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Thread: Inaccurate channel reporting by InSSIDer

  1. #1

    Default Inaccurate channel reporting by InSSIDer

    Hi... [Guess I should have posted in "Support", pls move as necessary]
    Helping someone else with their new Belkin N router, and Acer notebook, and Vaio notebook... I put InSSIDer on both notebooks. I manually set the router config's "Wireless channel" ... and there was also a setting for an "Extension channel", but my reason for this posting is...

    InSSIDer running on the Vaio notebook would correctly report the wireless channel as was set for the main "Wireless channel" in the router...

    ...but InSSIDer on the Acer would report the network channel as midway between the "Wireless channel" and the "Extension channel" settings. I would usually ignore the 'Extension channel' setting, letting it default or whatever... but then InSSIDer on the Acer isn't reporting the same "Wireless channel" setting.

    If I set the Belkin router 'Wireless channel' to 7, and then went to explicitly set the 'Extension channel'... it would give me a couple specific channels to choose for 'extension channel' rather than all channels... and if I chose 11 for the 'extension', then InSSIDer on the Acer would report the network's channel was 9. If I chose 3 for the 'extension', then InSSIDer on the Acer would report the network's channel was 5.
    All the while, InSSIDer on the Viao would report the network's channel was 7... as was set for the main "Wireless channel" in the router configuration.

    Don't know why InSSIDer on the Acer is 'misreporting'(?) the network channel... I suppose it has to do with the specific wireless adapter in the Acer... but it would make it difficult for the Acer user, alone, dealing with channel settings.

    I guess I'm not worried about it, but thought I'd report what seems like a 'bug'. To make matters somewhat worse, the new Belkin router has an automatic 'self-healing' feature that will automatically change the channels to whatever it determines is 'best'... this doesn't suit the Acer very well, which fails to adjust to the changing channel... which usually ends up on channel 1, which, in actual usage, is definitely not the 'best'. We disabled that 'feature'.
    Last edited by RpD; 05-12-2010 at 12:56 AM.

  2. Default

    inSSIDer depends on the information it receives from the wireless card driver.

    The extension channel, and this is just an assumption, is for your 802.11n modulation. When a client demands more data throughput from the AP it will jump into a 40MHz transmission (channel bonding) rather than the typical 20Mhz used for a 802.11 channel. I'm assuming by you saying that you have some channels to choose from, it is just determining the width of the broadcast in the spectrum.

    This makes it really difficult to assign a true wi-fi channel to it. In some routers you say I want channel 6, and then you have the option to extend it below or above channel 6. See how this capture of 802.11n (on channel 1) shows it going all the way into channel 6? That is what happens when you choose the extension channel.

    As you can see choosing a single channel to assign to each access point is rather difficult, and there isn't a standard of doing it yet. Since all 802.11n access points must be backwards compatible with 802.11b standards, older cards will show the base channel

    Here is what an 802.11g (OFDM) broadcast looks like.

    How the newer cards determine a single "channel" for the AP, I think is entirely up to the vendor of the wireless card.

    I am not a developer, and I haven't dived into the Native Wi-Fi API. I'm sure it is possible more accurate channel displays, but it would take a lot of experimentation with all the different types of wireless cards out there to get it accurate.

  3. #3


    Can channel bonding trash the entire spectrum from other competing access points? I'm noticing a significant decline in signal in a location where new N aps have been installed.


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