Nov 3, 2010

WiFi Channel Problems

Recently I have been struggling with my home wifi network, at least with my laptop. It seemed that every other machine in the house didn't have a problem. However, my laptop would perform erratic, at best. It would chug along then all network activity would freeze. I few minutes later it would start to flow again. I tried everything (or so I thought). I eventually ran a network cable down the stairs and into the office and wired my laptop. It solved the problem so I was sure it was wifi related. A friend of mine suggested using a spectrum analyzer to find what was the best channel to use. I was skeptical at first until I realized what all used wifi frequencies (cordless phones). Sure enough, when I changed to channel 12, I couldn't see anything at all. Then I tried channel 1 and all was right with the world.

Just to satisfy my curiosity, I searched out a wifi channel analyzer to test the channels and find the best available. There are a number of freeware choices out there for Mac and PC. When the report came in I was not too shocked to see that the channel I was using had the most interference. Channel 1 was pretty clear but channel 3 was clean. I quickly changed my WAP to use channel 3 and my problems are solved.