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after a client connects to an AP, if we don't explicitly lock it to a certain channel, will it just pick a channel and stick to it, or will it change the channel every few seconds/minutes/whatever?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

An 802.11 access point is fixed to certain channel, and cannot change it in runtime.

While there are 11 (up to 14 in some countries) channels allocated, only 1, 6 and 11 do not overlap, and thus they should be selected at each AP regarding to their neighborhood to minimize interference; channel hopping would make link quality much lower, as randomly-chosen channel would interfere with each other quite often.

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While this is correct and for the most part client's radio will remain fixed at AP's channel, it's perhaps worth pointing out that, even whilst connected, scanning for available networks does make the radio very quickly hop between channels. Standard dwell time is 100ms per channel so to avoid disruption of service or disconnection the client driver might ask the AP to wait for it or quickly hop to and fro between AP channel and channels it wants to scan. –  koniu Jan 26 '12 at 9:09
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