General Question

qnex's avatar

What is the criteria for selecting the best Wi-Fi channel?

Asked by qnex (4points) March 6th, 2015

Out of the 3 non-overlapping channels (1, 6, 11) of the 2.4Ghz frequency on my wireless access point, I have a choice of selecting channel 1 which is the least used channel but it has 1 or 2 wifi hotspots with strong signals or I have the choice of selecting channel 6 which has more wifi hotspots than channel 1 but are all weak signals. 11 isn’t an option at all because it has much more users than 6. So it is a choice between either channel 1 or channel 6.

So what is the best channel to select on my wireless access point? A channel with weak signals but much more users on it? Or a channel that has much less users on it but has 1 or 2 wifi hotspots with strong signals on it? Will 1 or 2 stronger signals interfere much more with my wifi than a channel with weak signals but much more users on it?

Interestingly, when I set my wireless access point to auto wifi channel selection, it ends up selecting channel 1 which is the channel with the least amount of wifi hotspots but 1 or 2 strong signals. It would seem, then, that the wireless access point’s algorithm is more concerned about channel congestion than a strong signal interference.

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4 Answers

jerv's avatar

I find that the non-overlapping ones are more reliable. Remember, you want your signal, and other transmitters on the same channel can make your signal harder to get when you’re picking one of the many on the same channel.

With that in mind, I generally use 4, 5, 8 or 9 as those are the ones that I rarely see used when I fire up Wifi Analyzer on my phone. Trust me, having your own channel is useful.

FYI, the reason most use 1, 6, or 11 is just that those are default settings, and few people change them. Most people just plug-and-go, while some of the smarter ones set up a password, but few bother changing channels.

majorrich's avatar

I go with @jerv on this one. Find the least populated channel and go with that. If your analyzer finds many weak ones or a couple of strong ones it is better to go with the stronger signals because the packet information will be clearer and fewer. Your router will have fewer collisions and errors, faster.

dabbler's avatar

I agree to steer clear of common defaults and find the least trafficked channel you can.

RocketGuy's avatar

I use Inssider to check channel strength then check transmit speed.

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