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WLAN, WiFi & Bluetooth: How to optimise your WLAN speed

You think you have already set up your WLAN optimally?

Then you will be surprised at the additional options your router offers.

WLAN is actually quite simple. Most routers are already well adapted to the WLAN needs of the average household. On the one hand, this is positive, because there is no need for complicated, lengthy and error-prone setup of the wireless network - simply switch on the router, set the WLAN password and off you go! However, you may overlook many additional settings that can help your wireless network to run faster.


Number 12 and 13: How to activate additional channels

On many routers, channels 12 and 13 are deactivated over 2.4 GHz. In Europe they are allowed for WLAN transmission, but not in the USA. Therefore, WLAN hardware intended for the USA only supports channels 1 to 11. This also affects WLAN clients and various versions of Amazon's Fire TV stick. They cannot establish a connection to a router that transmits on channel 12 or 13.

You can find out whether you have such a "USA" client in the network by manually switching the 2.4 GHz WLAN of your router to channel 12 or 13. Then check whether all 2.4 GHz clients can still connect to the router. However, as long as all WLAN routers in your neighbourhood are distributed over the overlap-free channels 1, 6 and 11, it is unnecessary to open channels 12 and 13.

In a Fritzbox, both channels are deactivated at the factory. You can check this in the Fritzbox menu under "WLAN -' Radio Channel" if you activate the option "Customise radio channel settings" and click on the link "More settings". The option "WLAN autochannel including channel 12/13 (2.4 GHz frequency band)" is switched off.

Only if the routers in your neighbourhood do not adhere to the 1-6-11 rule can it make sense to activate channels 12 and 13. This gives the router more leeway in channel selection via autochannel.

If you are on your own: How to optimise the data rate

If your WLAN router is working alone on a wide area, you can also switch to the full 40 MHz channel bandwidth at 2.4 GHz. As a Fritzbox user, you also switch off the option for WLAN coexistence. With other routers, the width of the radio channel can usually be set directly: Here, the selection of "20/40 MHz" or "40 MHz" is usually the correct setting.

Incidentally, the 40 MHz setting also works with exactly one WLAN neighbour. To ensure that both routers can use the wide channels without interference, you must also activate channels 12 and 13. Then set your wireless network manually to channel 13. In this case, the auto-channel function of the neighbouring router should activate channel 1: Then your neighbour can also transmit at 40 MHz without overlapping. If you get on well with your neighbour, you may be able to persuade him to manually set his 2.4 GHz WLAN to channel 1.

Clear sailing over 5GHZ: Setting the router correctly

There are fewer overlapping problems in the 5 GHz band than in the 2.4 GHz band. One reason for this is that the router may only select every fourth channel for transmission from the channels 36 to 64 and 100 to 140 available here. A neighbouring WLAN cannot therefore transmit on a directly adjacent channel. In addition, channel assignment by WLAN routers in the 5 GHz band takes the form of fixed channel blocks with 80 MHz bandwidth each, namely channels 36 to 48 and 52 to 64 as well as channels 100 to 112 and 116 to 128. In this way, theoretically up to four routers with 80 MHz bandwidth each can transmit next to each other without interference. For comparison: At 2.4 GHz there are only three routers with a meagre 20 MHz each.

But there are also WLAN obstacles in the 5 GHz band: This is because weather radar is occasionally used on channels from 52 upwards. This service has priority over WLAN transmission: The router must therefore always check whether the weather radar is working on its channel and change the transmission channel if necessary. If you restart the WLAN in the router, the device first checks whether a preferred user is working over 5 GHz - this is how long the higher frequency blocks for the WLAN will drop out. Some WLAN routers do not support this automatic channel change (DFS Dynamic Frequency Selection) and are therefore only allowed to transmit in the first frequency block (channels 36 to 48) by default.

Most WLAN routers approved for Germany support DFS or offer a corresponding firmware update. Again, watch out for WLAN clients that cannot do DFS: If this is the case, router and client do not come together, although both can actually work over 5 GHz. This is because a WLAN client that only supports channels 36 to 48 cannot make contact with a router that transmits via channel 100.

Routers that support a channel width of 160 MHz over the 5 GHz frequency deliver even more speed. This is the case, for example, with a Fritzbox 7590 with current firmware, and this function is also activated automatically. However, you can only take advantage of this if you also have a WLAN client in the home network that can cope with such a wide radio channel.

Security or convenience: wireless with reduced power

Some WLAN routers offer the option of reducing the transmission power of the WLAN. This option can be useful if you want to make WLAN reception more difficult outside your property to deter data snoopers. Also if you only use your router's WLAN with devices that are close to it - for example, for home office use. With devices that are further away, a reduced radio power of the router almost always has a negative effect on the (net) transmission rate, which prolongs data transmissions and thus does not bring any advantage from an energy point of view.

In addition, some routers allow you to switch the WLAN on and off by time control. This option should also only be considered if the WLAN that has just been switched off can be activated without much effort, for example, via the WLAN button on the router, via a DECT handset or via another device that can be connected to the router even when the WLAN is switched off. (PCW)


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