My new router supports both the 2.4 and the 5 Ghz bands, and it obviously allows me to set a different password for each of them.

Now, since cracking just one of the two means that the attacker would gain access to my network anyways without needing the other one, are there any reasons why I should set a different password for each band?


Sure there is! In the absence of a "guest" SSID feature on your router, use one of the bands for guests/visitors, and the other band for private use. That way you can regularly change the password for the guest/visitor WiFi without disrupting connectivity on your own devices.

Granted, this is more of a practical consideration (even though you do gain some small modicum of security by regularly changing your guest WiFi password).

  • Interesting point. It might make more sense to separate the two networks by criticality rather than guest/non-guest though, with a more complex password for the band containing the most critical devices. I am more concerned of attacks from the outside than from the inside, if you know what I mean. – user1301428 Mar 12 '14 at 19:35
  • If the concern is only outside attacks, I agree that there would be no significant benefit from setting different passwords for different WiFi frequency bands. – scuzzy-delta Mar 12 '14 at 19:40

Two passwords instead of one means the attack surface is doubled. I don't think it would benefit you in any way to secure your bands with different passwords. Having two passwords instead of one means that if one gets leaked or known, the other may be compromised as well. The only reason I can think of to do this is if you have a situation where you want to let one group use one band, and another use the other. That way you would provide them with different access credentials, but for personal use, it is not recommended.

  • Actually, the attack surface is the same when using one or two passwords. The attack surface would decrease if I disabled one of the two bands. Also, if I use two pwd's and one of the two gets cracked, the second one wouldn't be compromised immediately, that's the point of having a second one :D But I get your point. – user1301428 Mar 12 '14 at 18:00
  • I disagree with the first part of your comment. I think about it like this: Say you have a house, and inside is your most valued possession. If you have one locked door into the house, the thief has to figure out how to open it to get inside and steal your item. If you have two doors with two different locks, the thief has the choice of opening whichever lock he finds easiest to open. As soon as he is inside, your other door is pointless. Just my opinion though :) – Jason Higgins Mar 12 '14 at 18:16
  • I see what you mean. Of course, my comment makes sense if you have two locks with the same security level. And the attack surface would be smaller if I only had one door :P – user1301428 Mar 12 '14 at 19:24

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