I have a moderately complex network at home, with multiple WiFi base stations (running at 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz), a hacked WRT54G gateway router for firewall/VPN, and a couple of AirPort Express units for music streaming.

Starting a couple of weeks ago I started having all sorts of erratic behavior with the AirPorts, which was extremely annoying since I was trying to evaluate Airfoil, an audio streaming application, for TidBITS. Lost connections, disappearing access points, and other nonsense. It hit the point yesterday afternoon where I reconfigured my entire network, yanked out the VPN, and, in the process, killed everything.

Waking up with a little 4 am insomnia I tries a quick fix I’d forgotten about- changing WiFi channels. A couple of years ago I had similar problems and after doing a site survey with Kismet I realized my access point was on the same channel as a neighbor. This time I skipped Kismet and just swapped channels on my 2.4 GHz (802.11g) access point.

All is good. I’m going to bed now. One of our new neighbors must have been on channel 8, and everything is happily connected on channel 7 now. If you find yourself dropping connections or having other weirdness, just go into your access point configuration panel and hard code different channels until things start working better.


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