Improve Your Wireless Signal

The hard core geeks know that to optimize your wireless networking experience you want to select a channel that is unused by other nearby wireless devices.

If you run Windows 7 (or Vista), use the following command at the Command Prompt to see the channels and signal strength of nearby networks:

netsh wlan show networks mode=bssid


The channel numbers will be in the range of 1 to 11.  Find a hole, ideally at least five channels away from your neighbours, and change your wireless router configuration to use that channel.  If you are in an area with lots of wireless networks, focus on avoiding interference with the strongest competing signals.

Slightly Deeper Explanation

Your 2.4 GHz wireless device does not actually use the exact frequency of 2400 MHz.  If your wireless networking device is configured to use channel 1, it is operating using the frequency 2412 MHz.  If your wireless networking device is configured to use channel 6, it is operating using the frequency 2437 MHz.

Radio frequency communication is not as neat and tidy as those single frequency numbers imply.  Your wireless router actually operates over a frequency range or spread.  Channels are 5 MHz apart but the frequency spread of each channel is 25 MHz (12.5 MHz above and below the channel’s center frequency).  That means you have to move 5 channels (5 x 5 MHz) to completely avoid interference between channels.

  11 comments for “Improve Your Wireless Signal

  1. Luc
    January 25, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Cool. Didn’t know about that

  2. Tom
    January 26, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    This is great to know. Thanks!

  3. March 20, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    Done this on my Windows 7 Installation, have noticed a slight increase in performance but nothing to get very happy about but hey, it all counts. Thanks for this brill post!

  4. May 19, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    This is great to know. Thanks!

  5. April 13, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    It’s was logical that changing the channel will have some effect but i’d never tried it !

    Thanks for the tip!

  6. Rob
    March 10, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    So awesome to know this – THANKS!

  7. June 11, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    I recently was experiencing problems of fluxuating speeds and at times movies would just continue to try to buffer even on low quality with no results. After reviewing the channels and what to look for I found in my case that switching from channel 6 (which at one time was working fine) to channel 1 did the trick. You do the research and you get the results. The channel can be changed in the Web Based Set Up Page or something similar to that of your wireless router.

  8. Anthony
    June 13, 2014 at 6:42 am

    Thanks. i tried it and it worked

  9. Christina
    September 18, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    Brilliant! I had completely forgotten the command so this article helped a lot Thanks!

  10. dave
    July 25, 2018 at 11:50 am

    “and change your wireless router configuration to use that channel”
    I dont know how to do that either

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