Having a good Wi-Fi Internet connection is something important and that we all want. But of course, there are factors that can influence and some of them do not only depend on us. In this article we will explain how it can affect the Wi-Fi of our neighbors to our own connection. We will also see what we can do to avoid this problem and achieve greater speed and stability.
Why the neighbor’s Wi-Fi can affect you
The Wifi from our neighbor can cause the Internet speed that we have when using a laptop, mobile or any other device, to decrease. Logically, this is going to be more likely if we live in a building with many houses around it. In that case there will be more people connected and we will have problems.
The channel you use
The first reason why our neighbors can affect the speed of the Internet is because of the channel they use. Wireless networks work through a channel, which we can configure automatically in the router or select it manually. And yes, this can be decisive.
If we are connected to the same channel as our neighbors (or even a nearby channel) we can have problems with the connection. Consider a large highway with many lanes. One of them is full of cars and you can’t go fast. Instead another lane is completely empty and you have nothing to get in your way. Basically we can transfer that to the Wi-Fi channels.
Number of connected devices
The number of teams that our neighbor has connected could also influence. It is not the same as having the router connected to that channel but not using the network, but instead having several computers, mobile phones and any other device connected and using the connection.
Therefore, if our neighbor has many devices, it can affect us more because there is more WiFi traffic. And you have to keep in mind that there are more and more connected devices. The Internet of Things, such as televisions, smart light bulbs, video players or any other device, are increasingly present and this problem is increasing. There are applications such as Acrylic WiFi that allow us to know the number of clients connected to a nearby network and also see the channels used.
Another key factor will be use they give to the connection. It is not the same if they are simply using the mobile to browse or read the mail, as if they are using several computers to download from the cloud, watch streaming videos in 4K and, in short, make quite intense use of the network.
The more bandwidth the neighbors are consuming, the more it can affect us indirectly. Hence, at certain times we can have worse Internet speed, cuts and problems in general. That may be why we comment: they are downloading a lot at once.
Different Wi-Fi frequencies
There are different frequencies that Wi-Fi networks work on. Choosing between the different options can be decisive so that the neighbor’s network does not affect us. Most modern routers and devices will work in the 2.4 GHz and at 5 GHz. We will be able to choose between those two and this will directly affect our connection, but it could also indirectly.
If we think about how it can help us directly, basically we can say that the 2.4GHz band it is the best when we connect to the router from afar. It is less sensitive to distance and possible obstacles, although it is also the one with the best speed and the one that can have the most interference with other devices. Instead, that of 5GHz it is faster, although it has the limitation of distance.
But if we focus on what interests us, on the issue of how the neighbor’s Wi-Fi affects us, choosing one band or another will also be key. Each of them has a series of channels.
The 2.4 GHz, which has a channel width of 22 MHz, has 14 channels separated by 5 MHz each. However, this varies by country and we may only have 11, 12 or 13 channels available . The problem is that they can overlap, so it is usually better to use a channel far apart from the most congested ones. For example, if we connect to channel 2 and the neighbor uses channel 3, we could have problems; it would be better to use 9, for example.
On the other hand, the 5 GHz band is the one with the most available channels and also a greater channel width. In this case they do not overlap and we will not have the problem that does exist in the case of 2.4 GHz. We are going to find more channels and less saturated so as not to have connection failures.
However, although the 5 and 2.4 GHz bands are the most common and used, it is also necessary to mention the new one that works in the 6 GHz band. In this case there is an even greater width of channels and this problem is is reduced much more.
Check freer channels
To avoid this problem, so as not to connect to the channel that may be being used by our neighbors and be saturated, it is best to find which ones are freer. In this sense, we have several options and we can find out very easily both from the mobile and from the computer.
The first application we want to mention is Acrylic WiFi. It is a very useful program to monitor wireless networks and also allows us to know what Wi-Fi channels are more saturated and how our neighbors are connecting their devices so we can make the best possible choice. In addition, it allows you to create a heat map and analyze the coverage.
It has different versions, as we can see in its Web page . It is a quite complete and interesting application. But for what interests us, which is knowing the channels used by each Wi-Fi network, we can simply find out on the initial screen once we open the application.
We can see the channels that use both the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. We would simply have to avoid those channels and connect our Wi-Fi router to a different one. In this way we will achieve optimal performance and avoid those annoying problems and cuts.
A very interesting application that we have for Windows is WiFi Analyzer. With her we can see the saturation of Wi-Fi channels around us so we can see which ones our neighbors are using and make the wireless connection work as well as possible.
We can download it for free from the Microsoft Official Store. We simply have to hit Get and install the application. We can automatically start using it and analyze the wireless network.
At first it will show us the network to which we are connected, but what really interests us is to go to the section of Analyze. There it will show us which channels are using the networks around us. In my personal case, when doing this article there are only two networks, so we will see that there is no saturation. If there were, different networks would come out occupying the same channel or nearby channels.
In this way, thanks to WiFi Analyzer you will be able to see the level of saturation and know if your neighbors’ networks are interfering with the signal and you are having problems achieving maximum speed and quality. You can use it on Windows, but it also has a version for Android devices.
Although we can also use NetSpot for Windows, it has an application for Android, so we can use it on our mobile and see what Wi-Fi channels your neighbors are using. It is a completely free program and we can download it from the official store google play.
Its mode of use is very simple. Once we have it installed and open, we have to go to the Comparison section. There it will show us all the networks around us and we will see which channel it uses. In addition, it will also show us the strength of the signal, the MAC, the encryption it uses, etc.
We will be able to obtain this information from both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency networks. We will simply have to move through the corresponding tab.
In short, with this type of application you can see the level of saturation of the different channels. If you are using one that your neighbors use, it is best to change to another and thus prevent them from interfering with the signal. It is very simple and you will surely notice positive results.
Steps to change WiFi channel
For change the channel that you use in your wireless network you will have to access the router. For this you have to know the default gateway, which is usually 192.168.1.1. However, if you don’t know what it is, you can easily find out. You have to go to Start, you enter the Command Prompt and there you execute the ipconfig command. A series of information will appear and you will also see the default gateway.
Once you know what the default gateway is, you have to put it in the browser and start with the corresponding data. They are usually data of the type admin, admin123, 1234… Both in the name and in the password. However, it will depend on the model and you can see it on the router itself, at the bottom, or search the Internet according to your exact model.
Once inside, it will depend on the router model. Normally you have to go to Wi-Fi settings or similar. It may be in advanced settings. Once there you will see the Channel section. You may have it on automatic or a specific one. You will only have to select the one that interests you and that’s it. You apply the changes and you will already have the Wi-Fi router connected to another channel. You can do it on both frequencies.
Ultimately, the neighbors around you can affect your Wi-Fi connection. Especially if you live in a building with a lot of apartments nearby, this can be a bigger problem and you may find that the speed of the connection is limited or even appear continuous cuts.
You can analyze the network and see which channels are more saturated and connect to the ones that are freer. This will help the Wi-Fi network to work better and not have difficulties browsing the Internet. We have seen some different programs, but their purpose is the same: to analyze and monitor wireless networks.
Beyond changing the channel, you should take into account the possibility of changing the band. The 5 GHz one, in addition to the new 6 GHz one, is going to have a greater width of channels and that translates into less interference and avoids these possible failures that can appear when we connect.