How do I find out which channels (1-13) of my wireless router are supported by the wireless card in my notebook?

For example, if I choose channel 13 in my router and my wifi card could not detect the wireless network. When I choose channel 6, it can be detected. So, I am interested to know more about the capabilities of my wifi card.

  • Short, non-technical answer: If it's bought in the U.S., it probably only supports 1-11. Elsewhere, it may support other channels. Check Wikipedia's list of WLAN channels to get a general idea of what is legal to use where. If you use a channel in an area where it is not legal, and your device causes harmful interference to licensed users of that spectrum, you may end up being tracked down by the local authorities (i.e.: FCC in the U.S.). – Iszi Aug 11 '12 at 4:52

You can use

 iw phy

both on your laptop and on your router to find out which channels are supported by your wifi cards. It will also show you the frequency of each channel, which channel is on what band and a lot more informations


The 'best' way to find out which channels are supported is to look in the manual. However your card and your wireless router probably support 14 channels. This allows manufacturers to use the same hardware all over the world.

Not all of those channels (or rather: frequencies) are legal in all countries.

For this reason many drivers refuse to set or work with a channel when it detects the wrong locale settings. This can be quite confusing because switching languages can suddenly cause your wireless card to fail. I know at least one set of drivers where this happens without any warning or explanation. (Now that was fun to debug).

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