If you live in an apartment complex, townhouse community, or another area with lots of people, then you know how many different Wi-Fi signals there are. Not to mention all the fun and crazy names.
And while you spend time fighting with your neighbors to come up with the most clever name for yours, your Wi-Fi signals are fighting the interference from each other.
Now you can get a leg up on all of your neighbors (with the Wi-Fi signal at least) with something called Dynamic Frequency Selection, or DFS.
What is DFS?
Right now, you have nine channels available on your 5GHz band. Unfortunately, many of those channels overlap, so, when it’s all said and done, you can really only use three that won’t have some sort of interference with the other channels.
DFS steps up your channel game by giving your router access to channels previously restricted to radar systems, namely airports.
Obviously, the FCC feels that keeping track of planes so they don’t crash into each other outweighs your desire to binge watch television while posting pictures of your dinner on Instagram, so they banned the use of the DFS channels on routers for a long time.
However, with a little negotiation and handshaking, they finally worked out a deal to let you tap into them, too—even if you still have to share them.
How does DFS work?
You might be wondering why the FCC suddenly decided to open these channels up to you. We can assure you it’s not because they went and found something better. Instead, it’s because they still have the right to kick you off.
The way DFS works on your router is fairly simple. While you’re using Wi-Fi, your router will check to see whether or not it can use that expanded range of 5GHz channels. Through a bunch of technological wizardry, it looks to see if those channels are being used.
If they aren’t, then your router opens up those channels for your Wi-Fi and lets you run wild with them. If not, then it shuts them down.
This is the rule, and your router has to follow it. It’s still amazing, though.
Why You Need It
What makes this technology so amazing is that it gives you access to Wi-Fi channels that other people don’t have yet.
See, Wi-Fi channels work similarly to lanes on a highway. The more lanes there are, the less crowded everything gets. If it’s just you on the highway, it doesn’t really matter which lane you’re in.
But when there are more cars around, things become crowded, and some lanes become faster than others.
With DFS, it’s as though you’ve been given special access to lanes that other people can’t use. So while they’re stuck fighting the traffic to keep their Wi-Fi signal strong and fast, you’re breezing along at any speed you want to travel.
Now, not a lot of routers have this yet, (but one of ours does.)
So, if you jump on the DFS bandwagon right now, you’re going to make everyone jealous of your Wi-Fi.
Even if they have the cooler name.