If you live in a crowded place (i.e., if you have many close neighbors or you live in a flat), everyone’s routers will compete for space to work efficiently. This works because there are different Wi-Fi channels, so no overlapping signal might cause problems. Now, some routers are smart and automatically switch channels to avoid conflict with other networks. However, in some cases, you’ll have to make the switch manually to eliminate problems like slow speeds.
The actual steps might change slightly, but, in general, to switch Wi-Fi channels on a PC, open up the web browser and log into the router. Go to “Wireless Settings” and click the “Channels” drop-down menu. Choose the best channel from the list that appears and click “Save”.
Read on to learn about Wi-Fi channels and how to speed up your internet connection by choosing the right channel.
What Are Wi-Fi Channels?
Most Wi-Fi routers work (i.e., send data) either on the 2.4 GHz band or the 5 GHz frequency band. Both bands are divided into different channels and then used for data transfer over a Wi-Fi network.
The best way to understand bands and channels is to think of the former as highways and the latter as lanes on the highways. In this scenario, you’re the data, and if you want to get to your destination quickly, you’ll choose a lane with the least traffic.
When it comes to the 2.4 GHz band, the best channels are 1, 6, and 11 since they don’t overlap with one another. Meanwhile, regarding the 5 GHz band, you can choose from 24 non-overlapping channels.
By default, most routers make use of the same channel. If you don’t change the Wi-Fi channel, your router will continue using the same channel your neighbors use, slowing down your Wi-Fi signals. The good news is that you can easily switch Wi-Fi channels.
How To Find the Best Wi-Fi Channel
Before you go ahead and make the switch, you need to determine which channel you need to switch to. You can do this with the help of different Wi-Fi scanning apps like Wi-Fi Analyzer or programs like NetSpot for Mac and Windows.
Such programs work in different ways, but the basics are similar. You’ll see an option to choose between the 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz bands and a graph showing signal strength and how crowded it is. This can help you decide which channel you should opt for.
The signal strength is measured in dBm – the lower the number, the better. Usually, the best you can get is -30, but anything around -60 is pretty good. Ideally, the signal strength should be at least -67 dBm.
How To Switch Wi-Fi Channels on a PC
Switching Wi-Fi channels on your PC is quite easy, but you need to remember that each router is different, so the steps mentioned below might be slightly different than what you might have to do for your router.
You have to start by opening your preferred web browser and entering the router’s IP address.
If you don’t know your IP address, you can find it in your router’s user manual or at the bottom of the device. If not, don’t worry. Open up “Command Prompt” and type in
ipconfig. You will get a good chunk of text. Here, look for the “default gateway address”. This is your IP address.
Once you have the IP address, follow these steps.
- Input the IP address on your address/URL bar and hit Enter. You might see a warning screen but don’t worry about it. Just click “Advanced”> “Proceed”.
- You will see a screen asking you for the username and password. By default, the username and password will likely be “admin”. But if that doesn’t work, you can find the username and password usually on the underside of the router itself. Or, if you know the exact router model, you can look up the login credentials online.
- Go to “Wireless Settings”. The location and name of this option might differ depending on the router. Sometimes, you might have to go to “Advanced Settings” first.
- Choose the frequency band for which you want to change the channel. Make sure you also turn off the auto-connect feature if it is switched on.
- Click the “Channels” drop-down menu and choose the Wi-Fi channel you want.
- Click “Apply” or “Save”.
Keep in mind that applying the changes might reboot your router, so don’t worry if you lose your connection for a few minutes.
Changing your Wi-Fi channel can help boost your speed, especially if your Wi-Fi signals go from superfast to extremely slow in minutes. Such unpredictable signals can get annoying, especially since they make it difficult to watch your favorite shows or get any work done. But with the steps above, you can find the best channel for you, switch from your current channel to the new one, and enjoy better speeds.