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In my neighbourhood there are:

  • 11 wifi signals on channel 1
  • 2 wifi signals on channel 4 (including mine at the mo)
  • 8 on channel 6
  • 6 on channel 11

According to the diagram on wikipedia Mine on channel 4 will suffer interference from channel 1 and channel 6, so a total of 20 other networks(!).

So would I be better to join channel 11, even though my network is then in direct competition with the 6 others?

I suppose the question is: what's worse: direct interference (meaning that on the same channel) from 6 or fringe interference from many more networks?

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marked as duplicate by Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, heavyd, Moses, sawdust, Tog Oct 30 '13 at 7:40

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1  
Both are bad do you have the capability to move to the 5Ghz band or use a custom firmware that allows channels beyond 11 –  Ramhound Oct 29 '13 at 19:09
3  
You should use a program like inSSIDer that will show both channel overlap and signal levels. –  sawdust Oct 29 '13 at 19:33
    
SOrry, could have added the signal strength to the report with nm-tool (I run Ubuntu), but sounds from the answers below that I'm just better with trial and error. Thanks for your comments + time. –  artfulrobot Oct 30 '13 at 10:29

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

In a complex environment like that, there's really no way to know without testing it.

You haven't gathered or reported relevant data like how strong the signal is from each of those APs, how busy they are during the times of day when you're most likely to be using your Wi-Fi network, or if any non-Wi-Fi interferers are present on any of the channels.

Even if we had all that information, it would be hard to know how well your particular Wi-Fi gear deals with interference.

For best results, design a test based on your equipment and your needs, use that test to empirically measure which channel works best for your equipment and your needs, and then use whichever channel comes out ahead.

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It depends (heavily) on proximity and signal strength. In the case where you have roughly equal "foreign signal" on 1, 6 and 11, 3,4,8,9 might well work better.

Best bet is to try all 11 and see which actually works best, or do some more detailed inventory of what's around you and then be able to focus on where it stands the best chance of working when doing your tests. And realize that you will probably have to revisit this as the landscape changes.

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