In apartment buildings, public spaces, offices, or other densely populated areas, it is often difficult to find the best WiFi channel. This is due to multiple WiFi routers broadcasting simultaneously on one non-overlapping channel, the default one.
Therefore, to find the best WiFi channel, you need to make use of a WiFi channel scanner. This will help you find a non-overlapping but least crowded channel.
A WiFi channel is one of the components of a bigger frequency band. It is a radio wave frequency range utilized by your router to transmit wireless internet signals.
Many routers come with either of 2 WiFi frequency bands: 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Each of these bands is divided into channels used in sending and receiving data over your WiFi network. Both WiFi frequency bands should be seen as two express highways. And the WiFi channels can be likened to lanes on those highways.
If you are traveling on a highway, it makes sense to pick the fastest lanes with the least traffic.
However, some routers come with a dual-band, meaning that you can use either of these frequencies.
Using one of these frequency bands will be much better than the other, though this depends significantly on your situation. And in the same vein, using a particular WiFi channel is much better than others.
If you use the 2.4 GHz band, the best choices to use are channels 1, 6, and 11. These channels do not overlap each other.
But on the other hand, if you use the 5GHz band, there are up to 24 non-overlapping channels that you can choose from.
By default, most routers use the same channel. This means that if you do not change the channel, you are likely using the same channel that your neighbors are using, that is, if they have not altered it themselves or tampered with it.
What this implies is that your WiFi signal could become extremely slow. And you will not enjoy its use, except you change your WiFi channel on the router.
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Modern WiFi routers come with both 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz channel bands. Support for the 2.4 GHz comes before the 5 GHz band. This makes most people erroneously assume that the 5GHz is much better.
The truth is that both bands have their distinct pros and cons that you need to be aware of. For instance, the 2.4 GHz band provides network coverages at a much longer range but usually transmit data at incredibly slower speeds. But the 5 GHz band offers far less coverage than its predecessor but transmits signals at a much faster rate.
More often than not, higher frequencies find it challenging to penetrate solid objects like trees, walls, etc. This is why the 5 GHz band is not the best choice for broadcasting signals across long ranges.
Dual bands are the best, though they are somewhat more expensive than routers with individual channel bands. You can even find tri-band routers, the most expensive of them all. This is only required if you live in a highly congested area like a city center, etc.
However, you may decide to test the channel bands individually and then choose the one that allows you to enjoy much higher data transfer speeds as well as lower latency.
You can find the best WiFi channel using a WiFi channel analyzer like NetSpot.
NetSpot is a unique but powerful WiFi channel analyzer for macOS 10.10 – or higher – and Windows 7, 8, and 10. It can swiftly gather data about WiFi channels as well as the surrounding WiFi networks, including their noise and RSSI values.
Let’s take it one step after another:
Step 1: Take a snapshot of the surrounding WiFi networks. NetSpot is powerful enough to spot or identify the least occupied and busiest channels. This will help in deciding precisely which channel you should configure your router to use.
Step 2: Enter your router’s admin IP address into your favorite web browser. Since you are the owner of the router, that makes you the administrator of the device.
Step 3: Log in using the admin username and password.
Step 4: Navigate to the router’s settings and locate wireless settings. Check to see if the option to change your router’s channel is indicated.
Step 5: Change the WiFi channel. Make your decision based on the information that NetSpot provides.
NetSpot can easily visualize network coverage to help users see the reasons for any WiFi issues. You can also choose the best WiFi channel by launching the NetSpot app and click ‘Discover.’
Click the ‘Channels 2.4 GHz’ header to see precisely where WiFi channels overlap. Look for the best channel – out of 1, 6, and 11 – which has the least number of WiFi networks using it.
You can also use NetSpot to verify that the WiFi router is currently broadcasting on the news channel. It is highly recommended that you try at least more than one WiFi channel and then compare the SNR of your WiFi connection.
NetSpot can also carry out extensive WiFi site surveys, create a highly detailed WiFi coverage map. You can use it to find areas in your home or office with weak WiFi signals and so much more.
Enter the admin interface by inputting a specific IP address in your website browser. This IP address is usually printed on the underside of your router. However, some newer WiFi routers come with a companion smartphone application.
Look for WiFi settings and/or advanced WiFi settings, and then set the desired WiFi channel.
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A lot of things can interfere with WiFi signals. This includes furniture, thick walls, apartment buildings, overlapping channels, etc. But by carrying out WiFi analysis using NetSpot, you can get the best WiFi channel for your router.
And you will no longer have issues with WiFi signals or networks since you are now on a new, less crowded channel.
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