NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- That once-shiny, new 2.4 gigahertz wireless router you just installed to set up your home network could be joining the junk heap sooner than you think.
The future is 5 GHz, according to several experts, and that means bad news for Globalstar (GSAT) , an embattled company that has staked its future on people paying to use a tranche of 2.4 GHz spectrum it owns.
Many devices, including wireless routers, garage door openers and other remote-controlled gadgets, operate using the 2.4 GHz wireless frequency, which works well for today's needs because it easily penetrates solid objects and can work over long distances. But as more of our lives become connected, the 2.4 GHz signal will become more crowded, meaning interference and poor performance. In fact, the advantages of 2.4 GHz will become disadvantages in the future.
"2.4 GHz's penetration is far more often a significant drawback rather than a benefit," said Devin Akin, founder and CEO of Divergent Dynamics, a Las Vegas-based Wi-Fi consulting firm, and founder of the Certified Wireless Network Professional accreditation. "The more penetration a signal gets, the more likely it is to interfere with a signal on the same or an adjacent channel."
The higher-frequency signal that Akin and others say is the future, 5 GHz, overcomes this obstacle.
"There are more available channels and less prone to interference," said Jussi Kiviniemi, vice president of Wi-Fi tools at Ekahau, a Reston, Va.-based wireless networks company. "2.4 GHz is considered as a fallback or a frequency for legacy devices. The ground rule is push everything you can to the 5 GHz space."
Hence the problem for Globalstar. The company owns a part of 2.4 GHz spectrum and has the rights for its use among satellites; it is currently petitioning the Federal Communications Commission to be able to use it terrestrially as well. The plan is to create pay-for-use wireless networks that alleviate congestion on free Wi-Fi channels.
With 2.4 GHz being phased out, there may not be much of a future in it.