The World of Wi-Fi

Teaching an old dog new tricks.

Just when you think you are starting to get a handle on Wi-Fi related things, you find out there is more… much more to learn. I generally do not work in apartments. However, here in Phoenix, there are some very nice high-end apartment buildings, namely the Optoma buildings in Phoenix and Scottsdale. I was called out to a client of mine who was having problems with their Wi-Fi in the building. After a few hours of unsuccessful attempts to make their new router play well with both an Apple TV and a Blu-Ray player, I eventually gave up and went to Google. I Googled things like: Wi-Fi problems apartments, thinking there is always an answer available on the beloved Google. I found a great deal of people talking about their problems with Wi-Fi in apartments but no one (that I found) had the answer. The very next day, I was helping a new client moving into a very nice condo complex around the Biltmore and discovered I was having very poor Wi-Fi results, i.e. poor range, not connecting, buffering problems, all the common issues. I start out blaming the router, which was a modem/router combo unit. I have indeed proved that the routers with external antennae generally outperform those with internal antennae. And for sure, as you spend more money on a router, you get better performance both in speed and distance.

Cox was there installing both cable and internet to this townhome.

The Cox representative (who was a Cox subcontractor) told the customer that they needed to change the channel on the router to a less used channel, which was the same advice I had received from my most excellent computer expert Dave. The Cox installer was looking at his mobile device and showing a graph of all the routers in range and what channels they were on. What a great free service in the form of an application for your phone. It will plot all the Wi-Fi in range of your phone and show you on a graph where they are and where your own Wi-Fi is located, (channels 1-12) on 2.4 GHz. And channels 34-44 on 5 GHz. Download this app on your phone called- Wi-Fi Analyzer- on your Google/Android or go to Apple and download their Wi-Fi analyzer app and you will quickly find out that you and your neighbors may well be fighting each other on exactly the same channel of Wi-Fi.

Here is how you fix it:
After finding that you are indeed sharing a channel like 3-6 or 11 (routers come configured in what is called “auto channel” which supposedly means they will pick the channel with the least interference) but is seems that they will not correctly choose the quietest channel. Open a browser-on your network- (Chrome, IE, Edge, or Firefox etc.) go to the address line, enter the IP address of your router (many times it is or a variation of this) enter the name and password (many times name is “admin”and often password is either “admin” or “password”). Google your router’s name and model for help if it is not written on the back or bottom of the router.
Once signed in, go to the wireless page on the router’s built-in site and go to where it says channel (especially 2.4 GHz.) and assign a channel which has no activity shown on the Wi-Fi analyzer app on your phone.

Now if this sounds over your head and you need help call me or my expert friend Dave.

Dave Poore