Periodically Check Your Router's Wi-Fi Channel

Originally, I had my Billion 5200N (above) broadcasting on channel 8 and reception was strong throughout the apartment. However, a few months ago we started having constant drop-outs. Where it was once possible to smoothly stream videos from my upstairs server to my laptop, which was connected to my TV downstairs via HDMI, it had suddenly become a nightmare, with Media Player lagging and playing catch-up and VLC stuttering like no tomorrow.

Initially, I just blamed it on solar winds and other intangibles. For some reason, it didn't immediately occur to me to check what other Wi-Fi signals were cluttering up my router's channel. Sure enough, firing up Vistumbler revealed the once clear channel 8 was now busy with two other access points. Channel 11 (usually the recommended default) was all-clear, so I switched over and straight away noticed an improvement.

It'd be nice if Wi-Fi was fire-and-forget, and for the most part it is, but to ensure you always have the best signal, it's good to take the time every once and awhile to check the channel, especially if you live in a complex. You never know when new, less tech-inclined neighbours might move in and throw your perfect setup into disarray.


Comments

    I've had my netgear router set to Auto channel since I bought it, A neighbor moved in and had their router on channel 11 but mine automatically dropped down to channel 6 to avoid interference.. too bad I seem to get terrible speeds and drop outs if I set it to "Up to 270mbps" speeds though..

      I gave auto a try but it always seemed worse than manually locating a good channel, though I imagine the quality of this feature would depend on the hardware.

    You also need to watch out for people with wireless N setup with double bandwidth (40mhz) only the first 20mhz channel is identified in some scanners.

    would of been nice if you wrote a quick little guide to using Vistumbler.

    I've had the most luck by setting my AP to a US locale, that way it allows me to use channels that are.. ahem.. discouraged..from Australian use.

    Thanks, turns out im on a horrible channel.

    The android App Wifi Analyser has somg good graphs and signal reports that can show you who is using what channel.

    https://market.android.com/details?id=com.farproc.wifi.analyzer&hl=en

      Thats what I used also. Worked well. Only tried it from one location but I should try it from all areas of the house.

        Its a pretty awesome application. I walked around the house with it many times while setting up my dual APs at home. Facepalmed myself every time I saw a neighbour's AP on channel 2 lol

    Or Meraki Stumbler! Great web based Java application that shows you AP's and channels..

    http://tools.meraki.com/stumbler

      Thanks. Good utility

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