I’ve been told to change my Wifi channel to get the best performance from it. How many channels are there, and what is the best one to use?
Good question! What many may not know/understand yet is that WiFi is just another type of radio signal, running at a higher frequency. Some channels can often be “crowded”, especially in heavily populated areas such as suburban estates, flat/apartment blocks, serviced offices, and even shopping centres or high streets.
Depending on what router or WiFi AP/repeater you have, you may be running on either 2.4GHz, 5GHz, or both (dual-band).
In Europe, 2.4GHz has 13 usable channels, 1-13 (simple enough)! But what are the best ones? Some routers/APs have the “auto select” option under their WiFi settings, which allows the device to scan for the least-crowded channel, and use it. However, sometimes even that isn’t great, as WiFi radio channels overlap eachother, unless far enough away on the spectrum…
Channels 1, 6, and 11 are further enough apart from eachother on the spectrum to not overlap - it’s always best practice to find which of those three is the least-crowded, and use that. Better still, if you have a large home/office, with two or more network devices outputting WiFi, you’ll want to configure them in such a way as:
Device 1 - Channel 1
Device 2 - Channel 6
Device 3 - Channel 11
Device 4 - Channel 1 (permitting that it’s not within a certain vicinity of device 1)
and so on.
5GHz however, offers 8 non-overlapping channels. Which means just finding out the least-crowded channel (which is even less of an issue on 5GHz), then setting your network devices to those channels.
The reason I say “in Europe”, is that higher frequency channels in the 2.4 and 5GHz ranges are illegal for domestic use, as they’re often used in radar and other high-tech applications. Commercial point-to-point wireless links use some of the higher frequencies to be able to cover greater distances with minimal signal degradation
I hope this helps!