We use routers almost everyday but after some time realize that it is not performing well when multiple devices are connected. Generally, routers are auto-configured to default settings by the manufacturer for optimal performance. However, the default setting can become a bottleneck for varied level of users. We can customize the router to whole another level and make it perform better with personalized settings.
If you are not getting the expected performance from your router, then it may be the time to change the channel frequency. Which leads to the main question, which is the best 5GHz channel? Well, the answer is not that straightforward and we have to take many things into consideration before coming to a conclusion. In this article, we will dive deep into radio frequency, channel selection and a lot more.
What is a 5GHz Band?
Before proceeding with the best channel for 5GHz, understand the concept of routers first. Routers are basically a network device which transmits data through radio waves. A radio wave is transmitted in all directions and the devices connected to it receives data. This is how a router works in simple terms.
Now the concept of bands and channels come into play. There are two common frequencies used in routers: 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Both of these frequencies have their pros and cons, but to put it plainly 2.4GHz has a wider range but lower bandwidth. And, 5GHz has shorter range but higher bandwidth which means great performance.
Now having been through the basic idea, let us come to channels. Channels are basically the width of a band at which routers release signals in open space. The higher the channel, the wider the bandwidth. In plain terms, you will notice a huge bump in performance with the increase in channel frequency. Below, I will talk about channels in detail and will find out the best channel for 5GHz routers.
Which is the Best 5GHz Channel?
There are 25 predefined 5GHz channels which start from 36, 40, 44, 48 and goes till 149, 153, 157, 161, 165. These channels are not only used by routers but military stations and scientific industry also use certain channels for communication purpose. The first 36, 40, 44, 48 channels are called UNII-1 channels and it is used for domestic purpose. The UNII-1 channels are considered the best channel for WiFi 5GHz given that it is specifically used at home, but there is more to it.
165 channel is particularly reserved for military use and sensitive communication. Having a higher channel means you will have better communication and wider bandwidth, but there is a chance of overlapping with other channels as well. For your information, 5GHz has 25 channels unlike 3 channels in 2.4GHz.
So to solve this problem, routers have something called DFS which stands for Dynamic Frequency Selection. The router automatically selects the best channel without overlapping with military and weather stations. Now coming to which is the best 5GHz channel? As we see 36, 40, 44, 48 is the recommended one, but you can go further with higher channels if your router supports DFS.
Keep in mind, apart from routers, home appliances and smart devices also use the same UNII-1 channel to communicate. So there is a chance of interference with these devices. Try to keep the router away from these devices like microwave, smart bulbs or anything smart which connects wirelessly.
While it is clear that 36, 40, 44, 48 is the best channel for WiFi 5GHz but there are issues of congestion as well. If there are many devices having the same channel around your premise then it would interfere and slow down your router. As 5GHz routers lack strong signal penetration, it can pose another trouble.
So to solve this problem there is an app called WiFi Analyzer which checks channel congestion around the router and offers the best channel. It takes location, radio waves, number of devices around the router into consideration and recommends the best channel. You can see the rating of every channel and choose accordingly.
As you went through all the necessary points, you learnt that 36, 40, 44, 48 is the best channel for WiFi 5GHz. However, if your router supports DFS then you can bump up the frequency for even better performance. Rest assured, all modern routers have Dynamic Frequency Selection inbuilt. In any case, keeping the channel selection at Auto would be a good option as well. You can take help of WiFi Analyzer app as well if you want to monitor the congestion.
RouterGuide hopes this article provided a proper overview and in-depth information on 5GHz channels, WiFi bands, and frequency. This guide tries to make people understand the technicality behind routers and network as a whole. I try our very best to explain complex concepts in simple terms and it is an effort in that direction. RouterGuide hopes you could find the best 5GHz channel for your router and eventually improve performance.