How to Find The Best Wi-Fi Channel For Your Router

We all rely on Wi-Fi to connect to the internet at home but if you live in an apartment or have a lot of close neighbors all the routers will be competing for ‘space’.

Wi-Fi is designed for this and has different channels – like you’d find on walkie-talkies – so the signals don’t overlap and cause problems.

Some routers are smarter than others, and the best routers will automatically change channels as needed to avoid conflicts with neighboring networks. Others don’t, and this is where you can run into issues like very slow speeds when browsing the web or constant buffering when trying to watch something on Netflix.

There may be another problem, and changing the Wi-Fi channels won’t fix it. But if you’re sure it’s not your broadband provider or device (it’s always worth restarting your router and devices as a quick fix), then you should consider and find out if multiple Wi-Fi networks are using the same channel.

If poor Wi-Fi coverage is causing the problem, it can be fixed by purchasing a mesh Wi-Fi kit – such as the great value TP-Link Deco E4 – but if you can see the device My device has a strong Wi-Fi signal, the slow speed may be due to interference.

You probably know that Wi-Fi can use two main frequencies, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, and has a choice of channels on each. The best Wi-Fi channel is the one that is not used by all your neighbors.

By manually switching to a less crowded channel or one currently not used by any other network, your Wi-Fi will be greatly improved. We’ll show you how to determine which channels are the most viewed and how to change channels on your router.

How to know if a Wi-Fi channel is busy and free?

You need to discover what channels are being used, and you can do this with a free Android app called WiFi Analyzer. There is a similar one available for Windows 10.

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There’s no direct equivalent for iOS, and apps in Apple’s App Store aren’t allowed to report signal strength either, so it’s best to use the Android or Windows app.

Start by making sure your phone or tablet is connected to a Wi-Fi network (instead of 3G or 4G), then open the app. You can tap on 2.4GHz and 5GHz at the top to see how crowded each channel and channel your network is currently using, plus how strong the signal is where you’re currently standing.

Note: Signal strength is measured in dBm and lower values ​​are better. -30 is the best you can get, but anything down to -60 is a good signal. The minimum you want is -67dBm.

The app displays a graph of all the Wi-Fi networks in range and uses different colors to represent each. You can also see the channels they are currently using along with the strength of the signal (higher curve is stronger signal).

This will tell you whether your network has a strong or weak signal and whether the channel is currently set to crowded. This will help you decide which channel you need to use. It is worth noting that out of the 13 channels, all but 1, 6 and 11 overlap. So choose a channel as far away from your neighbors as possible.

Wifi Analyzer android

It’s the top (highest point) of the parabola that tells you which channel it’s using. In the example above you can see that the 2.4GHz frequency is very crowded and there is no clear ‘best’ channel number. Our network was set to channel 6 and had the strongest signal, but the other three still overlapped.

If your router and device (phone, laptop, tablet – whatever you’re using) also support 5GHz, it’s worth considering that that band is less crowded. Some routers have two distinct network names that make it easy to identify which network, but others broadcast a unique name and your phone decides which network to connect to. This isn’t great as it means you won’t be able to control which band it uses.

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If possible, look for the setting in your router’s Wi-Fi preferences to check if you can force it to show the 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks separately so you can manually connect to the 5GHz network .

Both your router and phone must support 5GHz Wi-Fi for this feature to work.

TIP: To prevent your phone and other devices from reconnecting to the crowded 2.4GHz Wi-Fi and using only 5GHz, you need to go into the Wi-Fi settings on each device, find the list of networks and Wi-Fi 2 ,4GHz Fi network your router is broadcasting. Select ‘Forgot this network’ and it won’t be able to connect until you re-enter the password.

After doing this, your device will only connect to the router’s 5GHz Wi-Fi, but keep in mind that 5GHz is not good for long distances and is usually slower than 2.4GHz when you are far away from the router mine.

How do I change my router’s Wi-Fi channel?

You need to log in to your router’s web interface. This can be done by opening a web browser and entering the router’s IP address. This number will be printed in your router’s documentation or possibly on the bottom of the device itself.

Otherwise, open Command Prompt in Windows (PowerShell in newer versions) and type ‘ipconfig’ without the quotes. Now look through the resulting text for the default gateway address. This is your router’s IP address and should be similar to For more help, check out our guide on how to connect to your router.

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Prompt Cmd - Router IP Address

Using this default gateway address, type it in the search bar in your browser and your router admin page will be displayed.

Next, you will be asked to enter your password (possibly username) and again, the password will be printed on the router itself, on the included sticker or card, or in the manual. Ideally, you should change the default password to prevent anyone else from accessing the settings.

From the displayed web page, look for the Wi-Fi settings. The channel number can be selected via the drop-down menu. Note that if your router operates on 2.4GHz and 5GHz, you’ll have to choose a separate channel for each.

Here you can see the router is using channel 6 for 2.4GHz and 36 for 5GHz. It says Smart (Channel 6) because it will automatically switch to another channel when there is interference. If your router cannot do this, you can manually select the channel number.

How to find the best Wi-Fi channel for your router

The exact location of the option will vary depending on the router manufacturer.

Make sure you save the settings before leaving the site and your router can reboot to apply the changes.

Hopefully this fixes your problem, but in places, such as an apartment block where a lot of networks are in close proximity, you might have a hard time finding a better channel.

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