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How to Find the Best Wi-Fi Channels for Your Router

Increase your internet speed by using the right Wi-Fi channels

When you connect to your home Wi-Fi, your router selects a specific Wi-Fi channel that your device uses to send data back and forth to your router. Choosing the right Wi-Fi channel helps your device keep a strong and consistent internet connection and can help you avoid Wi-Fi slowdowns. We’ll go over how to find the best Wi-Fi channels to use for your home and how to switch channels in your router’s settings. But first, let’s go over exactly what Wi-Fi channels are.

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Wi-Fi frequency bands and Wi-Fi channels

You may have seen the terms 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz attached to your Wi-Fi network names. These are your router’s Wi-Fi frequency bands—and yes, it matters which one you pick. The 2.4 GHz band travels further and is better at penetrating walls and furniture, while the 5 GHz band is faster. Each of these frequency bands shows up as a different Wi-Fi network, and you choose which to use by connecting to either your router’s 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi network or 5 GHz Wi-Fi network.

Choosing the right frequency band is just as important, if not more important, than using the best Wi-Fi channel. See our guide on 2.4 GHz vs. 5 GHz Wi-Fi to learn how to pick the best Wi-Fi frequency band.

Wi-Fi frequency bands are made up of Wi-Fi channels

Each Wi-Fi frequency band contains individual Wi-Fi channels, and it’s one of these channels that your device uses to communicate wirelessly with your router. But your Wi-Fi router isn’t the only thing using these channels. Other household wireless devices, like baby monitors, use these channels to communicate as well as other nearby routers.

If too many devices in the same area are using the same wireless channel, the channel can become overcrowded, and that can lead to a slow and spotty Wi-Fi connection. You are especially at risk of Wi-Fi channel congestion if you live in an apartment because your home is much more likely to be within range of other Wi-Fi routers and wireless devices.

The good news is that you can probably fix your Wi-Fi channel overcrowding issues by using a less crowded Wi-Fi channel.

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What are the best Wi-Fi channels?

Using the best channels for each Wi-Fi frequency band will give you a faster Wi-Fi connection by avoiding interference and channel overlap. But which channels are best to use depends on the Wi-Fi frequency band you’re using (2.4 GHz or 5 GHz).

Best channels for 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi

Channels 1, 6, and 11 are the best channels for 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi. These are the only channels in the 2.4 GHz frequency band that don’t overlap with each other. You’ll only want to consider using a different channel if each of these channels is overcrowded in your coverage area. In that instance, you should use a Wi-Fi analyzer to find the best Wi-Fi channel for your home (instructions below).

Why channels 1, 6, and 11 are the best for 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi

The 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi frequency band is only 100 Mhz “wide,” meaning that all the channels are between the 2400 Mhz and 2500 Mhz frequencies. There are 14 channels in the 2.4 GHz frequency band and each channel is 20 MHz wide. Because there’s not enough room in the 2.4 GHz band for 14 channels that are each 20 MHz wide, most of the channels in the 2.4 GHz band overlap, which isn’t good for your Wi-Fi.

Channels 1, 6, and 11 are the only channels on the 2.4 GHz band that don’t overlap. This means that if you’re on channel 1 and your neighbor is on channel 2, your two Wi-Fi signals will interfere with one another and slow down. On the other hand, if you’re on channel 1 and your neighbor is on channel 6, the two Wi-Fi signals will not interfere with each other because there is no overlap between channels 1 and 6 (or 11).

Best channels for 5 GHz Wi-Fi

Choosing a channel on the 5 GHz frequency band isn’t nearly as sensitive as doing so on the 2.4 GHz band. None of the channels on the 5 GHz band overlap because it’s much wider than the 2.4 GHz band.

Within the 5 GHz band, the channels 36, 40, 44, and 48 are all designated for domestic use, so we’d recommend sticking to one of those four channels to limit the possibility of interference from other, non-domestic applications (like military or aviation activity).

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How to find the best Wi-Fi channels for your home

Your router may automatically choose the best Wi-Fi channels for you. You may see a toggle switch in your router’s settings labeled something like “channel auto select” or an “auto” option in the channel-select dropdown menu. If your router has such a feature, it may be best to leave it enabled.

But if you suspect you’re on an overcrowded Wi-Fi channel, here’s how to find a better one:

Step 1: Download a free Wi-Fi analyzer app

First, you need a Wi-Fi analyzer app. There are a ton of great free options for Android, Mac OS, and Windows. Unfortunately, there are no Wi-Fi analyzer apps for iOS as Apple doesn’t allow it for security reasons. Our favorite tool is NetSpot, a free Wi-Fi analyzer app for Windows and Mac computers. See our guide on how to use NetSpot to quickly learn how to use it to find the best Wi-Fi channel.

It doesn’t matter which Wi-Fi analyzer you use—they all do essentially the same thing: tell you which Wi-Fi channels have the strongest signal and are the least crowded.

Step 2: Use the Wi-Fi analyzer app to find the best channel

Most Wi-Fi analyzers will tell you which channel you’re on and which channels have the strongest signal and are being used the least. The Wi-Fi analyzer will use this information to recommend the best channel for you.

The specifics of how to use each different Wi-Fi analyzer app will differ a bit. But in general, make sure you’re connected to the Wi-Fi network and frequency band you intend to use. If you need help selecting a frequency band, see our guide, 2.4 GHz vs. 5 GHz Wi-Fi, to learn which is best for your needs.

Make a note of the top recommended Wi-Fi channels in the Wi-Fi analyzer app.

Step 3: Change the Wi-Fi channel in your router’s settings

If you need help accessing your router’s settings, see our guide on how to log in to your router.

In your router’s settings page, look for a tab labeled something like “wireless” or “Wi-Fi.” The channel settings should be under the wireless tab. Remember, you may need to turn off your router’s auto channel select feature if you want to make sure you’re using a specific Wi-Fi channel.

Navigate to the network you’re using (could be 2.4GHz or 5 GHz).

Switch to the channel recommended by the Wi-Fi analyzer.

Step 4: Test your connection

We recommend using our quick and free speed test to find out how your new Wi-Fi settings are performing.

Other reasons why your Wi-Fi is slow


A lot of things other than crowded channels can cause slow Wi-Fi. A slow internet plan, poor router placement, network congestion, and a modem/router that needs a restart are all possible culprits of a slow internet connection.


Your router needs a restart

A modem and/or router restart is the first thing to try when experiencing internet problems. It’s fast, easy, and often solves the issue. If you need help restarting your modem, router, or gateway, see our quick instructions on how to restart a modem or router.


Your router is in a bad spot

Generally, you want your router to be in a position where it’s elevated, central to your home, and free from Wi-Fi obstructions. See our guides on where to place your router and how to move your router to another room to find the best spot to set up your Wi-Fi machine.


You’re using the wrong Wi-Fi frequency band

Most routers have at least two Wi-Fi frequency bands that you may see as two different Wi-Fi networks in your device’s Wi-Fi settings. Each of these Wi-Fi frequency bands excels at different things: the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi frequency band is better for long-range use and getting through obstacles, while the 5 GHz Wi-Fi frequency band is faster and less susceptible to interference.

See our guide on 2.4 GHz vs. 5 GHz to learn more about these Wi-Fi frequency bands and when to use them.


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What are the best Wi-Fi channels for 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi?

The channels 1, 6, and 11 are the best default channels for 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi.

What are the best Wi-Fi channels for 5 GHz Wi-Fi?

The channels 36, 40, 44, and 48 are the best default channels for 5 GHz Wi-Fi.

Will changing my Wi-Fi channel make my Wi-Fi faster?

You could see increased Wi-Fi speeds by switching to a less crowded channel. If you think you may be experiencing some channel interference, try switching between the default channels listed above and use our speed test to compare performance.

What’s the difference between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi?

The terms 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz refer to frequency bands used by your router to broadcast Wi-Fi.

The 2.4 GHz frequency band has good range and is good at getting through obstacles like walls and furniture.

The 5 GHz frequency band is faster than the 2.4 GHz band but has less range.

You may see each of these frequency bands as a different Wi-Fi network in your device’s Wi-Fi settings, or your router may choose which to use for you.

Learn more about 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi.

Author -

Austin worked as a broadband technician installing and troubleshooting countless home internet networks for some of the largest ISPs in the U.S. He became a freelance writer in 2020 specializing in software guides. After graduating with a BS in technical communication from Arizona State University, he joined the team at where he focuses on home network improvement and troubleshooting.