Is your WiFi slow because of interference?

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How to prevent WiFi interference

Posted on 25 September 2014 by Beaming Support

Are you struggling with slow wifi?

When your wireless connection to the internet isn’t working well on a windows machine, we typically look at the signal, and if it’s low we move closer to the router and this fixes our problem.

However, should that not work, we can dive in a little deeper.

First we’ll look into wireless channels, and how if they are vastly taken up, it can disrupt the quality of your connection; not just for a single user, but almost everyone on the same Wireless LAN (WLAN).

Wireless Channels

Wireless runs off the radio wave frequency, and due to regulations this is tied down to the 2.4Gz & 5Gz ranges, with some variations of that frequency due to the channels. There are 11 channels to choose from when using 2.4Gz which splits up the signal slightly, enough to avoid collisions from other wireless networks. However, there are 3 that you should be using: channels 1, 6 and 11. Why is this? The following diagram shows a rough idea of how this works.

Slow wifi - Possible channels

As you can see here, highlighted in blue, channels 1, 6 and 11 don’t overlap. Each channel is .005Ghz apart, but each channel takes up .025Ghz of space, so in order to have no overlap we need to select channels that are far enough apart from the other channels to avoid interference..
Now that’s out of the way, we can get an understanding of why slow connections can occur. Sometimes when you are at home and you notice the network is running slowly, it could be because you and your neighbours are using the same channel for wireless connectivity. Although you are each connected to a different router with its own broadband connection, if 3 or 4 of you are on channel 1, streaming music and watching videos, there will be a lot of radio interference with the connections as you’ll all be broadcasting large streams of data on the same frequency. This can alter the radio waves that move through the air, thus causing corruption.

 

Finding Wireless Channels

But how do we find this information out, as your router will not likely show what channels your neighbours are taking up? There is a nifty command in windows that allows us to see all the networks in the area, including their channels:
Open command prompt and type in the command: netsh wlan show network mode=bssid

Slow wifif - find channels

Imagine that we are on network 2; we can see that there are two networks around us that are also on Channel 1, we don’t want this as it can minimise the speed that our WLAN can run at.

Changing the channel

If you wish to change the channel of your wireless connection, please head into your router’s advance wireless settings and manually set the channel to a less congested frequency to ensure that you get the best connection.

So, if you’re at a loss as to why you have slow wifi, think about the wireless channel that your router is running on as it might be congested. Failing that, there’s a possibility that your router is faulty, or the walls in your house are too thick.

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