Wi-Fi channel is the medium via which wireless networks can receive and send data. Most of the routers manufactured in the United States have either the 5 GHz or the 2.4 GHz frequency bands. Some routers contain both the 5 and 2.4 GHz frequency bands giving the user the option to choose one of the frequencies. The difference between the two frequency bands is the bandwidth and range they offer to the users. The 2.4 GHz band is recommended for a user in need of more Wi-Fi coverage while 5GHz is best used for faster speeds. Wi-Fi channels are smaller bands that exist between these frequencies 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.
The 2.4 GHz band comprise of fourteen channels, but only eleven channels can be used. Every channel in the 2.4 GHz is twenty-two MHz wide, and between the centers of adjacent channels, there are five MHz gaps. These make all channels overlap apart from channel one, six, and eleven. On the 5 GHz band, there are more spaces. The 5 GHz band provides twenty-three non-overlapping 20 MHz full channel and 40MHz, 80 MHz and 160MHz channels.
What Causes Interference with WiFi?
Whenever two or more Wi-Fi routers exist on the same channel, there are higher chances of interferences. Interference decreases network throughput. Additionally, when channels overlap during a Wi-Fi routers broadcast, interference may occur. Essentially, every router in a particular region ought to broadcast on a different and unique non-Interfering channel. To identify the best channel, some tools are used, such as NetSpot.
NetSpot is referred to as a Wi-Fi channel analyzing, site survey, and troubleshooting tool for Mac or Windows operating systems. NetSpot can be used to show Wi-Fi channel overlap. Once it has been installed on a computer, the user can highlight the network to be analyzed from the list of all available networks. The networks are analyzed using a graph that can easily allow the user to identify the best channel for Wi-Fi in the surrounding. In scenarios where many networks seem to be broadcasting on the same channel as the preferred network or an overlap is detected, then there is a need to change the Wi-Fi channel. NetSpot can also help in creating a comprehensive Wi-Fi coverage heat map with Survey mode. By defining the real Wi-Fi data on a map, areas with weak signals can be identified, and this can help the user relocate their router to stronger regions. The best thing about NetSpot, Information can also be exported in PDF or CSV and thus used in other apps.
Does Changing Channel Improve WiFi?
Changing the Wi-Fi channel is the solution to curb overlapping and interrupts. All routers allow the user to change the Wi-Fi channel. The first step in changing the channel requires the user to login into the router. The owner of the router logs in as an admin using their username, password, or any other detail as required. In case one forgets their routers IP address; the command prompt can be used. The admin or the user of the router can use “ipconfig” ignoring the quotes on the command prompt of a Windows operating system. Then search for “Default Gateway” and then copy the IP address retrieved and then paste it on the browser URL bar and then press “enter.”
The page opens up the router’s admin interface and a login window prompt the admin to input their passwords. Some may have been changed according to different admins for security reasons. In case the password is lost or forgotten, the admin may check on their router or reach out to their service providers. Service providers can offer significant help to their customers.
Different routers have different interfaces, but the settings have no significant differences. However, most routers allow their admin to change their Wi-Fi channel in the advanced setting menu. The advanced setting menu is found in the setting menu. In case the option is completely missing; the admin can open the router’s manual and try to trace how to change the channel.
In other routers, changing the Wi-Fi channel requires the admin to login with their username and password which opens up the home page. On the home page, there is a wireless option which shows all the wireless settings. Then the admin can select their region on the region’s menu. However, in some areas, this setting cannot be edited. Select the number from the channel menu. Click the Apply changes button to save the new settings. After changing the channel, the admin can launch the analyzing tool and verify if the router Is broadcasting on the best available channel.
In other routers, the channel number can be directly selected from a drop-down arrow on the menu. In case the router works on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies, channels are chosen differently for both bands. The exact location depends on the router manufactures. It is essential to save any changes made to see the outcomes of changes.
What Channel Should my WiFi be on?
The best Wi-Fi channel is different for different routers. While using the Wi-Fi analyzing tools such as NetSpot, the admin or the user can quickly identify their router channel and check the number of users on the same network. This allows the admin to know if the channel has weak or strong signals which depend on the number of routers on the channel. With this knowledge, the admin can identify a less crowded channel for better Wi-Fi speeds. One should choose a channel that is away from their neighbors.
In conclusion, most Wi-Fi problems are caused by the use of the wrong Wi-Fi channel. When many networks broadcast on overlapping channels, there are higher chances of interference, and this can make a reliable and stable network to be referred to as unusable. Using a Wi-Fi channel analyzer can help identify the best channel. What most neighbors are using may never work for everyone. It is wise to go for the less crowded channel which can be easily seen on the graphs. Once the best channel has been identified, the admin can go ahead and change to that particular channel.