Wi-Fi radio waves, like any radio waves are susceptible to interference when an adjacent network is transmitting on the same channel.

When two people talk in the same language and the same pitch, it is hard to follow either one of them.

With Wi-Fi you can change the frequency (the pitch) and help equipment differentiate between different networks.

In UK there are 13 channels allocated by Ofcom for home and business use: 1 to 13, but going for just any channel may not be a wise choice.

Avoid channels 12 and 13 altogether

These channels are available in UK and should work correctly, but they are not legal in US & Canada and some equipment designed for North America in mind simply will not see a Wi-Fi network on channels 12 or 13 – for example some Toshiba laptops are known culprits.

Choose channels 1, 6 or 11 – the safe bet

Although Wi-Fi signal is a digital method of communication, radio waves used to carry this signal are not perfect and as all analogue devices do not just fit perfectly on the allocated channel.

Wi-Fi Channel Diagram

For example a network transmitting on channel 6 also strongly interferes with adjacent channels 5 and 7 and a little less with channels 4 and 8.

A wise choice is to stick to know good channels 1, 6 and 11, avoiding any cross-channel interference at all – these channel do not overlap and do not interfere with each other.

If other networks already use these channels, it is recommended to choose a channel with the lowest signal congestion but still stick to 1, 6 or 11 as new WiFi protocols can cope with same-channel interference.

Modern routers use any channel, and cause problems

Modern routers especially Zyxel make supplied by KC with new Lightstream installations pick any channel and immediately cause problems. It is recommended the channel is manually changed to 1, 6 or 11 in order to avoid interference.

How to see Wi-Fi channels of nearby networks

We recommend a free Windows program NirSoft WifiInfoView (click to download). Simply run the program and sort Wi-Fi networks by Average Signal and then choose the least used channel by the most powerful networks.

Wi-Fi networks and channels, program interface

In our case it’s obvious that “igscomputers.co.uk” Wi-Fi network should use channel 1, as channels 11 and 6 are already taken by adjacent networks with strong signals.

Professional Help

If you need professional help in order to setup your Wi-Fi connection, give us a call on 10482 441033 and we’d be glad to help.

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