Wireless requires occasional love and care. You can't set and forget. The wireless spectrum can change so quickly and end users will be the first to experience poor service. In this post, I am going to use my home network as an example. Recently, we moved to the Bay Area. There were hardly any neighbors making my AP the sole wireless transmitter in the area.
As more families started moving in nearby I began to notice the degradation of my wireless network.
I booted up my laptop and opened Wifi Explorer, a useful OS X application use to scan, monitor, and troubleshoot wireless networks.
Upon opening the application it will display a list of wireless networks nearby, what channel they are utilizing, and what their signal strength is.
My wifi network is D-NET and you can see other networks on the same channel on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. I thought I'd be fine on 5 GHz because it is less utilized in home networks but I didn't realize other networks were all on the same channel.
With Wifi Explorer I can quickly identify problematic channels and make the changes on my Open Mesh AP.
I quickly got off the AP taking up channels 1 and 6 on 2.4 GHz and moved to channel 11 where the other SSIDs have a weaker signal. On the 5 GHz channel I avoided everyone else and went to channel 44 on the UNII-1 band.
Wifi Explorer can be purchased on the App store for $14.99. This is a tool I will keep for quick wireless troubleshooting. Highly recommended for anyone wanting to take wireless seriously. Adrian Granados is the author of Wifi Explorer and has other useful applications worth checking out.