Streaming devices have recently become more popular among households for their convenient composition and internet capabilities.
The Apple TV is currently one of the best-selling streaming devices on the market today. It allows you to watch all of Apple’s TV originals; plus, it gives you access to loads more online content.
While all Apple TVs are equipped with WiFi capabilities, there are instances when certain errors prevent it from making a connection.
So, can Apple TV use 5 GHz wifi?
We’re here to help you answer that — and more — in this article.
- What is 5GHz?
- 5 GHz vs 2.4 GHz: Which Is Better?
- Can Apple TV Use 5 GHz WiFi?
- Reasons Why Apple TV Is Not Connecting to 5 GHz WiFi
- The Bottom Line
What is 5GHz?
Wireless or WiFi routers use radio signals to broadcast the internet to WiFi-capable devices e.g., phone, tablets, laptops, TVs, and streaming devices like the Apple TV and Amazon Fire Stick.
5 GHz is one of the frequencies that routers use to connect devices to the internet.
5 GHz vs 2.4 GHz: Which Is Better?
You may have noticed that your WiFi router uses two radio frequencies: 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz.
While it’s easy to assume that 5 GHz is better than 2.4 GHz, the difference between the two connections isn’t so easily distinguished.
While 2.4 GHz has a lower data rate (it’s also more sensitive to connection interference), this frequency has better coverage compared to 5 GHz. It also penetrates solid objects much more easily compared to 5 GHz.
Five GHz generally has a higher data rate but a smaller coverage area and is less capable of penetrating solid objects.
If you’re wondering which frequency is better, the answer all boils down to how you’re using your internet connection.
If you’re powering a device that can be moved closer to the router, then connecting to the 5 GHz frequency will give you the best results. It’s also the recommended frequency if you’re doing conference calls, playing video games, or conducting high-bandwidth activities online.
On the other hand, if you’re powering devices that are far from the router e.g., smartphones and tablets, then using the 2.4 GHz frequency is recommended.
Note: 5 GHz 802.11ac might be able to provide you with the same area coverage as 2.4 GHz. It’s different from your typical 5 GHz connection, as it has a wider range.
Can Apple TV Use 5 GHz WiFi?
All Apple TVs can support 5 GHz WiFi. In other words, you should be able to watch Apple TV content using high-bandwidth internet without experiencing any issues.
Still, many users complain about experiencing challenges when trying to connect their Apple TV to their 5 GHz WiFi.
Reasons Why Apple TV Is Not Connecting to 5 GHz WiFi
Below are some of the most common reasons why your Apple TV is having trouble connecting to 5 GHz WiFi and the corresponding fixes you need to perform to correct the matter.
Apple TV placement
One of the most obvious yet the most overlooked mistakes that users make is placing their Apple TVs where the WiFi can’t reach them.
As mentioned before, 5 GHz generally has a smaller coverage area. In other words, to get the best results, you need to move your TV set (along with your Apple TV) closer to your router or vice versa.
Furthermore, make sure no objects are covering your Apple TV (e.g., books, magazines, notebooks) or that it isn’t enclosed in any container or furniture (e.g., the drawers on your TV stand).
Removing objects that are blocking your Apple TV will help you get a clearer connection to your WiFi as well as keep your Apple TV from overheating; although, that’s highly unlikely.
Placing your Apple TV on an elevated surface will also make it easier for the 5 GHz frequency to reach it. Stack it on top of a couple of books or place it on a shelf near your TV set.
Don’t know where exactly in your home you should place your Apple TV?
Download the free iOS app “Wi-Fi Sweetspots” from the Apple App Store to help you find the best location to place your Apple TV.
Wrong router configuration
Often the problem is with the router itself and not the Apple TV. You might be using the wrong configuration on your router, i.e., forgetting to activate the 5 GHz frequency on your router, so you’re connected to the 2.4 GHz frequency.
This might not be as bad as you think, since 2.4 GHz travels better than 5 GHz. So, if your Apple TV is in another room, a 2.4 GHz is more favorable.
On other occasions, your router might be defaulting to the 802.11ac wireless standard, which uses both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz at the same time. This isn’t the best WiFi connection type as it’s often spotty and much trickier for the Apple TV to catch.
If you’re having trouble connecting to 5 GHz WiFi, then consider:
- Checking the router configuration
- Looking at the WiFi signal strength
- Test network speed using the Speedtest app from the App Store
Devices interfering with the connection
Most of us have multiple devices connected to our WiFi routers at the same time. And while that’s generally not a bad thing, it can interfere with the frequency used to connect to your Apple TV.
As mentioned earlier, routers use radio frequencies to transmit WiFi connections to devices around your home. As such, it’s much more prone to interference from other devices that use the same frequency.
Microwaves use 2.4 GHz to power themselves, which may cause fluctuations in your internet connection when it’s in use.
If your Apple TV is placed near an appliance or device that uses the same 5 GHz frequency, this may be what’s preventing your Apple TV from making a connection.
Someone’s stealing your WiFi
One of the other reasons your Apple TV might be struggling to make a connection is that someone is leeching off your WiFi connection. Hackers are everywhere nowadays; thus, you never know who’s mooching off your subscriptions.
Cybercriminals have the unique ability to hack into our WiFi connections. They can easily sniff out weak passwords or use a brute force dictionary to guess and decrypt passwords.
If you’ve been a careless WiFi owner and have been using obvious passwords all this time, this is your signal to make a change.
Make it a habit to change your WiFi passwords regularly. Furthermore, don’t use a password that can be easily guessed e.g., your birthday or your parent’s anniversary.
Download the app WiFi Guard on your Apple TV. It’s a free app designed specifically for the Apple TV operating system.
This app provides users with information about devices that are connected to their WiFi network.
If any unauthorized users are accessing your WiFi network, you’ll be able to track them using this app.
Out of Date WiFi Router
If you’ve done everything we’ve recommended so far and still haven’t gotten the results you’re looking for, then there’s one thing left to do:
Get a new WiFi router.
WiFi routers, like all products on earth, have a certain lifespan. Once you go over that, the device loses all its previous functionalities.
This eventually leads to poor performance and weak frequencies to power your internet connection. So, if you find yourself needing to restart your router at least twice a week, it’s time for you to get a new WiFi router.
Picking a WiFi router isn’t the easiest task either. There are plenty of designs and capabilities that — if you aren’t familiar with — could confuse you and lead you to buy the wrong product.
If you’re in the market for a new WiFi router, make sure it has the following things:
- Multi-core processor
- At least 128MB of RAM
- Dual-band or tri-band frequencies (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, 6 GHz)
- A smartphone app that lets you adjust router configuration from anywhere
- Up-to-date USB ports
- Mesh WiFi support
Is your router brand new but still provides you with a poor connection? Boosting your WiFi signal with a network extender is also a great idea.
WiFi connection needs a boost
If you haven’t already heard of WiFi extenders, they boost the signal of your internet connection so it reaches more areas in your home.
They’re the bridge that a WiFi frequency crosses over to reach your devices. This may make it easier for your Apple TV to tap into your 5 GHz WiFi connection.
Plenty of businesses and organizations use WiFi network extenders to connect their employees to the company router. If you have a medium- to large-sized home, then getting an extender will help widen the coverage area of your WiFi connection.
The Bottom Line
If your Apple TV is having trouble connecting to your 5 GHz WiFi, then it might have less to do with the device itself and more with the status of your WiFi connection.
Check your WiFi router to see if it’s in the right configuration for 5 GHz connectivity. Furthermore, inspect if other devices in your home aren’t interfering with the signals between your Apple TV and your WiFi router.
Lastly, if your WiFi router has reached a certain point where it is old and has lost its normal functionalities, consider replacing it with a newer model. Find one that can support the latest WiFi frequencies available in the industry.
Vance is a dad, former software engineer, and tech lover. Knowing how a computer works becomes handy when he builds Pointer Clicker. His quest is to make tech more accessible for non-techie users. When not working with his team, you can find him caring for his son and gaming.