WiFi Tips and Tricks

Hello guys,

In this post, I will share some useful information with you about your WiFi in a question-answer style.

My router supports both 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz WiFi. Which should I use?

Both of course. The trick: give the same name (SSID) for both 2.4 and 5 GHz network, and use the same encryption and password. In a word: use the same settings for both.

The reason: the modern mobiles and laptops are smart. They will prefer using the 5 GHz network when the signal level is high, and will switch to 2.4 GHz when the signal level is low because it has larger range (Note: some devices will only use the signal level information for the decision when you turn on the WiFi).
But it will only work smoothly if they have the same SSID.

My mobile is loosing WiFi connection, the signal level is low. What should I do?

First of all, ensure that a 2.4 GHz network is set. This is the default mostly, but sometimes people thinks 5 GHz is more modern and disable 2.4 GHz. It’s a bad idea, because 5 GHz network has limited range.
The second step is to try to move your router to a better place (closer to your mobile). If it is not possible, then consider to buy a WiFi repeater or another router that support WDS (sometimes a separated router is cheaper than a repeater). Using WDS technology, you can extend your existing WiFi network with this second device easily. The repeater will make stronger the original signal and provide you a better WiFi connection on larger range.
Place the repeater or the second router closer to your main router, for example half-distance from your mobile and half-distance from your router.

Which WiFi security should I use?

DO NOT use OPEN or WEP encryption excepting if you want to share your WiFi (and your Internet) with everybody.
Open = anybody  can attach to your network without your permission.
WEP = this is a very old and very weak encryption. Any script kiddie can break it.

Always use WPA or WPA2.

wireless_security

Always use WPA/WPA2

What about WPS (WiFi Protected Setup)?

You should disable it. WPS is a security risk in your network however it is enabled by default in most cases. There are several problems with WPS:

  • It can contain security hole, and most people never upgrade the firmware of the router (if there is any fix at all).
  • Sometimes the manufacturer are using just only a few default WPS codes. That means if someone knows one of them, he can attach to any other router that are using this code.
    The result is the same: if someone breaks your WPS, he can attach to your network without your permission and without knowing your password.

So the best is if you disable it completely and only enable when you need it.

What about WiFi analyzer apps?  Can they help me?

Yes, of course. Using WiFi analyzer apps, you can identify the problems on your network. They can help you to detect possible bottlenecks and visualize the wireless networks around you.

What about WiFi booster apps? Will they fix a bad WiFi connection on my mobile?

No, they can’t. You can find more details about it here. You shouldn’t install any WiFi booster app excepting if you like watching ads…

Why most routers use channel 1-6-11 on 2.4 GHz?

Because on 2.4 GHz, only the 1-6-11 channels are non-overlapping. A router that uses channel 1 won’t interfere another router that is using channel 6 or 11 and vice versa.
So if there is no any other router around you, you can use any channel, what you want.
But if there are other routers, you should choose only between 1-6-11. Which is less overloaded. This is the point where WiFi analyzer apps can help you.

device-2016-02-07-223553

WiFi analyzer apps can help you to find the best channel

What about 5 GHz?

Because 5 GHz networks have limited range, interference does not cause problem usually.
You should select a channel that is not used by everyone else.

My internet access is slow, but I want to measure the pure performance of my WiFi network. How can I do it?

Well, this is a self-promotion, but in that case, you can use my WiFi Speed Test app. Or if you want to use your computer, you can use my simple java-based client: https://pzoleeblogen.wordpress.com/download-my-apps/

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5 Responses to WiFi Tips and Tricks

  1. Peter Sch. says:

    Very helpful information, thank you. Without that I did some disimprovements on my router settings.

    With your Android app I measured inside my home. Starting in the room where the router resides I was using 5 GHz. Walking around getting poor signal it still uses the 5 GHz and did not switch. I guess it’s the mobile device not the router that decides when to switch from 5 GHz to 2.4 GHz. My device only switches if connection is lost. Instead of waiting for that turning WiFi (WLAN) off and on again (on the device9 shows the switch.

    Maybe an app using WiFi can force a switch too?
    My question: Can an app actually use 5GHz channel but measure in the background if it would be better to switch to 2.4 GHz channel? without actually trying/disrupting?

    Just fantasies. Maybe this can be another feature for your tool(s).

  2. PZolee says:

    Hi Peter,

    “Walking around getting poor signal it still uses the 5 GHz and did not switch”
    Yes it depends on the device. Some can switch automatically, some needs manual reconnect and it won’t reconnect automatically.

    “Can an app actually use 5GHz channel but measure in the background if it would be better to switch to 2.4 GHz channel?”
    Possible, but if you want to happen the switch via android app, the only option is to restart the wifi connection -> your internet connection will be broken during the reconnection.

  3. Pingback: WiFi glossary | PZolee's blog

  4. beukenoot says:

    Hello, Thanks for this app 🙂 Now I have 2 pro apps from you.
    Question: is it possible to set which channels it shows on 5GHz? When i enable DFS, then all channels are showed, but we don:t have 149 and above in EU. I can transmit on 149 etc but my telephone does not receive it (CRDA shit).
    Maybe use the official names for the 5GHz channel sets? Or just read it from the phone which ones are enabled? Thanks!

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