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Change the Wi-Fi Channel Number to Avoid Interference

Choosing the best channel to avoid wireless radio interference

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Most Wi-Fi wireless home networks transmit their signals in a narrow radio frequency range around 2.4 GHz. Various other electronic devices in a home, such as cordless phones, garage door openers, baby monitors, and microwave ovens, may also use this same frequency range. Any such device can interfere with a wireless home network, slowing down its performance and potentially breaking network connections.

Likewise, the wireless networks of neighbors generally all use the same form of radio signaling. Especially in residences that share walls with each other, interference between different home networks is not uncommon.

The 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi signal range is divided into a number of smaller bands or channels, similar to television channels. In most countries, Wi-Fi equipment provides a set of available channels to choose from. In the United States, for example, any of the Wi-Fi channels 1 through 11 can be chosen when setting up a wireless LAN (WLAN). Setting this Wi-Fi channel number appropriately provides one way to avoid sources of wireless interference.

Many wireless products in the U.S. ship with a default Wi-Fi channel of 6. If encountering interference from other devices within the home, consider changing the channel up or down to avoid it. Note that all Wi-Fi devices on the network must use the same channel.

Unlike television channels, some Wi-Fi channel numbers overlap with each other. Channel 1 uses the lowest frequency band and each subsequent channel increases the frequency slightly. Therefore, the further apart two channel numbers are, the less the degree of overlap and likelihood of interference. If encountering interference with a neighbor's WLAN, change to a distant channel. Both channels 1 and 11 do not overlap with the default channel 6; use one of these three channels for best results.

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