At the moment, the number of WiFi networks around us is increasing. In fact, a simple search on a phone or computer is enough to find dozens of networks. Our router it has to share “space” with all of them because all our neighbors’ routers transmit their wireless signal simultaneously.
On many occasions, they share the same channels, causing problems from low speed to an unstable signal, disconnections, low coverage, etc. Sometimes, the solution is to change the WiFi channel and, for this, we must first know which ones are busy. Next, we explain how to check it from your mobile.
WiFi channels and interference
First of all, we must know that many WiFi routers broadcast in the classic 2.4 GHz band, ranging from 2,412 MHz to 2,472 MHz and is divided into 13 overlapping channels (each occupies part of the four adjacent channels). However, more and more routers are also operating in the 5 GHz band, which has 25 non-overlapping channels and offers higher speed (although less range). But they are not enough either.
In densely populated environments, as we said before, it is very common for interference between several nearby routers that are working in the same channel or in a close one. This causes the speed to drop and there are navigation cuts at certain times (when two networks coincide in browsing the same or nearby channel).
Although we can always resort to a WiFi amplifier or repeater, the simplest solution is sometimes to change a channel with slowness or cuts problems to a different one that is not saturated. And how can I know which channels are more or less busy in the area? Very simple: with a simple program on the computer (for example, WifiInfoView or inSSIDer) or with a free app on our mobile.
How to check WiFi channels on Android
In the case of Android mobiles, the most popular app for this purpose is WiFi Analyzer, which has already accumulated more than 10 million downloads on Google Play. This app allows you know the channels on which the rest of the routers broadcast and check which ones are more or less saturated to act accordingly.
With a simple glance at its graph, you can see all the WiFi routers that are broadcasting near you, their power and the channel they are using. In addition, selecting your WiFi network in the “Choose your AP” section, it teaches you what channel are you using right now and which one, according to those around you, you should change to have an optimal connection. To do this, it uses a rating with stars.
- Developer: farproc
- Download it at: Google play
- Price: Free
- Category: Tools
How to check WiFi channels on iOS
Unfortunately, in the case of iOS, the app WiFi Analyzer is not available on the App Store. We can find other options to analyze our WiFi network, such as NetSpot, Fing, Network Analyzer, Scany or WiFi Analyzer (These last two cost 6.99 euros), but none is as complete and intuitive as the one we have mentioned for Android.
Our proposal is AirPort Utility (AirPort Utility in Spanish), which is from Apple itself and it does not require outlay or any additional device to show us which channels are the most saturated. The process, yes, involves a few steps (and do not expect such colorful graphs as those of WiFi Analyzer):
Download the app AirPort Utility / AirPort Utility in the App Store and, once installed, before opening it, go to Settings> AirPort and active ‘WiFi scanner’ (Try to deactivate it when you are not using it because it consumes a lot of battery).
Open the app and click on ‘Scan Wi-Fi’; You will see that all the WiFi networks in your environment begin to appear with details such as their intensity or the channel they use.
After a few seconds, click ‘Stop’ and tap on it information icon which you will find in the lower right corner.
Next, a list will appear with the number of devices connected to each channel in both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.
Airport Utility (AirPort Utility)
- Developer: Manzana
- Download it at: App Store
- Price: Free
- Category: Utilities