Have you ever experienced the situation where even if you're just a few feet from your wireless router yet you still can't connect over Wi-Fi to it? Sometimes you may not even see your router's name in the list of available connections.

This has happened to me several times and the solution has always been to change the radio channel the router is operating on.

The problem happens when a neighbour's router interferes with the radio signal of yours because they are both set to the same or overlapping channels. It's also likely the other router will be affected. The solution is to ensure your router is set to a channel that, ideally, does not overlap with the other router. Most routers will do this automatically when they are initially powered up, but if not if manual channel selection is enabled. Because you can't trust everyone to use auto channel selection, sometimes you need to resort to custom manual channel selection yourself.

You can discover what the state of your local Wi-Fi neighbourhood is by using free utility software for smartphones or PCs: for example Wi-Fi Analyzer for Android smartphones by farproc and for Windows PCs InSSIDer by Metageek. You need to choose a radio channel that does not overlap a strong neighbouring router's channel footprint, which can spread across several channels.

To alter the channel setting is relatively straightforward but you will need to connect to your router, if necessary via a LAN cable, and navigate the router's configuration menus.

Believe me - it really works and saves a lot of hair-pulling and head-scratching!