One of the things I hate in life is to pay for services that I cannot enjoy because of my personal setup or situation. One of the best examples here is the internet service I have hooked up my apartment with: I have a Spectrum plan, that offers speeds up to 300 Mbps, which is more than enough for streaming movies, play online video games and call my family on Skype and FaceTime.
However, what I recently observed is that, while the internet speed on my wired connections in the house reach that 300 Mbps almost 100% of the time, my MacBook, which is using WiFi is not even at 25% of that value. Sometimes, the speed was so bad, I ended up setting up my iPhone as a hotspot and shared its data connection with my MacBook to finish what I needed.
Intrigued by this difference in speeds, I started doing my research and ended up with a ridiculously simple solution that took my WiFi speeds through the roof. Best part: it’s FREE! Here it comes.
Most of the times, other WiFi routers are close to your router
What happens most of the times is that we live in the proximity of other households that use their own routers. This means that those routers’ antennae and frequencies will interfere with your router’s antenna and frequency and things might go south, since your MacBook depends on a clear, strong signal coming from your router. Since WiFi operates on the same frequency, that’s the reason why interference plays such a big role in slowing down your MacBook!
The Solution: identify the optimal WiFi channel
Fortunately, Apple came with a very neat solution to this problem and it’s called WiFi channel selection. Here’s what you need to do:
- Open Spotlight (the magnifying glass icon on the top right of the screen)
- Type Wireless Diagnostics and hit Enter
- A window will open. In the toolbar at the top, select Scan
A window will open. Focus on the last 2 line items: Best 2GHz and Best 5GHz. Look at those items corresponding channels and write them down. Here’s an example of what I see (your channel might be different – that’s okay)
Now comes the last and most important step you need to do on your router. I did this on my TimeCapsule router but this can be done on any router, Apple or non-Apple. Open the admin page of your router and, depending on what frequency you use (2GHz and/or 5GHz) set up the channels you’ve wrote down at step 4 above. Follow the steps on your router (you might be asked to restart your router as well – that’s fine).
Once the router restart, prepare to be amazed! Your MacBook will start operating at maximum WiFi speeds with minimal interference from all the other routers operating near your apartment, house or location.
PS: If you’re casual Starbuck person and work remotely from there, make sure you do this every time – your channel might be different, depending on your table, other retailers nearby or folks that use their phones as hotspots in your proximity.