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Old October 15th, 2011, 02:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Wifi channel optimizing

Since we have to rely on wi-fi only, I thought I'd throw a little tidbit out there.

In the US we have 11 channels to choose from. Quite often the default is channel 6, not a good choice for everyone. You can change your channel from your router's admin page. Ideally, you'd want at least 3 channels difference between your router and the others in your neighborhood. If you're in a large apartment complex, that may be difficult.

I was having trouble with my wireless earlier today so decided to check out the channel along with some wireless tools. Some interesting apps I found were Wifi Analyzer, Network Tester, Fing Network Tools, and WiGLE Wifi Wardriving. Unless you're REALLY interested in the network around you, probably just Wifi Analyzer will be of interest to you. I'm an IT person so I'm more network oriented than most of you.

This is a sample screenshot of Wi-fi Analyzer (from the Market page), showing all the wireless signals within range of your wifi device:



You want your wifi channel to be as far as possible away from other strong signals in your proximity. In the above scan, if I was Tom, I'd shoot for channel 10 or 11 so my devices would have less competition/interference from the other channels. Technically, your device will just transmit on the center of that channel, but strong signals can interfere with the channels next to it.

Bear in mind that this does not take into account wireless baby monitors, phones or other devices so testing should also be a part of your decision.

Some other useful wifi pointers:
How to improve your wireless network and boost its signal

How to chose the right WiFi channel
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Old October 15th, 2011, 09:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Looks like I did my house right

I have two main APs and one isolated/public access one.

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Old October 15th, 2011, 11:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I see you got rid of the competition too.
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Old February 12th, 2012, 11:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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So, dumb question, but how does one change the channel on the touchpad? To really optimize your network, all devices should be set to the same channel (laptops, and touchpads ) my assumption from poking around everywhere is it is not possible.
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Old February 13th, 2012, 12:23 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by IzelTokatl View Post
So, dumb question, but how does one change the channel on the touchpad? To really optimize your network, all devices should be set to the same channel (laptops, and touchpads ) my assumption from poking around everywhere is it is not possible.
You actually want to set the channel on the router. Once set and broadcasting on that channel, all devices that connect to that SSID will associate themselves with the defined channel.

For most people finding a space of 3 open channels will be nearly impossible to do. For example, at my house I have three wireless SSID's, one sits outside of my firewall and supports my IP cameras, the other two sit inside my firewall and support Wireless-N and Wireless-BG. My outside SSID sits on channel 6 while my two inside SSID's are on channels 9 and 3 respectively. According to WiFi Analyzer, I can presently see 13 other SSID's from my home office. Tonight most of them are showing up on channels 1, 2, 7, and 11.
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Old February 13th, 2012, 12:16 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Yes,I know how to adjust my channel on the router, did that years ago. I check it each year to confirm the neighbors aren't moving channels.

most devices don't dynamically change channels. My laptops and computers have to be adjusted via hardware settings. I'm just curious if anyone knows how to adjust them on the touchpad.

If you set your devices to the same channel as your router you get optimal performance in your network.

Is it assumed that Android is smart enough to dynamically change the channel based on the network we are on? I haven't seen any hard facts yet on this topic.=-/

obviously it's not mission critical, but every setting counts.
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Old February 13th, 2012, 03:36 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I've never had trouble with any device after changing channels on my router.

Changed them here a couple months ago and and my brother-in-laws a couple days ago without interruption, both on wpa2.
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Old February 13th, 2012, 08:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by IzelTokatl View Post
Yes,I know how to adjust my channel on the router, did that years ago. I check it each year to confirm the neighbors aren't moving channels.

most devices don't dynamically change channels. My laptops and computers have to be adjusted via hardware settings. I'm just curious if anyone knows how to adjust them on the touchpad.

If you set your devices to the same channel as your router you get optimal performance in your network.

Is it assumed that Android is smart enough to dynamically change the channel based on the network we are on? I haven't seen any hard facts yet on this topic.=-/

obviously it's not mission critical, but every setting counts.
Devices are typically quite adept at changing channels to match the SSID that they are connecting to. They should automatically choose the best channel being broadcast at the time that they first connect. If they didn't then you'd never be able to communicate between the two devices. Imagine what would happen if your router were broadcasting at 2.472mhz (channel 13) and your Android device were trying to communicate at 2.437mhz (channel 6). You would be unable to successfully connect and transfer data between the two devices...

List of WLAN channels - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Here in the U.S., commercial access points operating in the 5ghz band are actually required to support dynamic frequency selection (DFS). DFS basically means that the AP has to be smart enough to monitor the channel for radar signals. If it encounters them, it has to dynamically change itself to a different channel.

http://www.ntia.doc.gov/legacy/ntiahome/press/2003/5gHzAgreement.htm
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