which is worse?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by jhowarth, Feb 2, 2005.

  1. jhowarth

    jhowarth Network Guru Member

    Living in an apartment building, I have discovered that other wireless routers are viewable on my channel (11). While my wireless clients see a stronger signal from my router (72%) the other wireless networks have a signal strength in the mid 20s. I also find at least one other wireless router with a signal strength in the low 30s on channel 6. While there is only one other very weak wireless server on channel 1, I don't seem to get as much signal on channel 1 at my clients (50%). While my connection on channel 11 seems stable enough and the throughput is good, I wonder which is better...to stay on channel 6 or 11 or would there actually be less interference using some of the other shared channels (2,3,4,5,8 or 9)? That is, which is worse...sharing a channel with a couple other wireless routers with 25% signal strength to your router's 72% or using the other channels beyond 1, 6 and 11?
  2. Esquire

    Esquire Mesquire Staff Member Member

    It is a common misconception that channels other than channels 1, 6, 11 are bad or shared.

    While it is correct in saying that the spectrum spreads of the said 3 channels do not overlap each other, it does not mean other channels are not to be explored. By the same token channel 2 does not overlap with channel 7 and channel 12, and so on and so forth, while the spectrum spreads of channel 2 and channel 1 will overlap with each other, channel 3 and channel 1 will overlap with each other, etc. It is also a fact that most brands default to these 3 channels, which means everyone else is also on the same 3 channels by default! Now that's major interference - which is why one should try changing channels.

    However, if the airwaves in the vicinity are crowded and wireless networks are spread out among all 11/13/14 channels (depending on your locale), it doesn't matter which channel you are on, there is also someone there using another channel next to you, even if you are on channel 1 or 6 or 11. Remember you don't have a choice over which channels your neighbors are using.

    The rule of thumb should be something like placing your wireless network in the channel which is the least occupied AND with the furthest separation from other networks.

    PS. In general, a wireless adapter should "see" all wireless network available for connection, regardless of the channel in use since in infrastructure mode, it is the router/AP that dictates the connection.
  3. jhowarth

    jhowarth Network Guru Member

    So I assume if one has nearby (but weak...20-30 signal strength) wireless routers on the non-overlapping channels of 1, 6 and 11 , it may actually be better to select one of the other channels. The idea would be that while the other channels may overlap, if no one is on any of them currently that is better than being on 1, 6 or 11 with other wireless routers. What I found most confusing was that often the non-overlap of 1, 6 and 11 is described in a way that leads you to believe this is related to the non-overlap with 2.4 GHz phones. As I understand it now this non-overlap of 1, 6 and 11 just means that those are the only discrete channels for G wireless use. Is this a correct description of the situation?
  4. Esquire

    Esquire Mesquire Staff Member Member

    I'd say the understanding on non-overlapping and overlapping channels is incorrect.

    To say that Channels 1, 6, and 11 are non-overlapping is correct ONLY in that the spectrum spreads of these 3 channels alone do not overlap with each other - that is as far as it goes. As I have said earlier by way of examples, these 3 channels overlap with other channels, and other channels have non-overlapping channel groups of their own, e.g., Channel 2 overlaps with Channel 1 and Channel 3 and so on, but Channel 2 with Channels 7 and 12 are non-overlapping among themselves, just like Channels 1, 6, and 11, assuming the spectrum spread of each of the 11/13/14 channels are identical.

    Radio waves do not have discreet units of frequencies, which is why when you tune to your favourite radio station the signal builds up as you approach the stated broadcast frequency, hitting a peak at that frequency (this behaviour is more evident on a radio with analog tuner). I suggest forgetting the incorrect notion that non-overlapping equates to being isolated from the next channels, and adopt an approach that all channels are on an equal footing regardless of device, be it a wireless network or cordless phone, and work from there.

    Hope this helps.
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