If you and a neighbor are both using the same network channel for your wireless network, the wireless signals can interfere with one another and slow down your connection.

Before we dive into detecting and resolving channel conflict issues, let’s review the available channels in both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz band. In the 2.4 GHz band, there are only three available channels (1, 6, and 11). In addition, since 802.11 was initially only in the 2.4 GHz band, it’s quite crowded today with wireless networks and devices.

The 5 GHz band offers far more usable channels than 2.4 GHz – approximately 13 usable non-DFS channels (and more, if your wireless access point supports DFS). In addition, 5 GHZ is currently used by fewer devices, so there are fewer noise and interference issues.

When you set up your wireless access point, you can use a scanner to look at the spectrum in your area. For example, if your network is operating in the 2.4 GHz band, you might notice that another network is already using channel 6. In this case, either channel 1 or 11 would be a better choice.

If you have an existing WiFi network and you suspect interference from another network, you can scan the spectrum for activity on each channel. If you notice that your network and another network are on the same channel, try switching your router to a different channel.

Consumer wireless scanner tools are free and readily available for download.

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