranteed to work with other WiFi devices unless it was WiFi certified too. Some day the WiFi Alliance may decide to deprecate the 2.4 Ghz standards and this answer may no longer be correct.

  • Is there an estimate of how many devices use still use 802.11 b, g, or n or simply don't support ac? – Geremia Sep 11 at 21:14
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    I can't say for b or g, but n is definitely supported by every device made today. With 5 Ghz you get high bandwidth but trade off range and penetration. 2.4 Ghz cannot be completely replaced by 5 Ghz for all use-cases so 802.11n and 2.4 Ghz will be sticking around for now. – Romen Sep 11 at 21:19
  • Oh, yes, higher frequency can't penetrate barriers as well. – Geremia Sep 11 at 21:46
  • WiFi is one thing, IEEE 802.11 is something different. If the device works up to the 802.11 it does not need to have the branding. – Jan Dorniak Sep 15 at 11:46
  • @JanDorniak, I made sure that my answer doesn't conflate those two things. My answer carefully points out that the "WiFi" certification is required for assurance of compatibility because IEEE doesn't do anything to guarantee compatibility for end-users. To me, a "WiFi" device is specifically a device that is certified by the WiFi Alliance. You absolutely can make a 802.11 compliant device that only has a 5 Ghz radio, it just wouldn't be a "WiFi" device. – Romen Sep 15 at 21:02

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