Here we can see, “How to Find the Best Wi-Fi Channel for Your Router on Any Operating System”
What’s the best wifi channel for your router, and the way does one change it?
We answer these questions and more during this quick guide.
While Ethernet cables are ideal for reliable connections, Wi-Fi is the only option for devices like smartphones, tablets, and every one manner of smart home gadgets. With numerous devices running over Wi-Fi, then many of us with Wi-Fi routers, the airwaves are understandably getting a touch busy.
Thus, your wifi speeds can suffer if you’re in a crowded area. However, there is one basic step you’ll take that can offer you a moment speed boost: picking a singular wifi channel that nobody else is using.
Today I’ll show you ways to research the wifi in your home and pick the simplest wifi channel to use on your router.
Why Does Wi-Fi Need a Channel Number?
Just like radio stations, wifi operates on different frequencies—and two separate frequency bands entirely.
Think of it like AM and F.M. radio. AM radio waves are lower quality but travel further; likewise, 2.4GHz wifi is slower but can penetrate walls. Meanwhile, FM radio waves are better quality but don’t travel as far, and 5GHz wifi is quicker but doesn’t undergo walls.
Typically, 2.4GHz wifi has 13 different wifi channels, but this will vary by local regulations (e.g., only 11 within the U.S.). Those channels represent the complete spectrum of the available frequency space for wifi.
However, once you broadcast on a channel, the signal bleeds into neighboring channels quite a lot, meaning 2.4GHz wifi only really has three non-overlapping channels: 1, 6, and 11.
The story gets even more complicated with 2.4GHz wifi, as other household devices may share this frequency. Baby monitors, cordless telephones, and Zigbee smart home products like Philips Hue share an equivalent frequency. Thus, it’s quite crowded.
5GHz wifi covers a way wider frequency space, with 20 non-overlapping channels. It also doesn’t share with other common household appliances. But it struggles at browsing obstacles like concrete and brick, so you would possibly not be ready to get a robust connection outside the space the router is in.
Modern routers broadcast both 5GHz and a couple of .4GHz wifi signals simultaneously, allowing devices to leap seamlessly onto the faster 5GHz network when available.
So why are we messing around with channels? The more wireless networks that operate an equivalent channel, the more interference all experience, resulting in worse speeds.
You May Already Be on the Best Wi-Fi Channel
Before we start checking for the simplest wifi channel, it’s worth remarking that if you’ve got slow wifi speeds, it’s going to don’t have anything to try to do together with your wifi channel in the least. Modern routers are excellent at analyzing the channel spectrum themselves and automatically choosing the smallest amount congested one.
You can check anyway, but a slow wifi connection may produce other causes, such as:
Many people confuse wifi with their home internet. Wifi refers to the wireless network you employ inside your home, between your devices, and therefore, the router. If you’ve got a slow internet speed—that is, the cable coming into your home from your ISP—then changing wifi settings won’t help in the least.
- Run some internet speed tests first from a computer that’s connected to your router with a coaxial cable.
- Do an equivalent test over wifi. If you get equivalent results, then wifi isn’t your problem.
- Consider upgrading to fiber if you are still running on ADSL.
Too Many Wireless Devices
Increasingly common within the modern smart home are devices with wifi inbuilt. Smart lighting, A.C. sockets, motion sensors, or security cameras can all use your wifi.
But did you recognize that consumer routers typically reach around 30 wifi devices? If you’ve hit that limit, you’ll find your wireless devices randomly disconnected.
The solution: Consider upgrading to an enterprise-grade wifi system like Ubiquiti UniFi.
Too Many Walls, Too Much Distance
In larger houses, one router might not be enough. Read our wifi positioning guide to find out about ideal router placement. You would possibly be tempted to shop for a wifi extender, but they will find yourself doing more harm by causing more interference.
The solution: Again, a system like UniFi allows you to expand with additional access points that seamlessly integrate into your network. I’ll sound sort of a salesman there, but it’s for an honest reason: I upgraded to UniFi myself and now have glorious wifi throughout the house and garden.
How to Pick the Best Wi-Fi Channel?
Okay, so you would like to see the wifi channel anyway. Here’s the way to figure it out on various operating systems or smartphones. Note that in most cases, you’ll be wanting to run a separate scan on both the two .4GHz and 5GHz networks.
macOS comes with a free wifi diagnostic suite, but it’s hidden away.
Hold the choice key while you click on the wifi icon within the menu bar to find it. You ought to see Open Wireless Diagnostics within the resulting dropdown menu. Select that.
A panel will open but don’t bother clicking Next. Head to the menu bar, and choose Window > Scan.
Click Scan Now within the bottom-right. You ought to shortly see an inventory of networks found if they are not already listed. Note that you can scroll to the proper within the network list to ascertain more information, like the current Channel and channel width.
You’ll also see suggestions labeled Best 2.4GHz and Best 5GHz, with the channel number it recommends along the left side. That was easy!
Windows 10 users will find a free app called wifi Analyzer within the Windows Store. If you cannot click that link because you are not at a P.C., type the wifi analyzer directly into the Cortana search bar, and it should appear. Click through to the shop page to download.
When you first launch the program, you will need to grant permissions for the app to regulate Bluetooth and your wifi adapter, which also tells it your location. Once you’ve done that, click through to the Analyze tab to ascertain a pleasant graph. You ought to be ready to see the smallest amount congested Channel easily.
A similarly named wifi Analyzer app is out there free for Android. It includes a pleasant graph, and using your phone will offer you the advantage of having the ability to maneuver around. This will help identify wifi dead spots within your home.
Wifi Analyzer also takes the diligence out entirely with its Channel Rating screen; it’ll suggest a far better channel.
Due to restrictions on access to non-public frameworks, there’s no wifi channel scanner app for iPhone. Sorry!
How to Change Your Wi-Fi Channel?
So you’ve established what the simplest wifi channel is for you. Now how does one change it? Unfortunately, that depends on the model and manufacturer of your router. Here’s the way to roll in the hay on a Linksys router or a Netgear router.
Generally speaking, you would like to open your router’s admin page first. For many people, this is often possible by typing 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1 into a browser. You will need a username and password to access the admin area.
If you’re unsure, it’d be written on the rear or underside of the router hardware. Once in, search for Wireless Networks or Wifi Settings. You ought to see a choice to specify the channel number manually.
2.4 GHz Wi-Fi Channel Numbers
- Wifi equipment within the U.S. and North America features 11 channels on the two.4 GHz band:
- Channel 1 operates at a middle frequency of two.412 GHz.
- Channel 11 operates at 2.462 GHz.
- Other channels operate at frequencies in between, evenly spaced at 5 MHz (0.005 GHz) intervals.
- Wifi gear in Europe and other parts of the planet also supports channels 12 and 13 running at the next-higher frequency levels of two.467 GHz and a couple of .472 GHz, respectively.
- A few additional restrictions and allowances apply in certain countries. for instance, 2.4 GHz wifi technically supports 14 channels, although channel 14 is merely available for old 802.11b equipment in Japan.
Because each 2.4 GHz wifi channel requires a signaling band roughly 22 MHz wide, the radio frequencies of adjacent channels significantly overlap.
5 GHz Wi-Fi Channel Numbers
The 5 GHz band offers more channels than 2.4 GHz wifi. To avoid problems with overlapping frequencies, 5 GHz equipment restricts available channels to certain numbers within a bigger range. This approach is analogous to how AM and F.M. radio stations within an area separate from one another on the bands.
For example, popular 5 GHz wireless channels in many countries include 36, 40, 44, and 48, while other numbers in between aren’t supported. Channel 36 operates at 5.180 GHz with each Channel offset by 5 MHz, so that Channel 40 operates at 5.200 GHz (20 MHz offset), and so on. The highest-frequency Channel (165) operates on 5.825 GHz. Equipment in Japan supports a special set of wifi channels that run at lower frequencies (4.915 to 5.055 GHz) than the remainder of the planet.
Reasons to Change Wi-Fi Channel Numbers
Many home networks within the U.S. use routers that, by default, run on channel 6 on the two.4 GHz band. Neighboring wifi home networks that run over an equivalent channel generate radio interference which will cause network performance slowdowns. Reconfiguring a network to run on a special wireless channel helps minimize these disruptions.
Some wifi gear, particularly older devices, might not support automatic channel switching. Those devices can’t hook up with the network unless their default channel matches the local network’s configuration.