If you're using a Wi-Fi network and you find your net connection is slow or appears to drop out on occasions, it's worth considering changing the channel your router uses. You may find the channel you're using is congested by routers from the networks around you, such as your neighbour's net connection. However, by opting for a less crowded channel, or one currently not used by any other networks, your signal will improve no-end. Here's how to identify which channels are most crowded and how to subsequently swap your router to a different channel.
You can use software such as the free inSSIDer programme, which can be downloaded to your PC, to locate nearby Wi-Fi networks and discover which channel they're on. However, for this tutorial we've opted to utilise our Google Android tablet and the free WiFi Analyzer app. Start by ensuring your tablet is connected to your Wi-Fi network and then open the app.
You'll be presented with a graph that shows the different Wi-Fi networks nearby in different colours and the channels they are currently using along with the strength of signal. This will give you an idea of whether your network has a strong or weak signal and whether the channel is currently set to is crowded or not. This will help you decide which channel you need to swap your router to. It's worth noting that out of 13 channels, all but 1, 6 and 11 overlap. So pick a channel as far away from your neighbour's if possible.
When you've decided which channel you want to switch your router to, you need to access your router's default settings page. This can be done by opening a web browser on your PC and navigating to a URL that begins with 192. This URL will either be printed in your router's documentation or on the bottom of the device itself. Next you'll be asked to enter the routers name and password, these details will also be printed on the router itself.
From the web page that is displayed, you'll be able to change the wireless channel, although the exact location will differ depending on the router manufacturer. In this instance, we used a D-Link router and the channel settings were found by press Advanced from the main page. Then select Wireless setup from the options on the let-hand side of the web page and then choosing Manual Wireless Network Setup. Use the drop don menu next to Wireless channel to select the channel you've identified as the one with no or as few routers as possible. Then press Apply settings.