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You are here: MacNN Forums > Enthusiast Zone > Networking > Helpful hint: Change the Channel

Helpful hint: Change the Channel
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Mac Enthusiast
Join Date: Apr 2002
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Mar 21, 2008, 09:02 AM
 
I have been asked time and time again by my mac friends about random dropouts and wireless slowdowns. Almost all of these can be fixed by changing the channel on your router. I have 4 wireless points in my neighborhood and all of them are set at the factory default (channel 6, I think). I was having big connectivity issues until I switched my channel to 10 (or 11) and all my problems just vanished. I am not sure why this info is so hard to find....I found only ONE entry on a google search of the problem (and even that was a few pages in, though, knowing me, it is possible I entered a vague search). Just a heads up to the newbies out there.
The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away
     
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Mar 21, 2008, 02:19 PM
 
Ditto. Air Moose is a good app to see the channels used by other networks.
     
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Mar 21, 2008, 06:07 PM
 
That's an excellent point. I have in in my "FAQ-lite" stuck at the top of the forum, but it doesn't stand out, and maybe it should. It's quick, easy, free, and if it doesn't fix the problem you probably haven't hurt anything anyway.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
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Mar 22, 2008, 03:41 AM
 
Another good app is iStumbler.
The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away
     
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Mar 22, 2008, 01:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by Ratspittle View Post
Another good app is iStumbler.
iStumbler, AirStumbler, Air Moose... They all do the same thing. I suggested Air Moose because it's what I have installed - because it has the most recent update. Not that that especially means anything. A '99 Mercedes is much better and cooler than an '07 Kia (with all due respect to the lucky Kia owners out there).
     
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Mar 25, 2008, 11:11 AM
 
<>I have 4 wireless points in my neighborhood and all of them are set at the factory default (channel 6, I think).

AFAIK Apple defaults to channel 1 - perhaps just for the reason you note. Thanks for the tip and the follow up about AirMoose.
     
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Mar 25, 2008, 12:32 PM
 
Also, WiFi channels overlap. There are really only three non-overlapping channels (in the US regulated spectrum): 1, 6, and 11.
     
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Mar 25, 2008, 04:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dork. View Post
Also, WiFi channels overlap. There are really only three non-overlapping channels (in the US regulated spectrum): 1, 6, and 11.
True, but unlike television channels, WiFi channels "hop." They use a process called "direct sequence, spread spectrum" to go from one specific, narrow frequency to another in a set sequence. This allows the channels to coexist pretty nicely, though adjacent channels have a bit more overlap of their hopping patterns than those that are farther apart. In general, if you choose a channel that's at least 2 off of some other network's channel (they're on 5 so you choose 3 or 7 for example) then you're safe, but I like to stay farther away.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
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Mar 27, 2008, 10:45 AM
 
Sort of related but my netgear router defaults to 108mbps on channel 6 (it's a b/g router and the 108 setting ony works on channel 6). My Wii wouldn't connect, so I changed it to g only and channel 11. Still didn't work so changed to channel 1 and voila! Wii now connects with no problem.
     
   
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