If you live in an apartment complex, you’ve probably noticed more than just the passive-aggressive online identifiers your neighbors are using — it’s very likely that you’ve had issues with your wireless connections dropping out or just not as fast as yours» . I like This is often related to the Wi-Fi channels in your area.
If you’re on the same Wi-Fi channel as many of your neighbors, you’ll experience a lot of interference on their networks, so it’s best to choose a different channel with fewer people. When you do this, you will reduce this interference and improve your Wi-Fi signal.
However, the first step is to find out which channel is the least congested in your area. These tools will help you determine which nearby networks are using which channels.
Please note that Wi-Fi channels overlap with adjacent channels. Channels 1, 6, and 11 are most commonly used for 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, and these three are the only ones that don’t overlap with each other.
Windows: NirSoft WifiInfoView
We previously recommended inSSIDer for this on Windows, but this has become paid software. You probably don’t want to pay $20 to figure out which Wi-Fi channel is ideal, so use a free tool instead.
Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector is very powerful, but it’s a bit overkill for that. Instead, we liked NIrSoft’s WifiInfoView — its simple interface gets the job done and doesn’t require installation. Run the tool, find the channel title and click it to sort by Wi-Fi channel. Here we can see that channel 6 looks a little cluttered — we could have switched to channel 1 instead.
Mac: Wireless Diagnostics
Believe it or not, macOS has this feature built in. To access it, hold down the Option key and click the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar at the top of the screen. Select Open Wireless Diagnostics.
Ignore the wizard that appears. Instead, click the Window menu and choose Utilities.
Select the Wi-Fi Scan tab and click Scan Now. The Best 2.4GHz Channels and Best 5GHz Channels fields will list the ideal Wi-Fi channels to use on the router.
Linux: iwlist command
You can use a graphical application like Wifi Radar for Linux for this, but you will need to install it first. Instead, you can just use the terminal. The command here is installed by default on Ubuntu and other popular Linux distributions, so this is the fastest way. Don’t be afraid of the terminal!
Open Terminal and run the following command:
sudo iwlist wlan0 scan | grep \ (Channel
Read the output of the command to see which channels are the most congested and make a decision. In the screenshot below, channel 1 appears to be the least congested.
Android: WiFi Analyzer
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If you want to search for Wi-Fi channels on your phone instead of your computer, the easiest app we’ve found to use is Wifi Analyzer on Android. Just install the free app from Google Play and run it. You’ll see an overview of the wireless networks in your area and what channels they use.
Click on the «View» menu and select «Channel Rating». The app will display a list of Wi-Fi channels and a star rating — the one with the most stars in the best. The app will actually tell you which Wi-Fi channels are best for your Wi-Fi network, so you can go directly to your router’s web interface and choose the perfect one.
iOS: Airport Utility
Update A: We’ve been told that you can do this with Apple’s own AirPort Utility app. Enable and use the «Wi-Fi Scanner» feature inside the app.
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This is not possible on iPhone and iPad. Apple restricts apps from accessing this Wi-Fi data directly from the hardware, which is why you can’t get an app like Android Wifi Analyzer from the Apple App Store.
If you are jailbreaking, you can install an app like Cydia’s WiFi Explorer or WiFiFoFum to get this feature on your iPhone or iPad. These tools moved to Cydia after Apple downloaded them from the official App Store.
You probably don’t want to go through the hassle of jailbreaking just for this, so use one of the other tools instead.
How to change the Wi-Fi channel of your router
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Once you’ve found the least congested channel, changing the channel your router uses should be easy. First, log in to your router’s web interface in a web browser. Go to the Wi-Fi settings page, find the «Wi-Fi channel» option and select a new Wi-Fi channel. This option may also be on some «Advanced Settings» page.
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If too many other nearby networks are interfering with your signal, try installing a 5GHz capable router (such as «dual-band»). 5GHz Wi-Fi channels are farther apart and won’t interfere with each other much.