A friend of mine recently moved from the States. Problem is, he can't connect to our WiFi network. Ours is on channel 13 since Channels 1, 6 and 11 (the only other separate channels available) are overcrowded. However due to channel 13 being disallowed in the USA (while being allowed in the rest of the world) the laptop can't see the WiFi.

The laptop runs Windows Vista SP1. The WiFi hardware is an Intel Wifi Link 4695AGN.

In device manager, there is no option to select a region (which I've seen a few times). Is there a way, e.g. with a specific driver, to allow the laptop to communicate on channel 13?

  • The laptop is a Sony vaio subnotebook PCG-4L1L – dtech Jul 22 '11 at 20:22

The details we really need are related to his laptop, but the only way will be is if his wireless network card can be updated with an international version of the firmware. Without details as to his computer model and specific network card, I cannot even tell you if it exists.

Based on your comment, there do not appear to be any firmware updates of any kind. He will probably need to just buy a wireless network card over there, and use that one.


  • the adapter is Intel 4695AGN. The same built-in adapter my laptop has. – Larssend Jul 22 '11 at 12:54
  • Thanks. The laptop is a Sony Vaio PCG4L1L but since it's an american-only model (europe has slightly different version numbers) I don't think a firmware update is available. – dtech Jul 22 '11 at 20:31

I had this problem back when I got my shiny new VAIO laptop. The thing came with Intel 4695AGN WLAN adapter that doesn't support channels higher than 11.

From my research at the time, I saw claims from some folks that if the adapter actually supports those higher channels at hardware level, you can get them by setting your region (in Windows' Regional Settings) to anything other than United States. I tried this, but the adapter still couldn't see my router which had to operate at channel 13 to avoid collision with my neighbors' AP's.

After further research, which gave no relevant information, I finally threw the white towel and bought a USB WLAN adapter. I know this sucks big time but, well... I wish I could be of more help.

  • That is exactly the same situation as he/we are in :( – dtech Jul 22 '11 at 20:23

Sadly, I don't have a solution (other than to say the same card will connect to infrastructure, but not Ad-Hoc, on 12, 13 in Ubuntu with generic regulatory domain - least common denominator settings).

However, I want to add the person above is 100% correct. In reality, there should only BE 4 channels in the 2.4 GHz 802.11g/n band - 1, 5, 9, and 13. If 11 is in use around you DO NOT USE 13, 11 will be FASTER. 802.11b recommended 22MHz channel spacing, so 1,6,11 were used. It was idiotic to ever have 802.11b and idiotic to ever have channels other than 1,5,9,and 13. The idea was to allow you to avoid other NON-WIFI uses of the band that are much narrower. In reality, Wi-Fi exploded and it just caused Wi-Fi users thinking a different channel is better (like you) to trash the band.

If you use a channel already in use, both networks can avoid causing each other interference. If you use a partially-overlapping channel - like 13 - the traffic on channel 11 is just pure noise to you.

Also, number of networks visible isn't what matters most - channel utilization is. One network run by someone downloading constantly is far more meaningful than five ran by little old ladies checking email. You need to use a spectrum analyzer to determine channel utilization at various times of day, and then set yourself to 1, 6, or 11 if those are the channels used around you. If at all possible avoid any channel that has an overlapping network near it (like if someone's using 4, avoid 1 and 6, if someone's using 13 avoid 11, etc).

  • "The person above" -- which one? Answers change order over time as they receive different numbers of votes, and readers can choose to sort the answers by different criteria. "The person above" when you wrote that post isn't likely to be "the person above" when somebody else reads it. – David Richerby Oct 1 '15 at 7:13

Put your netwok on the least crowded one from channels 1, 6 and 11.

The frequency gap between 11 and 13 is waaay too small to allow simultanous transmission of data, so all channel 11 transmissions above noise level will disturb your channel 13.

You might get away by installing the WIFI drivers for the current region - however changing the channel is usually much much simpler.

  • That's not a real solution. Furthermore we're in an urban environment so every channel is crowded, there are about 20 wifi channels in reach. almost no-one puts their channel on 13 that's why we're on there. – dtech Jul 22 '11 at 20:25
  • 1
    Did you read my text? Channel 11 and 13 overlap so much that is does not make any difference wich one you use. Its might be worth to invest in 5 GHz (A-Band) Access points. – Turbo J Jul 23 '11 at 8:13
  • 2
    It does make a difference if there are ~5 channels on 1, ~5 on 6 and ~5 on 11 and a few on the channels in between. You'll get interference from 10-11 on 13 (~6 networks) while on e.g. 8 you'll get interference from 5-11 (~15 networks) and on 6 3-9 will interfere (~10 networks). Thus channel 13 is clearly the best choise. – dtech Jul 23 '11 at 9:21

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