How to Find the Best Wi-Fi Channel for Your Router on Any Operating System

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Key Takeaways

  • Wi-Fi channels are nan frequencies that Wi-Fi routers usage to transmit and person signals. Different channels person different wave ranges.
  • Overlapping Wi-Fi channels tin origin interference and consequence successful mediocre performance. Channels 1, 6, and 11 are nan astir often utilized channels for 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi and do not overlap pinch each other.
  • To amended your Wi-Fi signal, take a little congested transmission by utilizing devices for illustration NirSoft WifiInfoView for Windows, Wireless Diagnostics for Mac, nan iwlist Command for Linux, aliases Wifi Analyzer for Android.

If you unrecorded successful an flat complex, aliases anyplace other pinch a batch of wireless networks, you've astir apt noticed much than conscionable nan passive-aggressive web IDs that your neighbors usage — you've astir apt had problems pinch your wireless connections dropping out, aliases conscionable not being arsenic accelerated arsenic you'd like. This often has to do pinch nan Wi-Fi channels successful your area.

What is simply a Wi-Fi Channel?

Your Wi-Fi router is conceptually akin to nan power you person successful your car. Just for illustration a radio, Wi-Fi routers transmit and person astatine definite frequencies. If you tune successful to nan correct wave connected a radio, you'll perceive music. If you don't, you'll perceive static, aliases thing astatine all. Consumer routers person 3 awesome frequencies they run on: 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz.

However, not each azygous spot is really transmitted astatine immoderate of those frequencies. Instead, location are really a scope of frequencies used, and those different frequencies are named channels. For example, 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi has 14 different channels:

There are immoderate mini differences successful wave betwixt DSSS and OFDM. This floor plan uses nan OFDM values.

Channel Number

Frequency Range (in Gigahertz aliases GHz)


2.402 – 2.422


2.407 – 2.427


2.412 – 2.432


2.417 – 2.437


2.422 – 2.442


2.427 – 2.447


2.432 – 2.452


2.437 – 2.457


2.442 – 2.462


2.447 – 2.467


2.452 – 2.472


2.457 – 2.477


2.462 – 2.482


2.472 – 2.492

Note that Wi-Fi channels overlap pinch adjacent channels. Channels 1, 6, and 11 are nan astir often utilized for 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, and these 3 are nan only ones that don't overlap pinch each other. 5GHz has astir 130 channels disposable betwixt 5GHz and 5.8GHz, and 6GHz Wi-Fi has much than 200 disposable betwixt 5.9GHz and 7.1GHz. The other breathing room successful 5GHz and 6GHz Wi-Fi intends location are much channels pinch nary overlap, which tends to lead to amended performance. So, really does each of this impact really accelerated and reliable your Wi-Fi web is?

Not each frequencies tin beryllium utilized successful immoderate fixed jurisdiction. For example, channels 12, 13, and 14 are not utilized successful nan United States.

Why Does My Wi-Fi Channel Matter?

At nan extremity of nan day, Wi-Fi is simply a wireless signal, conscionable for illustration nan power you person successful your car, and it is taxable to akin problems.

You've astir apt had nan acquisition of "dialing in" a power position earlier — you tin kinda perceive nan euphony astatine 95, but it sounds wrong, disorted. You tune up to 95.1 and bam. You're getting clear music. Other times, you whitethorn person been betwixt cities and noticed that you're proceeding 2 overlapping songs connected nan aforesaid frequency!

Wi-Fi routers are a small spot for illustration that. When aggregate routers are trying to "talk" connected nan aforesaid channel, nan accusation transmitted becomes jumbled, overmuch for illustration erstwhile 2 power stations broadcast different euphony connected nan aforesaid channel. However, because Wi-Fi transmits truthful overmuch information digitally, you don't really get amusing mashups for illustration you do pinch overlapping power stations — you get garbled nonsense. Of course, routers and wireless devices are smart capable to observe that location is simply a problem, and location are a number of ways they compensate for it. It is their attempts to compensate that often consequence successful mediocre performance.

If your wireless router is connected nan aforesaid Wi-Fi transmission arsenic a batch of your neighbors, you'll acquisition a batch of interference pinch their networks — truthful it's champion to take a different transmission pinch less group connected it. When you do, you'll trim that interference and improve your WI-Fi signal.

The first step, though, is uncovering retired which transmission is slightest congested successful your area. These devices will thief you place which adjacent networks are utilizing which channels.

Windows: NirSoft WifiInfoView

There a number of programs you tin usage connected Windows to way down what channels are being utilized astir you, but we for illustration Nirsoft's WifiInfoView. It tin beryllium tally straight from nan executable without installing it, it is lightweight, and NirSoft is simply a reputable institution that has been making Windows utilty programs since nan Windows Millenium Edition (ME) era.

WifiInfoView's elemental interface presents everything you request to cognize successful 1 screen. Launch nan tool, find nan Channel header, and click it to benignant by Wi-Fi channel. Here, we tin spot that transmission 6 looks a spot cluttered — we mightiness want to move to transmission 1 instead.

A ample number of Wi-Fi networks displayed successful WifiInfoView.

Mac: Wireless Diagnostics

Believe it aliases not, macOS really has this characteristic integrated. To entree it, clasp nan Option cardinal and click nan Wi-Fi icon connected nan paper barroom astatine nan apical of your screen. Select "Open Wireless Diagnostics."

Hold nan

Ignore nan wizard that appears. Instead, click nan Window paper and prime "Utilities".

Click nan

Select nan Wi-Fi Scan tab and click Scan Now. The "Best 2.4 GHz Channels" and "Best 5 GHz" Channels" fields will urge nan perfect Wi-Fi channels you should beryllium utilizing connected your router.

List of bully Wi-Fi channels

Linux: The iwlist Command

You could usage a graphical app for illustration Wifi Radar for this connected Linux, but you'd person to instal it first. Instead, you mightiness arsenic good conscionable usage nan terminal. The bid present is installed by default connected Ubuntu and different popular Linux distributions, truthful it's nan fastest method. Don't fearfulness nan terminal!

Open a Terminal and tally nan pursuing command:

sudo iwlist wlan0 scan | grep \(Channel

You should spot an output akin to this:

The channels utilized by adjacent Wi-Fi networks.

Read nan output of nan bid to spot which channels are nan astir congested and make your decision.

If you get an correction informing you that wlan0 has a problem, cannot scan, aliases thing akin to that, your Wi-Fi adapter mightiness person a different name. In our case, nan Wi-Fi adapter was

In nan screenshot below, transmission 1 looks nan slightest congested.

Android: Wifi Analyzer

If you want to hunt for Wi-Fi channels connected your telephone alternatively of your PC, nan easiest-to-use exertion we've recovered is Wifi Analyzer connected Android. Just instal nan free app from Google Play and motorboat it. You'll spot an overview of nan wireless networks successful your area and which channels they're using.

Tap nan icon that looks for illustration 3 stars to show a database of Wi-Fi channels and a prima standing — nan 1 pinch nan astir stars successful nan best. The app will really show you which Wi-Fi channels are amended for your Wi-Fi network, truthful you tin spell consecutive to your router's web interface and take nan perfect one.

Select nan set you want to use, past statement which has nan astir stars.

iOS: Airport Utility

The safest measurement to scan Wi-Fi channels connected an iPhone aliases iPad is pinch Apply's ain AirPort Utility application.

Open nan Settings app, scroll down AirPort Utility, and past unfastened up nan AirPort Utility settings. Tap nan toggle adjacent to "Wi-Fi Scanner."

Tap nan toggle adjacent to

Once you've done that, unfastened up nan AirPort Utility app and click "Scan." You'll spot a database of Wi-Fi networks, their MAC addresses (hidden successful grey successful nan image), and nan transmission nan devices are using.

Wi-Fi networks and their channels displayed successful nan AirPort Utility.

Outside of nan AirPort Utility, it isn't imaginable to get transmission accusation connected iPhones and iPads. Apple restricts apps from accessing this Wi-Fi information straight from nan hardware, truthful you can't get an app for illustration Android's Wifi Analyzer connected Apple's App Store.

If you jailbreak, you tin instal an app for illustration WiFi Explorer aliases WiFiFoFum from Cydia to get this functionality connected your iPhone aliases iPad. These devices moved to Cydia aft Apple booted them from nan charismatic App Store.

You astir apt wouldn't want to spell done nan problem of jailbreaking conscionable for this, truthful usage 1 of nan different devices present instead.

How Do You Change Your Wi-Fi Channel?

Once you've recovered nan slightest congested channel, changing nan transmission your router uses should beryllium simple. First, log into your router's web interface successful your web browser. Click complete to nan Wi-Fi settings page, find nan "Wi-Fi Channel" option, and take your caller Wi-Fi channel. This action whitethorn beryllium connected immoderate benignant of "Advanced Settings" page, too.

This will beryllium very different betwixt different router models. Just flick astir nan personification interface, aliases find nan instructions for your circumstantial router exemplary connected nan internet. You whitethorn request to usage your router's app to make this alteration if you person an Xfinity modem and router combo unit.


If location are excessively galore different adjacent networks interfering pinch your signal, effort getting a router that supports 5 GHz (like a "Dual Band" router). 5 GHz Wi-Fi channels are farther isolated and won't interfere pinch each different arsenic much.

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