Impact of Changing 5GHz WiFi Channels

My routers do DFS really well. So well, that they detect radar once in a while (about once per week) where I am pretty sure there is nothing to detect. I found a map of weather radar stations in my area (100km around me) and their frequencies. I should not be able to detect weather radar. I am not anywhere close to their frequencies.

Anyway, I thought changing to channels which do not require DFS might be helpful. But look at this:

Ping latency of 2 WiFi connected PCs, all 5GHz. From 20:00 to 10:00 I used different channels.

So on 4th at about 20:00 I changed from channel 52 which needs DFS, to channel 44 which does not need DFS. I expected nothing to happen minus no false weather radar detection. But what I found was a severe increase of latency. Changing to channel 60 on 5th at about 10:00 made a huge difference.

While I’m at risk of DFS hitting me again,I’d say it’s worth it.

Channels 44, 52 and 60 showed no activity from neighbors. Only channel 36-40 are used as well as some more channels above 100 (see here for lists of available channels and frequencies).

Lesson learned:

  • Not all channels are equal.
  • To find the best channels, run a proper real-world test.
  • Be aware of weather radar. Or DFS. Or both.

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