Friday, 8 June 2012

Improving my home wireless network

I noticed my wireless connection was a bit slow this morning, so after restarting the router (standard "IT Crowd – Have you tried turning it off and on again" approach), I thought it would be worth seeing what other wireless networks were nearby and whether they might be causing some contention for bandwidth.

Years ago I used NetStumbler to do this kind of thing, but it hasn't been updated in a long time and doesn't work with the wireless card on my laptop. Instead I found inSSIDer. It does the job nicely - this is what it revealed:

wireless channels before

My network is the orange one named 'Gardiner'. I've obscured some of the labels to protect privacy.

After switching my router's wireless settings to channel 5, it now looks like this:

wireless channels after

That looks better.

Other options for improving my wireless performance would be upgrading the router to something that support 802.11n (my trusty old Billion only handles 11b + 11g), and maybe getting a wireless repeater to improve coverage around the house.