Wireless Network Troubleshooting: Changing Channels

One of the most common problems of wireless network trouble is interference from other wireless devices. The culprit might be a cordless phone, or it could be a neighbor who also has a wireless network.

The simplest solution to this type of interference is to change channels. 802.11b access points let you select 1 of 11 different channels to broadcast on. If you’re having trouble connecting to your access point, try changing the channel. To do that, you must log on to the router with the administrator password. Then, hunt around the router’s administrator pages until you find the controls that let you change the channel.

You may have to try changing the channel several times before you solve the problem. Unfortunately, 802.11b channels overlap slightly, which means that broadcasts on one channel may interfere with broadcasts on adjacent channels. Thus, if you’re having trouble connecting on channel 1, don’t bother switching to channel 2. Instead, try switching to channel 5 or 6. If that doesn’t work, switch to channel 10 or 11.