I have a couple of devices that appear unable to see my router's WiFi signal when its put up on channel 12, 13, or 14. Some newer devices work fine without any problems. Others cannot see the signal. I can confirm the non-working devices can't see my wireless signal at all -- If I use inSSIDer and look at the "2.4 GHz channels" tab which shows the channel layout of my WiFi channel vs my neighbours', channels 12-14 will show nothing on the non-working devices while the working devices show my WiFi signal nice and strong.

When searching on Google "WiFi channels 12-14" I've also noticed several posts about channels 12-14 not working for certain people another post about 12-14 being added to newer versions of android.

My suspicion is that channels 12-14 were added in 802.11n but some of 802.11n draft devices don't support those channels. If that's the case, however, I'm surprised that my router would even choose these channels during auto selection since I set it to be compatible with 802.11b/g/n devices.

  • Radio band plans are regulated by the International Telecommunications Union itu.int and the world is divided into various radio communications regions. Depending on where you are, you have different band ranges available. – Fiasco Labs Apr 29 '13 at 19:09

Channel 14 has been there since 802.11b, it is the least overhang of any wireless channel which means that by selecting it, there is a low chance of interference from other devices.

However, due to wireless licensing laws, only Japan allows channel 14, in addition, channels 12&13 are not allowed in the USA. Apart from this, most countries allow 1-13.

If your router allows you to select one of these upper channels, it is most likely due to either selecting the wrong region on your router or you simply have an unlocked one.

As for devices, I am not entirely sure what is going on here - I would assume that you typed in the region on some / they are location aware and block out channels they are not allowed to connect on, and the newer devices simply see the channel of the router and as someone must of set it, they think it is ok to connect!

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Wikipedia has a good article here

  • Thanks. My router doesn't appear to have any selection for region, so I'm assuming its unlocked and its auto selection therefore must not take region into account. – Doug T. Aug 29 '11 at 0:31
  • Actually according to the Wikipedia article channels 12 and 13 are allowed in USA under low power condition, but many devices won't connect to these channels as you discovered. – rslite Oct 7 '12 at 14:18

Well, channel 14 is used in Japan for just 802.11b and even then they limit the power output. Limiting it's use. Even now on newer AP's in Japan 14 isn't available. If you happen to live in a large apartment where there are ways to may AP in one area, switching your region on your AP to the United Kingdom will give you access to Channel 13.

  • Not only to the UK. +1 for mentioning 14 is just for 802.11b, it is something that is notably missing from the good chosen answer. – Rui F Ribeiro Jun 11 '19 at 11:56

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