Having a Wi-Fi connection in the office can be incredibly beneficial. It can streamline communication, help with productivity and convenience, and improve customer satisfaction.
But for your office to get the most out of Wi-Fi, you need to set up a good wireless network that provides a strong and fast connection with minimal interference. One of the best ways to ensure a strong wireless connection is to choose the right Wi-Fi channel.
What Is A Wifi Channel?
A Wi-Fi channel is a frequency range within which wireless devices can communicate. The frequencies used by Wi-Fi networks are typically split into 14 channels in the 2.4 GHz band, 34 channels in the 5 GHz band, and up to 59 channels in the 6 GHz band.
Each frequency has its own specific bandwidth — the amount of data that can be transmitted over the channel. The higher the bandwidth, the faster your wireless connection will be. For example, the 2.4GHz band can support up to 11 Mbps, the 5 GHz band can support up to 54 Mbps, and the 6 GHz band can support up to 240 Mbps.
Importance Of Using The Right Wifi Channels
Choosing the best Wi-Fi channel for your network is incredibly important. The right channel can make a massive difference in performance, speed, and reliability. The wrong channel, however, can lead to interference from other nearby wireless networks or devices, such as cell phones or Bluetooth devices, which could lead to a slow connection or even data loss.
However, before choosing which channels to use, you'll want to choose the frequency. The frequency you choose will largely depend on the purpose of your network.
The 2.4GHz band is the most commonly used frequency, and it's generally best for devices that need a wide range, and speed isn’t as important, such as wireless printers. It's also suitable for basic activities, such as some web browsing, emailing, and basic file transfers.
It has the benefit of reaching further than other frequencies, which means that devices can be connected even when they're far away from the access point. This can benefit organizations that need to cover a large area with their wireless networks.
The drawback of the 2.4GHz band is that it's technically slower than the 5GHz band, and it can be more susceptible to interference from other wireless networks or devices. As a result, it's not ideal for activities that require high-speed data transfer, such as downloading large files or streaming video.
The 2.4GHz band typically consists of 14 channels, and the optimal channels to use are 1, 6, and 11 (or anything not set as a factory default if in a pinch).
The 5GHz band is a popular choice for activities that require fast data transfer, such as streaming video or downloading and uploading large files.
It also offers faster speeds than the 2.4GHz band, making it ideal for applications that need to quickly move large amounts of data, like downloading high-definition videos and video conferencing. The 5GHz band also offers more channels, which allows for better channel spacing and less interference.
However, the 5GHz band has a much shorter range than the 2.4GHz band, which means it's not ideal for devices that need to be connected from far away from the access point. This can be inconvenient for organizations with a large area to cover with their wireless networks. The result is that you will most likely need some additional access points, but not always.
The optimal channels to use on the 5GHz band are 36, 40, 44, 48, and 149-165.
The 6GHz band is a relatively new frequency and is especially beneficial for activities requiring short-range fast data transfer, such as wireless video conferencing. The 6GHz band also offers more channels than the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, which offer better channel spacing and less interference.
However, the 6GHz band has a much shorter range than the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. The devices you connect to a 6GHz network must support the 6GHz band.
The optimal channels to use on the 6GHz band are 40-59.
How To Change The WiFi Channel On Your Access Point
Fortunately, if your organization's needs change (or if you're having issues with the speed or reliability of your connection), changing the Wi-Fi channel is usually easy. The steps involved in changing the Wi-Fi channel vary according to the brand and model you have, but the general process is as follows:
- Open Your Web Browser
- Type The APs IP Address
- Log In Using Your Credentials
- Open Wireless Settings
- Click Channels & Change To Your Desired Channel
- Save Your Changes
Keep in mind that doing it this way is a bit of a guessing game, and the more APs you have, the more difficult this becomes, exponentially. There is a better solution.
How WiFi Site Survey Helps Discover The Best Wifi Channel
A Wi-Fi site survey is an important way to help identify the optimal channels for your environment and ensure you get the best connection possible. Unlike simply trying different channels to see if the results are different, performing a Wi-Fi site survey is a scientific process, not a guessing game.
During a Wi-Fi site survey, a technician or engineer will use specialized software to scan the available channels in your area and analyze their performance, interference, and throughput. They can then recommend the best channel for your environment and ensure you get the most reliable connection possible.
Wi-Fi site surveys can also help identify any issues or potential problems with the current setup, such as interference from other networks or devices, which can cause slow speeds or interruptions in service. It can also detect any changes in the environment that could affect the quality of the connection, such as changes in construction or furniture placement.
Overall, a wireless site survey can help ensure that your network is running at peak performance and that you're getting the most reliable connection possible. This can be incredibly beneficial for organizations that need to cover large areas with their wireless networks.
Connect Your Wireless Network To The Best Wifi Frequency Channel
Choosing the best Wi-Fi frequency is an essential step in ensuring that your wireless network runs at peak performance, and picking the right channel can help reduce interference, increase speed and reliability, and even cover a larger area with your network.
To pick the best channel for your environment, it's important to understand the differences between 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz frequencies and the benefits and drawbacks of each.
At Hummingbird Networks, we can perform a Wi-Fi site survey to identify any potential problems with your current setup and make sure that you're getting the most reliable connection possible.