If you suffer from frequent connection drops or not getting the speeds you expect, your router may be using a congested Wi-Fi channel. An overcrowded channel will prevent the Wi-Fi signals from moving smoothly, causing problems with your connection.
Fortunately, there are ways to find the best Wi-Fi channel near you and have your router use that channel. This way, your router uses the most efficient channel to pass on the signals and improve your connection.
You can use a variety of tools to find the best Wi-Fi channels on Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. In this guide, we will focus on Wi-Fi 2.4GHz channel numbers 1, 6 and 11. This is because these channels do not overlap.
Find the best Wi-Fi channel on Windows 10
On Windows 10, you can use one of the many Wi-Fi scanner tools to find the most efficient Wi-Fi channel in your area. These tools scan the networks around you and then let you analyze the reports. In these reports you can then find the least congested channel.
Here are two free apps you can use on Windows 10 to find the best Wi-Fi channel for your router.
Use WiFi Analyzer to find the best WiFi channel
WiFi Analyzer is a free app in the Microsoft Store that you can use to get information for the WiFi networks around you. The app first scans the nearby networks and then lets you check each network’s channel.
Using this data, you can find out the least congested Wi-Fi channel in your area and then use that channel with your router.
- Open the Microsoft Store and download the free WiFi analyzer app.
- Install and launch the app.
- Select the Networking tab at the top of the app.
- In the Networking tab, you will see a list of all the wireless networks around you with their channels.
- Find the least used channel. For example, in the screenshot, channel 8 is the least congested channel.
Use WifiInfoView to find the best wifi channel
WifiInfoView is another free app that you can use to scan wifi networks around you and get their channel information.
- Download and start the free WifiInfoView app on your PC. This is a portable app, so you don’t need to install it.
- In the app interface, select the column with the text Channel† This sorts the available Wi-Fi networks by the number of channels they use.
- See here which channel is used the least.
- go ahead and configure your router to use the least crowded channel from this list.
Find the best Wi-Fi channel on macOS
macOS comes with a built-in Wi-Fi analysis tool and you can use it to find the channel information for the nearby networks. This tool also immediately tells you which Wi-Fi channel to use, so you don’t have to dig.
- Press and hold the Choice key on your keyboard and select the Wi-Fi icon in your Mac’s menu bar.
- In the menu that opens, select Open Wireless Diagnostics†
- you see a Wireless Diagnostics window. Do not select anything in this window. Instead, select the Window † Scan option in the top menu bar.
- On the Scan window that opens, select Scan now At the bottom.
- You can now see all the nearby Wi-Fi networks along with the channels they are using.
- On the left side of the window, macOS tells you which channel to use for both your 2.4GHz and 5GHz routers. These channels are the best WiFi channels to use with your router.
Find the best Wi-Fi channel on Linux
On the various distributions of Linux, including Ubuntu, you can run a command from Terminal to get a list of Wi-Fi channels that your nearby networks use.
To do this:
- Open Terminal on your Linux computer.
- Type the following command and press Enter† sudo iwlist wlan0 scan | grep \(Channel
- The channel that appears least frequently in Terminal is the channel you should be using with your Wi-Fi router.
- You can now close your Terminal window.
Change the channel of your WiFi router
Because each router offers a unique settings menu, there is no exact set of instructions you can follow to change the Wi-Fi channel on your router.
However, you can use the following general steps to change your router’s Wi-Fi channel. The options in your particular router may not be the same as the steps below, but you’ll get an idea.
- Open your router’s settings page in your web browser. For most routers, you can do this by typing 192.168.1.1 in the address bar of your browser and press Enter†
- On the router login page, enter the correct credentials and select Okay† Using many routers administrator as the default username and password.
- Select wireless internet settings (or similar) in the top menu bar.
- Choose in the left sidebar Wireless Basic Settings†
- In the right pane, select the Channel drop down menu and choose the best wifi channel. Here, the best WiFi channel is the one you found to be the least congested in the above procedures.
- Save your changes by selecting Okay At the bottom.
- Navigate to the Maintenance tab at the top and select Restart the router† This will reboot your router.
And your wireless router is now using the most efficient Wi-Fi channel!
If you notice a difference in your Wi-Fi speeds or if the connection stops dropping, let us know in the comments below.