Note: This may or may not work for you, but it doesn’t cost anything to try.

Also note: If your wireless router is operating properly, you don’t need to do this.

Wireless routers all come shipped using a predefined channel. There are 11 channels.

If you notice that your wireless signal drops for apparently no reason and/or the connection is spotty at best even though you’re in close range, the channel your wireless router is using may be the problem. It could very well be that other wireless routers in your area are using the same channel, or there is some kind of interference that’s interrupting the transmission.

When you change the channel you do not need to do anything to your computer setup; your wireless card will automatically detect whatever new channel you choose.

The first step is to use a utility called NetStumbler to see if other wireless routers are using the same channel you are.

This is what a NetStumbler report looks like:

nstumb.jpg

The channel list is on the right. Mine is first in the list. I noticed that other wireless routers near me were using channels 6, 9 and 11 – so I changed mine to 3. I immediately noticed an improvement in the quality of signal.

The way I changed my channel was by going into my router configuration program via my web browser. I use a Belkin router and it looked like this:

brouter.jpg

All I had to do was pick a new channel from the drop-down menu and apply it. The router restarted using wireless channel 3 and I’ve been using it ever since.

A few notes:

  • This will not increase the speed of data transfer, but it will increase the stability of the connection.
  • Your wireless range is not increased, but a cleaner signal should allow you to connect from 75 feet away with no problems (assuming there’s not too many obstructions.)
  • If range is your concern, consider buying a low-cost second wireless router and use it as a WAP to extend range.