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Google Wifi is choosing a crowded channel

If you notice that your Google Wifi network is sharing a channel with several other networks, don’t worry. Crowded isn’t the same as busy.

What makes a channel busy? Let’s dive a little deeper.

  • The activity level of each network matters more than the number of networks. A single Wi-Fi network with heavy use can clog a channel far worse than many unused networks. Not sure what this means?
  • Channel scanning apps don’t always measure other sources of congestion and interference. Non-Wi-Fi signals (like those from microwaves, Bluetooth devices, cordless phones, garage door openers, baby monitors, etc.) can all congest a channel but may not show up in a scan. So it’s possible that a channel can appear empty, while it is, in fact, saturated with other kinds of interference.

When choosing a channel, Google Wifi factors in how busy the other networks are, as well as non-Wi-Fi interference.

So rest easy. If your Google Wifi network is using a crowded channel but you aren’t experiencing slow speeds, you’re fine. Your Wifi point is always scanning its environment to choose the channel that is most likely to give you the best Wi-Fi.

More about channel congestion

Imagine you and a friend are in a room with 10 other people. If everyone is quiet, you can still have a clear conversation with your friend.

Now imagine you and your friend are in a room with just 2 other people, except they’re both yelling at the top of their lungs. It would be pretty hard to hear your friend, right?

It’s the same with Wi-Fi. Your Wi-Fi devices communicate with each other more clearly and quickly when there’s no competing “noise” (i.e. network congestion). Again: it’s more about how much traffic each Wi-Fi network has, and less about how many networks there are.

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