How to Tell If a Computer Can Use 5 GHz Band

By Andrew Tennyson

Improve your Wi-Fi experience by accessing the 5 GHz wireless band. The 5 GHz band is superior because it is less crowded and less prone to interference from Bluetooth devices and household appliances such as microwaves. Take advantage of the Command Prompt program on your Windows 8.1 computer to determine whether your wireless card is compatible with the 5-GHz Wi-Fi band.

Step 1

Press the “Windows” key on your keyboard or click the “Start” button on your desktop to load the Start screen.

Step 2

Enter “cmd” without quotation marks into the Search prompt and then click the “Command Prompt” icon on the search results under the Apps heading.

Step 3

Enter the following command into the Command Prompt and press “Enter” to execute it when you're finished:netsh wlan show driversYou must enter the command exactly as shown before pressing "Enter" in order for the command to work properly. When the command executes, the Command Prompt analyzes your computer’s Wi-Fi networking capabilities and displays a report.

Step 4

Locate the line in the report labeled “Radio types supported.” If the line lists “802.11a” or “802.11n,” then your computer's wireless card supports the 5 GHz band.

Tips & Warnings

  • Exit the Command Prompt when you are finished to avoid accidentally entering additional commands.
  • Use the same Command Prompt command to check your wireless adapter for 5-GHz compatibility in Windows 7. Open the Command Prompt in Windows 7 in much the same way as in Windows 8. Click the "Start" button, enter "command" in the search box and then click "Command Prompt" from the search results.
  • If your current wireless adapter doesn’t support the 5 GHz band, you have alternatives. Dozens of third-party Wi-Fi cards and adapters support the 5 GHz band, and many can be purchased relatively inexpensively from any electronics store. Some external network adapters can simply be plugged into a USB port on your computer using a USB cable, while others must be installed by a professional technician or someone with a little computer know-how.