Your router has been working fine for however long you’ve had it, and lately you’ve been noticing that your wifi connection is not as great as it once was? Moved into a block of apartments and find that your network seems to be having problems? Instead of relegating your wireless router to the trash heap, the problem could simply be your wireless network’s channel.
When there are many obstacles and networks all clustered into one space, your wireless network could get congested, leading to poor performance. A great way to get this sorted out would be to find the best 5GHz channel. The beauty of choosing the best channel for 5GHz is that there are many more channels that you can choose from, especially when compared to the 2.4GHz band.
Is There Any Such Thing As The Best Channel
There is no fixed channel that will provide the least congestion or provide the best performance for your wireless network. All channels on your 5GHz band will deliver the same bandwidth as well as speeds. (Please note that this is different if you use channel bonding.)
The only way to pick the best 5GHz channel for you would be to choose the one which offers the least amount of interference, and you can only do this by following these steps.
Choosing The Best 5GHz Channel
First things first. You should check if your wireless router has the automatic selection feature which picks the best 5GHz channel on its own. If you have one that does it for you, you do not have to worry about it – Simply activate this option on your settings and forget about further steps.
Most routers that are used for home purposes allow you to select your channel during the start up phase, or if you find that your network seems to be slowing down and you suspect that your channel could have something to do with it, simply reboot your router and your router will handle it from there on.
If you have to do things manually, then you have to check out the 5GHz channels being used by the networks around you, as well as the 5GHz channels your neighbours are using.
The beauty of using 5GHz channels is that there are 23 non-overlapping channels to choose from, as compared 10 a total of 14 on the 2.4GHz, with only 3 being non-overlapping. This makes it pretty clear why the 5GHz band offers less congestion.
When manually picking your best 5GHz channel, be sure to pick one that does not overlap with other channels in your area to avoid congestion issues. If you don’t know how to check for the 5GHz channels being used around you, use a wifi checker like ‘Acrylic’, software that helps you detect which channels are being used as well as the best 5GHz channel for you to use.
What is Channel Bonding and How Can it Affect your Speed
This is when channels are bonded together to offer a channel which provides more bandwidth. To break things down, wireless standards of 802.11n and backwards work in the frequencies between 2400MHz and 2500MHz. This 100MHz difference is divided into 14 channels, each of 20MHz each. Of course, when you add it up, the added sum works out to more than 100MHz, which means that many of those channels overlap with each other, delivering poor throughput to your home.
As 5GHz utilises a higher frequency (in wireless standards of 802.11N and ac), there’s less interference and better performance. But if you’re looking to get better wireless speeds, you could bond your channels – so bonding 2 x 20MHz channels to give you a bigger 40MHz channel, or even bonding 2 x 80GHz channels to give you a wide 160GHz channel. This is entirely up to you.
A point to remember: The wider your channel, the better your wireless speeds, but bonding your channels to create a massive one could have its own set of problems.
Disadvantages of Creating Massive Bonded Channels
- You could potentially congest your area
- You could also be affected by other wireless networks being used in your area (Think about it. A massive 160GHz channel will utilise the space n 8 separate individual 20GHz channels, meaning that other users will have a tough time using those channels.)
A good rule of thumb for channel bonding is to check if you are in a somewhat remote location so you can enjoy fast wireless speeds without creating problems for others.
Testing Your Wireless Network
It’s all well and good in theory, but you only get to know if this works by actually testing it out. By following our steps mentioned below, you should be able to determine if your wireless network is performing better, after choosing your own best 5GHz channel.
It’s also a bit of trial and error. If you don’t use software to help you, or you don’t have a router which automatically selects the best channel for you, you may to keep switching channels until you find one that works for you.
This is often an overlooked point, but simply by switching your channels, you could make a huge difference to solving any wifi problems you may be having.
The beauty of the best 5GHz channel is that overlaps are virtually nonexistent, which means you really shouldn’t have an issue and any channel you select should probably do the trick for you.
Of course, most routers these days do have this feature, and if your router lacks this feature, you could simply read one of our guides to determine which is the best router for your home, and forget about spending time in tweaking things here and there to simply find a good channel to use.
Simply select ‘Auto setting’ on your new router and you can forget about the rest and let your router do all the work. If not, use our guide to help you to a better and faster wireless speed.