Wi-Fi network equipment is inclusive of client devices as well as broadband routers which use specific wireless channels to communicate over. The concept is similar to channels that were broadcasted on a TV set; each Wi-Fi channel is selected via a number that has been assigned to a specific radio frequency.
Wi-Fi devices automatically position and adjust the wireless channel numbers they will communicate over as a part of their communication protocol. Your operating system along with the utility software installed on your computers or routers routinely keep track of Wi-Fi channel settings that are being used.
Normally, users do not really need to worry over these settings. However, the issue arises that users and administrators can need to change the Wi-Fi channel numbers to avoid certain situations.
2.4 G-Hz Wi-Fi Channel Numbers
Wi-Fi equipment that is available in the United States and North America normally features eleven channels that are on the 2.4 G-Hz band. Channel 1 on these programmed devices operates on an average frequency of around 2.412 G-Hz
Guide to Wi-Fi Network Equipment
Channel 11 functions at a frequency of 2.462 G-Hz. Other channels function at frequencies that are evenly spread out at 5 M-Hz (0.005 G-Hz) intervals.
Wi-Fi gear available in other countries of the world support extra channels 12 and 13 which run at the higher frequency level of 2.467 G-Hz and 2.472 G-Hz respectively. Some countries have additional restrictions and allowances that are mentioned below:
2.4 G-Hz Wi-Fi technology supports 14 channels, even though channel 14 is useable only on old and outdated 802.11b equipment available in Japan.
Because each 2.4 G-Hz Wi-Fi channel requires signaling band space of around 22 M-Hz wide, the radio frequencies that neighboring channel numbers emit can overlap each other significantly.
5 G-Hz Wi-Fi Channel Numbers
The benefit of a 5 G-Hz band is that it offers more channels than 2.4 G-Hz Wi-Fi. To better its frequencies, the 5 G-Hz equipment restricts the available channel numbers to pre specified numbers that fall within larger ranges. Popular 5 G-Hz wireless channel include 36, 40, 44, going up to 48 in some countries while other numbers do not have support.
Why Would You Want to Change Wi-Fi Channel Numbers
Home networks based in the United States utilize routers that run on a pre determined channel 6 on the 2.4 G-Hz band. If you have neighboring Wi-Fi home connections that run using the same channels, it generates radio interference that can cause major network performance slow downs. Re configuration of a network so that it runs over different wireless channels can help minimize such problems.
Change Wi-Fi Channel Numbers
To manually change the channel on your home wireless routers, log onto the configuration page of the router and look for the setting termed “Channel” and/ or “Wireless Channel.” Most of these confirmation pages provide a drop down list of the supported channel numbers for that device.
Other devices connected on any local network will auto detect the changes and automatically adjust the channel numbers so that they match the number on the router with no action on your part. But if the devices do not start working after you have changed the router’s number, you will have to log in manually and update each and every device’s channel number manually.
Choosing the Finest Wi-Fi Channel Number
Many environments have Wi-Fi connections that perform uniformly well on any specified channel, but you may be better off leaving the network settings to the default settings and not make any changes at all. Performance along with reliability of the connection is bound to vary vastly across channels, but this factor depends on the sources and number of radio interferences and the frequencies they use. Not a single channel number has been known to be inherently “best” amongst others.
Many users prefer to set their 2.4 G-Hz networks on 1 or 11 or 13 channels so they can avoid interference from other nearby home channels that are by default on channel 6. But the issue arises if all home owners shift to channel 1 causing noise on the channel least used. This can lead to extreme cases where the neighbors will have to coordinate their channel number so they do not overlap!
More technically inclined home administrators run software for network analysis can test any local areas for currently in use wireless signals providing you with a safe and secure fast channel to set your device on. The “Wi-Fi Analyzer” application for Android users is one of the good examples of such applications. This application plots results of signal sweeps conducted on graphs with recommendations for appropriate channel settings with the gentle push of a button. Varying Wi-Fi analyzer software also exists for all other types of platforms. One of these, the “inSSIDer” utility application is also accessible on non-Android based platforms. Less technically savvy users or those who do not wish to download any apps can try and test each of the available wireless channels individually, picking one that works.
Keep in mind that signal interference can vary over time, what seems to be the perfect channel one day can deteriorate the next. Administrators need to periodically monitor the environment they are in to keep a check on conditions that may have changed and update their Wi-Fi channels accordingly.