When configuring a house router, you’ll run into many Wi-Fi settings with cryptic names. Usually, you haven’t any thought what they imply, making it exhausting to find out the proper worth to enter.

And also you’re not alone. I personally have a tough time remembering all these acronyms or retaining tabs on numerous methods completely different networking distributors name the identical issues.

The purpose is, on the very least, we have to recognize the wording inconsistency in dwelling networking and Wi-Fi. After which there are good and dangerous setting combos.

With that in thoughts, this submit will clarify the widespread ones amongst these pesky Wi-Fi settings utilizing each day phrases. When by way of, you’ll be capable of configure your property community with the next stage of confidence.

It’s price noting, although, that many of those settings are like switches and buttons beneath the hood of a automobile. And as such, you typically ought to go away them alone. However an inquiring thoughts will nonetheless discover this submit a satisfying learn.

Synology RT1900ac Router Wi Fi Settings
The Wi-Fi setting web page of a Synology router (click on to enlarge.)

Wi-Fi Settings: The not-so-common applicability

All Wi-Fi broadcasters (routers and entry factors) share the identical rules of the Wi-Fi normal(s) they help. Nonetheless, they don’t provide the identical stage of {hardware} customizability.

Usually, all of them have a set of ordinary parameters. Past that, you’d want an ordinary router with an online person interface to get to different nitty-gritty Wi-Fi intricacies. And even then, completely different distributors have completely different ranges of in-depth customization.

So, it’s regular if the one that you love router doesn’t have all the things I point out right here or if it has one thing else that I don’t. In any case, I’ll replace this submit as I see match.

Let’s dive in!

Widespread Wi-Fi settings

Once more, these are settings obtainable in most routers, however the element, and even the naming, of every, nonetheless varies.

(Allow) Radio (a.okay.a Wi-Fi band)

Radio is the {hardware} that broadcasts the Wi-Fi indicators. Usually, every Wi-Fi band — 2.4GHz, 5GHz, or 6GHz — is a bit of radio {hardware}. So a Twin-band router has two items, and a Tri-band router has three, and many others.

In some broadcasters, this setting means that you can allow or disable a band. When all radios are turned off on a Wi-Fi router, it’s not a Wi-Fi router however simply an ordinary router. Others enable for turning these bands off on a schedule.

Why would anybody need to flip a Wi-Fi band off? You do this to keep away from interference (akin to in a double-NAT scenario,) cut back power consumption, or simply as a result of you may.

Asus RT AX58U Wi Fi Settings
The Wi-Fi setting pages of an Asus router (click on to enlarge)

Wi-Fi normal (a.ka. Wi-Fi mode or Wi-fi Mode)

Because the identify suggests, this setting dictates the purchasers which Wi-Fi normal or requirements a band will help, together with 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6), 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5), 802.11n (Wi-Fi 4), 802.11g, 802.11a, and/or 802.11b.

The really helpful default worth (Auto) means the {hardware} will deal with all purchasers of various requirements it helps.

Wi-Fi identify (a.okay.a SSID)

Wi-Fi identify — usually community identify, wi-fi identify, and many others., or simply identify — is the pleasant moniker of the Service Set Identifier (SSID) a Wi-Fi band makes use of to broadcast the indicators.

An SSID seems every time you attempt to join a Wi-Fi consumer (like a laptop computer) to a brand new community for the primary time. As a reputation, you may make it something you need, but it surely’s greatest to make use of plain textual content with no area or particular character and preserve it brief and candy.

By default, an SSID is proven publicly, however you may select to cover it. If that’s the case, every time you need to join a brand new consumer to the community, you’ll have to program the SSID into the machine manually.

Wi-fi scheduler (a.okay.a SSID schedule)

This setting permits customers to show off an SSID based mostly on a schedule in case it’s not wanted at a specific time.

Sensible Join

Sensible Join is a method relevant to broadcasters with a couple of Wi-Fi band (Twin-band, Tri-band, and many others.), permitting using a single SSID for all of those bands.

For Sensible Hook up with work, the {hardware} makes use of Sensible Join Rule, a.okay.a Band Steering, to find out to which band a consumer will join.

Band Steering (a.okay.a Sensible Join Rule)

Band Steering, relevant when Sensible Join is used and when enabled, mechanically steers purchasers to the band that has probably the most bandwidth obtainable.

The thought is that the purchasers will join on the quickest velocity potential by connecting to the perfect band in real-time.

In actuality, Band Steering doesn’t work effectively in dwelling routers, and the purchasers may find yourself connecting to the slowest band (2.4GHz) just because this band has the very best sign power because of the in depth vary.

Usually, Sensible Join is a handy method to keep linked should you don’t thoughts not connecting to the quickest band (5GHz or 6GHz) always.

If you need extra management over which band your machine makes use of, flip Sensible Join off and separate the bands utilizing completely different SSIDs.

TP Link Archer AXE75 Wi Fi Settings
The Wi-Fi setting web page of a TP-Hyperlink router (click on to enlarge.)

Wi-Fi Channel

A Wi-Fi band is a big phase of radio frequency, and, by default, every Wi-Fi channel, usually proven as choices in a drop-down menu, is a 20MHz portion of it, represented by a quantity. That brings us to a couple sub-settings:

Channel Width (a.okay.a Bandwidth)

The identify says all of it. This setting determines the width of the channel getting used, measured in MHz. The broader the channel, the extra bandwidth the band — it’s quicker.

Usually, a Wi-Fi channel is 20MHz (default), 40MHz, 80MHz, or160MHz broad. Decide a width that matches your want, or you may decide Auto (or all of them) for the {hardware} to make use of whichever applicable worth when potential.

However to get a wider channel, you should mix a number of contiguous 20MHz channels. And that brings us to Management Channel and Extension Channel.

Wi-Fi Analyzer Wi-Fi Signal Strenth in dBm
Listed here are Wi-Fi channels and SSIDs being visualized by a Wi-Fi Analyzer app. Word how every channel takes up a portion of the band and overlapping SSIDs.
Management Channel

That’s the actual 20MHz channel that you just decide on the record. When you go away the worth at Auto, the broadcaster will decide one mechanically for you.

Extension Channel

This setting dictates the path — up, down, or each — the {hardware} will use to increase the Management Channel by combining it with adjoining channels to meet the Channel Width setting above.

When relevant, relying on the place the Management Channel is on the spectrum, you may select the worth of the Extension Channel to be Above or Beneath, or you may go away it at Auto.

Usually, you need to decide the Management and Extension channels that type a channel of which the width just isn’t or the least overlapped — it’s a method to make your community extra dependable — with different broadcasters throughout the neighborhood. When unsure, use the Auto settings to permit the {hardware} to select the optimum one in actual time.

Orbi RBRE960 Advanced Wi Fi Settings
The Wi-Fi setting web page of a Netgear Orbi router (click on to enlarge.)
DFS channel (a.okay.a DFS channel choice or DFS)

Brief for Dynamic Frequency Choice, DFS signifies channels shared with non-Wi-Fi functions, akin to RADAR.

When the broadcaster is elected to make use of DFS channels, it takes the backseat, which means it should mechanically change to a distinct channel if one other software wants that DFS channel.

The usage of DFS will increase the width of the channel and, due to this fact, Wi-Fi bandwidth however may trigger intermittent transient disconnections.

Bands vs Channels vs Streams

Bands (2.4GHz, 5GHz, or 6GHz), channels (in 20/40/80/160MHz width), and streams (2×2, 3×3, 4×4, and many others.) are objects that make Wi-Fi complicated. Right here’s a crude analogy:

A Wi-Fi band is sort of a street, channels are lanes, and streams are automobiles. On the identical street, wider lanes are for bigger automobiles. Autos with bigger cargo areas (2×2, 3×3, 4×4, and many others.) can carry extra items (knowledge) per journey (connection). Streams are like automobiles vs buses.

A Wi-Fi connection takes place on a single channel (lane) of a single band (street) at a time, however the extra channels and bands there are, the extra choices and {hardware} gadgets you need to use concurrently to ship higher speeds. That’s as a result of you may mix a number of contiguous channels (lanes) into a bigger one.

The precise knowledge transmission is all the time that of the bottom denominator. Equally, a bicycle can carry only one particular person at a comparatively sluggish velocity, even if you experience it on an open freeway.

Wi-Fi Safety

Since Wi-Fi indicators are democratically broadcast within the air, by default, all gadgets can connect with them, which could be a safety situation. To limit the connections, all Wi-Fi broadcasters have a safety measure that features the next settings:

Authentication Methodology (a.okay.a Safety Possibility or Safety Degree)

That is the kind of safety the {hardware} makes use of amongst these:

  • Open (or Open System, or Enhanced Open): No safety. This setting is on the market in all Wi-Fi requirements and {hardware} and permits any purchasers to connect with the broadcaster.
  • WEP: Brief for Wired Equal Privateness which is a dated and out of date safety technique utilized in legacy {hardware} (Wi-Fi 4 and older).
  • WPA: Brief for Wi-Fi Protected Entry which replaces WEP as a greater safety technique. Beginning with Wi-Fi 5, WPA is required.
    • WPA Encryption: When WPA is used, there are two choices for its encryption, together with Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) and Superior Encryption Normal (AES). The latter is safer and the one possibility in WPA2 and WPA3.
    • WPA-Private vs WPA-Enterprise: WPA (all variations) works within the Private (default) or Enterprise mode. The previous applies to most conditions and requires a Pre-Shared Key; the latter is for Enterprise functions and requires a RADIUS server. Extra on these under.
    • Group Key Rotation Interval (a.okay.a Key Rotation): A WPA safety characteristic that mechanically refreshes the encryption key to forestall “guessing”. The default worth is 3600 seconds (1 hour.)
  • WPA2 and WPA3: The newer and safer variations of WPA. WP2 is required in Wi-Fi 6, and WPA3 is required in Wi-Fi 6E (in addition to future Wi-Fi revisions.)

When selecting a safety possibility, keep in mind that the upper the WPA model, the extra safety the Wi-Fi community is, but it surely’s additionally much less suitable with older purchasers. In lots of circumstances, you may select a mixture of these requirements and permit the broadcasters to make use of applicable ranges with relevant purchasers.

WPA Pre-Shared Key (a.ka. Wi-Fi Password)

WPA Pre-Shared Key — usually community key, community password, or simply password — is a secret string of textual content and quantity that enable a consumer entry to the Wi-FI community. In brief, it’s the password you’d have to sort in earlier than you may join a consumer to a safe Wi-Fi community.

RADIUS

Brief for Distant Authentication Dial-In Consumer Service, RADIUS is a server that gives authentication as an alternative of a password. When RADIUS is used, a person will use a username and password to connect with a Wi-Fi community, much like logging in to an electronic mail account or a enterprise area server.

WPS

Brief for Wi-Fi Protected Setup, WPS is a fast technique so as to add a consumer to a broadcaster — through a {hardware} button or a button throughout the router’s interface.

The thought is that you just push the WPS button on the router (if obtainable) and, inside 60 seconds, push the identical button on a consumer, and the 2 will mechanically join, saving you from having to enter the Wi-Fi password.

WPS makes life simpler — particularly when you should add an Web of Issues (IoTs) machine, akin to a printer, to the community — however has been proved to be a safety loophole in particular conditions. For that reason, it’s not obtainable in all Wi-Fi {hardware}.

Asus Professional Wi Fi Settings 5GHzAsus Professional Wi Fi Settings 2.4GHz
All Asus routers have a Skilled part in Wi-Fi settings for every of its bands

Much less widespread Wi-Fi settings

These are settings that many broadcasters don’t have, and in those who do, the default values are the “most secure” — you may need to go away them alone.

Airtime Equity

This setting, when turned on, enhance the efficiency of quick Wi-Fi consumer on the expense of slower ones. Relying on the scenario, it may also trigger a broadcaster to overwork.

Extra on Airtime Equity on this submit, however the really helpful setting is off.

SSID Isolation (a.okay.a AP/community Isolation/Remoted)

Isolation makes linked gadgets unable to connect with each other. All they’ll entry is the Web. By default, isolation is turned off, aside from Visitor networks the place this setting is turned on.

Roaming Assistant (a.okay.a Roaming or Handoff or Seamless Handoff)

This setting is much like the Band Steering above however on the broadcaster stage. It’s relevant solely to a community that features a number of broadcasters, akin to a mesh Wi-Fi system.

Handoff known as otherwise between distributors, however the precept is mostly the identical — it helps a Wi-Fi machine decide the perfect broadcaster to connect with as you progress round a big space.

Right here’s an in depth submit on roaming assistants for these utilizing an Asus AiMesh system. Usually, the default (greatest) setting for roaming is -70 dBm.

Broadcasting energy (a.okay.a TX Energy, Transmit Energy)

Usually, a Wi-Fi band broadcasts on the max energy allowed by the area — within the US, that’s 30 dBm or 1 watt.

This setting permits for adjusting the facility to any stage under that. Decrease ranges shorten the vary of a broadcaster.

USB Mode (a.okay.a Downgrade USB…)

Relevant to a router with a built-in USB 3.0 port. This setting toggles between USB 3.0 mode (default) and USB 2.0. The latter helps enhance the efficiency of the two.4GHz band.

If you wish to use a router’s USB port to host a storage machine, USB 3.0 mode is really helpful (on the expense of the two.4GHz band’s efficiency.)

Different much less widespread Wi-Fi settings

The desk under consists of less-common Wi-Fi settings. Generally, you must go away them alone.

Setting
Identify
Default
worth
What it does
Wi-Fi Agile Multiband Enabled Wi-Fi Agile Multiband is a setting that improves Wi-Fi protection and improved connection velocity for low-power IoT gadgets.
Goal Wake Time Enabled Goal wake time (TWT) is a brand new characteristic of Wi-Fi 6 that permits a Wi-Fi broadcaster (router or entry level) to handle exercise within the Wi-Fi community to reduce medium competition between linked purchasers and cut back the required period of time a consumer within the power-save mode must be awake.
(Allow) IGMP Snooping Off Web Group Administration Protocol (IGMP) allows a number of gadgets to share one IP handle to obtain the identical knowledge.
This setting helps with multicast functions, akin to media streaming, however could cause the {hardware} (router) overload because it requires further recourses.
Multicast Fee Auto The speed at which a router places messages in teams to ship out as multicast to keep away from collisions.
This setting boosts efficiency on the expense of latency. It’s greatest to go away it at Auto.
Preamble Kind Lengthy The Preamble defines transmission standards for the to-be-transmitted knowledge to realize conformity in knowledge transmission for higher and error-free efficiency.
The Lengthy (default) worth improves error checking however may require extra time (sluggish).
However, the Brief worth is quicker — much less knowledge is processed — however may translate into extra errors.
AMPDU
(a.okay.a AMPDU-RTS)|
Optimize AMPDU Aggregation
on|off Aggregated MAC Protocol Information Unit (AMPDU) offers with congestion issues by aggregating a number of MPDU blocks collectively.
When turned on, this setting improves efficiency in crowded airspace.
Nonetheless, you must have it off if you wish to run vital functions akin to video conferencing or voice-over IP.
The Optimize AMPDU Aggregation additional optimizes AMPDU.
RTS Threshold 2346
(bytes)
The Request to Ship (RTS) Threshold is the required packet dimension (in bytes) the broadcaster has to verify if a handshake is required with the receiving consumer.
If the worth is 2346 or greater, RTS is successfully disabled.
DTIM Interval 3 The Supply Site visitors Indication Message  (DTIM) interval setting is the frequency the broadcaster sends a sign to wake a consumer from sleep mode.
These settings work with Beacon Interval under. A number of its worth (from 1 to 255) with the Beacon Inner to have the impact.
For instance, the default values of each (3 x 100milliseconds) imply the router will ship wake-up indicators each 300 milliseconds, or about thrice per second.
Beacon Interval 100
(milliseconds)
This setting helps gadgets uncover broadcasting entry factors to modify between them in a mesh system.
Excessive values (in milliseconds) can enhance efficiency by saving assets however makes it more durable for purchasers to modify from one AP to a different.
Allow TX Bursting on A legacy setting that improves efficiency for 802.11b and 802.11g purchasers and has no impact on newer purchasers.
WMM APSD enabled The Wi-Fi Multimedia (WMM) Computerized Energy Save Supply (WMM APSD) helps cell purchasers save battery whereas linked to the Wi-Fi community by permitting them to enter standby or sleep mode
Protected Administration Frames (PMF) 6GHz: Required
5GHz: Succesful
2.4GHz: Disabled
Protected Administration Frames (PMF) is an ordinary outlined by Wi-Fi Alliance to boost Wi-Fi connection security. It supplies unicast and multicast administration actions and frames a safe technique with WPA2/WPA3, which may enhance packet privateness safety.
Fragmentation Threshold 2346
(bytes)
The utmost size of the body, in bytes, past which packets have to be fragmented into two or extra frames. The default worth is 2346, which successfully disables fragmentation.
Low fragmentation thresholds could end in poor community efficiency.
Modulation Scheme As much as the very best potential The extent of Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM) is getting used for the band. The upper the quantity, the extra bandwidth.
Turbo QAM
(2.4 GHz solely)
on Higher efficiency for this band however have to be supported by the consumer and might trigger points for those who don’t.
Beamforming on Focus Wi-Fi indicators of each broadcaster and consumer for a greater connection. Each ends should help this setting.
There are completely different flavors of Beamforming — Express Beamforming (2.4GHz), 802.11ac Beamforming (5GHz), and Common Beamforming — however all of them range from model to model. None is a common normal characteristic.
The superior Wi-Fi settings collectively present in dwelling broadcasters

The takeaway

There you go. This submit will turn out to be useful if you wish to tinker along with your router. These are typically all the Wi-Fi settings you’d have to know in a house community.

The rule is to again up your router’s settings earlier than messing round.

Keep in mind that the perfect can actually be the enemy of the great if you’re at it. Not so certain? Depart the default values alone.

Dwelling Wi-Fi Settings 101: Tips about Greatest Setup

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