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Recently, I have been having problems with our network cutting in and out while streaming music.

We think it may be other people's networks interfering with ours, but with changing the channel again impossible, I have a theory that maybe if we make our network "Hidden", it won't be sending information to the entire area, thus fixing our problem.

Could this actually work? We are using AirPort Extreme/Express for our network if that makes a difference.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

"Hiding" the network isn't really hiding it at all. You're talking about disabling the broadcast of the SSID of the network (the Name of the network). This is only a security measure and will not affect the interference you may be experiencing.

Disabling SSID broadcast only makes it a little more difficult for people to connect to the network. If the issues you're experiencing are truly caused by interference and channel overlap, the channel interference will continue.

Think of it like listening to an FM radio station while you're on the road. One channel takes the time to say "You're listening to KFMA radio" every ten minutes and the other doesn't. These channels are in different cities but use the same channel, or are right next to each other on the dial and are interfering with each other. Just because one doesn't broadcast it's name doesn't remove the fact that it is still interfering with the other when you're in the right place on your trip.

There are two ways to minimize interference:

  1. Find an area on the spectrum that isn't as crowded. This means changing the channel on your wireless router.
  2. Turn up your broadcast power to maximum. This is the "bad neighbor" method. You'll make your own signal stronger and it will then interfere with all your neighbors in the same way there's was interfering with yours. However, not every router allows you to adjust the broadcast power. Most routers do this automatically or not at all.
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Routers don't adjust the broadcast power automatically, since it is illegal ( the FCC limits it to 100mW ). Some will let you bump it up, but technically you are breaking the law ( not that you're really going to get caught ). – psusi Feb 22 '12 at 15:51

No, that wont work. You could try changing channel, why do you say that is impossible ?

Bear in mind that many wifi channels overlap. There's three distinct groups that don't overlap with each other, so you should try to pick a channel from a group that isn't used in your area.

Needless to say, the interference may well be caused from other things, so don't take this as a silver bullet.

fairly useful diagram on channel overlaps

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I don't think so. Interference is due to radios transmitting on a particular frequency. 802.11 defines the frequencies that devices must share. There are things you can do to reduce interference (mobile & portable phones may interfere, microwave ovens may, etc). But hiding the network name is not one of them.

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