A Small Hack Showing All Your Neighbor’s WiFi Profile in Windows 7, and How You Can Optimize Your Signal

If you are a geek like us, you will find this trick very helpful on diagnosis your wireless network experience. Particularly wireless interference, if you are living in a crowed neighborhoods.

You can run the following command on your Windows 7 or Vista to find more details about all your neighbor’s wireless network.

netsh wlan show networks mode=bssid

wireless_channels

As you can see, this command will show you all the wireless network your card detects. Not only that it will give you information such as their Signal Strength, Channel, Radio Type, Authentication Method, Encryption Method, etc.

Some real hacker will use such exposed information to target an attack on particular network,  in fact lifehacker has an excellent article on how to hack WEP based Encryption Wi-Fi network.

Since we aren’t the real hacker, we won’t go deeper on this topic, rather we can talk about how you can improve your network experience from such information.

Improve by selecting a different Channel

The first obvious choice is to select a different channel, why so ?

Little you may already know, your 802.11g/n wireless device is usually operating on 2.4 GHz frequency. By selecting different channel your wireless network will have a distinct frequency different by 5 MHz. For example, by default, 2.4 GHz won’t operating at exact 2400 MHz frequency, rather the first channel on this category is operating at 2412 MHz, if you keep adding 5 MHz bandwidth per channel, channel 6 will then operating at the frequency of 2437 MHz. However, that being said, your router won’t just operating on this exact frequency, it usually will cover a range of 25 MHz per channel, which means if you want to complete avoid the other channel you need to select at least 5 channels apart. (5×5 = 25 MHz) And there is only 1-11 channels available for average consumers. (note: with the latest 802.11n it will use as much as 40 MHz per channel.)

By selecting a different channel will definitely help to improve any interference you might experienced before. However, that said, you need to also keep in mind your other wireless device at home. Things like your wireless home phone (if its targeted at 2.4 GHz frequency), Microwave oven (at a frequency near 2.45 GHz) usually will also interfere with your Wi-Fi signal, also keep in mind Bluetooth device is also using 2.4 GHz frequency.

Enjoy.

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