What is a channel in an operating system

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If you live in an apartment complex, you've probably noticed more than just the passively-aggressive network IDs that your neighbors are using - very likely that you're having problems with your wireless connections dropping out or just not being as fast as you would like to have it. This often has to do with the WiFi channels in your area.

If you are on the same WiFi channel as many of your neighbors, you will notice a lot of interference on their networks - so it is best to choose a different channel with fewer people. Doing this will reduce this interference and improve your WiFi signal.

The first step is to find out which channel is the least congested in your area. These tools can help you determine which nearby networks are using which channels.

Note that Wi-Fi channels overlap with neighboring channels. Channels 1, 6, and 11 are most commonly used for 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, and these three are the only ones that don't overlap.

Windows: NirSoft WifiInfoView

We previously recommended inSSIDer for this is on Windows, but it has become paid software. You probably don't want to pay $ 20 just to find out which Wi-Fi channel is ideal, use a free tool instead.

Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector is very powerful, but it's a bit over the top. We like NIrSoft's WifiInfoView instead - its simple interface does the job and it doesn't require any installation. Launch the tool, find the Channel header and click on it to sort by WiFi channel. Here we can see that channel 6 seems a bit cluttered - we could switch to channel 1 instead.

Mac: Wireless Diagnostics

Believe it or not, macOS has this feature built in. To access it, hold the Option key and click the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar at the top of the screen. Select "Open Wireless Diagnostics".

Ignore the wizard that appears. Instead, click the Window menu and choose Utilities.

Select the Wi-Fi Scan tab and click Scan Now. The fields "Best 2.4 GHz Channels" and "Best 5 GHz Channels" recommend the ideal WLAN channels to use on your router.

Linux: the iwlist command

You can use a graphical app like Wifi Radar to do this on Linux, but you'd have to install it first. Instead, you can just use the terminal. The command here is installed by default on Ubuntu and other major Linux distributions, so it's the fastest method. Don't be afraid of the terminal!

Open a terminal and run the following command:

sudo iwlist wlan0 scan | grep (channel

Read the output of the command to see which channels are most congested and make your decision. In the screenshot below, channel 1 looks the least congested.

Android: Wifi Analyzer

RELATED: This gives you a better wireless signal and reduces network interference

If you want to search for Wi-Fi channels on your phone instead of your PC, Wifi Analyzer is the easiest application to use, just install and launch the free app from Google Play. You will get an overview of the wireless networks in your area and the channels they are using.

Tap the View menu and select Channel Rating You will get a list of WiFi channels and a star rating - the most star in the best. The app will tell you which Wi-Fi channels are more suitable for your Wi-Fi network using your router's web interface and choose the ideal one.

iOS: Jailbreakers only

CONNECTION: Jailbreaking Explained: What You Need To Know About Jailbreaking iPhones and iPads

This is not possible on iPhones and iPads. Apple limits apps' access to this Wi-Fi data directly from the hardware, so you can't get an app like Android's Wifi Analyzer in the Apple App Store.

When you jailbreak, you can install an app like WiFi Explorer or WiFiFoFum Cydia to get this functionality on your iPhone or iPad. These tools moved to Cydia after Apple launched them from the official App Store.

Not only would you likely go through the difficulties of jailbreaking, but use one of the other tools instead.

How to change your router's Wi-Fi channel

RELATED: 10 Useful Options You can configure the web interface of your router

Once you find the channel with the least amount of storage space, the channel your router is using should simply be changed. First log into the web interface of your router in your web browser. Click the WiFi Settings page, find the WiFi Channel option and choose your new WiFi channel. This option may also be on a page on the Advanced Settings page.

RELATED: What's the difference between 2.4 and 5 Ghz Wi-Fi (and what should I use?)

If too many other nearby networks are interfering with your signal, try a router that supports 5 GHz (like a "dual band" router). 5 GHz Wi-Fi channels are further apart and do not interfere as much.


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