When setting up your router, you’re going to need to choose a Wi-Fi channel. So, how do you know which channel is the best? Are you dealing with unreasonably slow speeds? Or, is the connection dropping out frequently? If so, there is a good possibility that you’ve selected the wrong channel. This can cause a handful of problems. If you’ve dealing with a poor signal, slow speeds or constant drops, there is a possibility that your channel is responsible. The good news is that you’ve come to the right place. Within this in-depth guide, you will learn all about choosing the right WiFi channel.
What Is Needed
First and foremost, you’re going to need to make sure that you have everything you need. You’ll need a router. You can choose a single or dual band router. Either one should work. You’ll also need a connectable device or two. Experimenting with more than one device is recommended. It is also a good idea to choose a wireless scanning software. While this is optional, the software can definitely help you find the best channel for your unique needs and preferences. You’re also going to need access to your router’s settings. Make sure you have the username, password and IP address handy.
It is also a good idea to calm down and take your time. The process can be a little time consuming. Grab yourself a drink and a comfortable seat. You’re going to need them.
Selecting A Channel Manually
When it comes down to it, there are tons of things that can negatively impact the performance of a router. The wrong channel is among the many. With this in mind, you first need to learn a great deal more about your router’s specifications and functions. Is it actually living up to the hype? Or, is the router under performing? If the router is performing as intended and you’re not satisfied, you’re going to need to upgrade. If the device isn’t performing up to par, there is a chance that the wrong channel is impacting its performance.
Determining Router Type
You need to understand that every router is different. The process of finding the right Wi-Fi channel is going to vary slightly from a 2.4 GHz router to a 5 GHz router. With this in mind, you need to gain a better understanding of your router before moving forward. Figure out what router you have and move on from there.
More Information About Channels
At this point in time, your router is set to a single channel. The channel will cover a handful of frequencies. There is a different between the 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz channels. You’ll learn more about those differences below.
The 2.4 GHz is supposed to operate over a 100 MHz spectrum. In reality, it is only 80 MHz wide. There are 14 channels of 20 MHz each. With that being said, you should easily be able to see that the channels will overlap one another. In fact, some channels may overlap several other channels and this can create severe interference.
With the 5 GHz, you’re working with a much wider spectrum. There are more channels and the frequencies are wider. This helps to ensure that the overlapping and interference is greater limited. With the 5 GHz frequency, you will have a much easier time finding the right channel for your unique needs.
Possible Causes Of Interference
You need to understand that there are plenty of causes of interference. Microwaves, mirrors, baby monitors and even microwaves can decrease the performance of your router. Many of these devices will operate on the 2.4 GHz band. Therefore, there is a good chance that you’re going to experience interference at some point. You might be able to solve the problem by relocating your router. Move it further away from any items that may cause interference. You can also try upgrading to the 5 GHz band. If these options are not possible, you’re going to need to change the channel.
The good news is that this won’t be too difficult.
Choosing The Right Channel
Now, you need to learn how to manually choose a channel. You already know what router you’re using and you’re certain that other items aren’t causing the interference. The process is really very similar for the 2.4 and 5 GHz frequencies. Just remember that each offers different channels. When you’re ready to get started, you will need to access your router’s admin account. Enter the correct IP address into your browser and enter the username and password. Once this is done, you should be able to access the settings. Here, you will be able to adjust the channel easily.
2.4 GHz In Most Areas
The 2.4 GHz frequency comes with 14 channels. All of these channels will overlap at least one other and this can cause interference. Therefore, it is essential to find the channel with the least amount of overlapping. There are three channels that tend to provide the best results. The three channels include 1, 6 and 11. These channels will work exceptionally well on non-MIMO setups. They should provide you with the very best speeds and the smallest risk of interferences. Be sure to experiment with these channels a bit to find the one that works best for you.
5 GHz In Most Areas
When messing with the 5 GHz channels, you will quickly find that your options are wider. There are more channels to choose from. At the same time, there are plenty of room on higher frequencies. This is definitely a good thing. In total, you will be able to choose between 23 channels and none of them are overlapping. This ensures that you’ll experience far less interference. To ensure that you get the best connection, it is always a good idea to stick with 20 MHz channels.
If you’re still having problems, you should think about using a Wi-Fi checking. This will scan your local area and discover which channel works best for you. These programs are often free and they work great. The Wi-Fi Analyzer and Acrylic Wi-Fi are two good options.