If you are a geek like us, you will find this trick very helpful in diagnosis your wireless network experience. Particularly wireless interference, if you are living in a crowded neighborhood.
You can run the following command on your Windows 7 or Vista to find more details about all your neighbor’s wireless networks.
netsh wlan show networks mode=bssid
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 hackers, 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 operate at exactly 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 operate on this exact frequency, it usually will cover a range of 25 MHz per channel, which means if you want to completely avoid the other channel you need to select at least 5 channels apart. (5×5 = 25 MHz) And there are 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 experience before. However, that said, you need to also keep in mind your other wireless device at home. Things like your wireless home phone (if it’s 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.