Hi, my name is Avril Salter and what we are going to talk about today is how to configure your Access Point with the right channel. To do that we are going to go into Configure Access Point and we are also going to use a spectrum analyzer to take a look at what else is operating in our preferred frequency band.
I have gone into my browser and keyed in the IP address that will allow me to access my Access Point and I am now going to log in. I am going to select setup because I want to change the settings and I want to change the wireless settings. Now you can see the settings of my Access Point as they are currently set up. You can see here that I have set my SSID, my Network Name is Avril’s Network. You can see that I am operating in a mixed mode, supporting both b, g, and n devices because I do have some legacy equipment operating in my home office. I am currently working on channel 6 in the 2.4GHz band and I am setup here to work in a 20 MHz channel.
Let’s now go and take a look at our spectrum analyzer and see what is happening in the 2.4 GHz band. This is my spectrum analyzer and you can see that here is my network, Avril’s Network, we were just looking at and I have the strongest signal because I am sitting right next to the Access Point. Also, operating in this band here in pink is my neighbor’s Access Point a little bit further away from the signal and is quite a bit weaker, and over here operating in the same channel as my Access Point is my wireless LAN. This wireless LAN is my projector. I have a wireless projector that allows me to transmit between my computer and the projector using the 802.11 technologies. That is currently also setup on channel 6.
If you come down here you can see that both my network, Avril’s Network, and the neighbor’s network both capable of transmitting up to 130 Mb per second. What you can see is that I should really move my wireless LAN up to channel 11 because if I move it up to channel 11, I can avoid interference with my projector’s Wireless LAN connection.
Let’s go back and do that. I have gone back into my Access Point and I am now going to select channel 11. Of course that will move me now up to the higher frequency band. Not only am I going to select channel 11, I am also going to select Auto 20/40 MHz. I can take advantage of using a 40 MHz band and you may say, “Well, Avril, if you go to a 40MHz channel that’s going to interfere with your projector’s Wireless LAN”. That is true, but the way the 802.11n works is that if it detects interference in the secondary channel, then it will actually go back and use the primary channel which is what I have setup as channel 11. So because my projector, I do not use all the time; when I am not using it I will be able to leverage off the 40 MHz and get the higher channel data rates. When I am using the projector system it will throttle it back to the 20 MHz channel and of course my data rates will drop as well. Let’s go ahead and save those settings and then we will go back and take a look at our Channel Analyzer.
We need to give our Access Point a little bit of time to reset itself to the new channel that I have selected. There it goes. You can see now that it is operating on channel 11. I also want to point out that if you come down here and look next to where Avril’s Network is displaying here and you see that my maximum data rate has increased from 130 Mb out to 300 Mb because obviously I am using more channel bandwidth so I am able to get up to a higher data rate.
We have taken a look at where the wireless LAN’s are transmitting and we have made some decisions about what channel I want to deploy my wireless LAN on and what channel width I want to have my 802.11n operating on, but we have not looked at other equipment that might be operating on this band.
Let’s do that. I do that by selecting this button here called the current and that will display any other signals that are also operating in the 2.4 GHz band. You can see there is other equipment transmitting right across this band and you may be wondering. What is that equipment? You can tell from the signal shape that it is not a wireless LAN. Could be wireless phone? Could it be Bluetooth? Could be Zigbee? In actual fact what this is is a proprietary system that has been built to also operate in the unlicensed 2.4 GHz band.
In my home I generate solar energy and that solar energy system gives me regular updates on how much energy I am actually generating. Those updates are transmitted from the solar panels to my home wirelessly. As I mentioned they use a proprietary system and the system happens use the entire 2.4 GHz band. So it is impossible for me to move my wireless LAN to a different channel and avoid that interference.
I have two choices here. I can continue to operate in the 2.4GHz band and just tolerate a slight degradation of my system due to this interference, or I can decide that I want to invest in an Access Point that can operate in the 5 GHz band and I will deploy a separate Access Point for my 802.11n equipment, so that it won’t suffer this level of interference.