How to Change the Channel on a Wi-Fi Extender

Reduce interference and improve your Wi-Fi extender's signal

What to Know

  • First, switch to Access Point mode. You might need to connect the Wi-Fi extender to Ethernet, even if it wasn’t before.
  • Look in the wireless settings for your model for a Channel setting and try different selections until you find one that gives you better performance.

This article outlines how to change the wireless channel on a Wi-Fi extender. The precise steps and controls to alter your extender’s channel will vary by manufacturer, but in most cases, you should be able to follow the below steps.

How Do I Change the Channel on My Wi-Fi Extender?

Wi-Fi extenders allow you to expand the range of your wireless network without the overhead of an entire wireless access point. However, if you’re experiencing poor connectivity, you can change the wireless channel on which your device operates to try and alleviate the problem.

  1. First, log in to your device through a web interface or a dedicated app. The process should be similar to logging into a router as an admin.

  2. If your device is an actual Wi-Fi extender (and not, e.g., a router), it likely has something in the way of an Operating Mode setting, which you’ll probably have set to Extender or similar. Set it to Access Point.

  3. After a restart, your device will be operating as a standalone access point rather than an extender.

  4. You’ll need a way to connect to the LAN now since your device is technically a mini-network now. If your device has an Ethernet port, you’ll need to figure out how to get the cable to it.

  5. Log in to the device again, and look for admin settings related to either Local Area Network > Wireless or Wireless. Note there might be two of them (for 2.4GHz and 5GHz) if your extender is a dual-band device.

  6. Within each one will be a Channel setting. It's typically on Auto, but you can also choose specific settings.

  7. Try these one at a time until you find one that improves your wireless performance.

Should My Wi-Fi Extender Be on the Same Channel?

Generally yes, Wi-Fi extenders are designed to integrate with the "host" wireless network. When you point your device at the network you want to extend during set-up, the extender will auto-configure itself to use the host network's channel. Then the extender can pick up signals out of range of the primary router and easily pass them along.

However, there are situations where this can be a problem. For example, suppose your neighbor also has a Wi-Fi network running on the same channel as yours. You may find that when you're in range of your Wi-Fi extender, your performance takes a hit. (Why is this an issue? Check out this explanation of wireless interference for details.) That's because there are signals from both networks colliding, and it may take multiple tries for traffic to get from the extender to your PC or phone.

But if you switch your extender to Access Point mode and change its channel, these signals won't collide anymore, and you should see better throughput. It's a slight trade-off, as you'll need to find a way to connect your extender up to the network, which could involve wired networking.

  • How does a Wi-Fi extender work?

    Wi-Fi extenders and Wi-Fi repeaters perform similar jobs, but the way Wi-Fi extenders work is slightly different. Technically, extenders connect to your existing network via a wired connection rather than creating a new wireless network. Repeaters connect wirelessly and create a separate network.

  • What is the best channel for my Wi-Fi network?

    Wi-Fi connections generally perform equally well on all channels, but you can use a Wi-Fi/network analyzer to find the best Wi-Fi channel. Because the effects of signal interference vary over time, the best channel one day may not be the best one tomorrow.

  • Why does my 5 GHz channel disappear when I use a Wi-Fi extender?

    If your extender has dual-band frequency enabled, the 5 GHz frequency may disappear. Disable the 2.4 GHz frequency and restart your router to

    switch to 5 GHz.

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