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We have a lot of Wi-Fi connections nearby and I'd like to know which band has the least interference.

I'd like to to know how many connections are on each band and pick the best to configure my router from that data.

4 Answers 4

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You can get detailed information about a wireless interface by using the iwlist command.

Run the below command from the command line, just copy and paste:

sudo iwlist wlan0 scan | grep Frequency | sort | uniq -c | sort -n

And you will get a result like this:

  2                     Frequency:2.412 GHz (Channel 1)
  2                     Frequency:2.417 GHz (Channel 2)
  2                     Frequency:2.462 GHz (Channel 11)
 10                     Frequency:2.437 GHz (Channel 6)

As an extra bit of useful data, you can see what frequencies your wifi card supports using this command:

iwlist wlan0 channel
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  • This does work decently well. Note though that some routers broadcast the same net on more than one channel/frequency.
    – Thomas Ward
    Commented Aug 4, 2011 at 1:31
  • Could you add the variants for iw?
    – mallwright
    Commented Aug 28, 2020 at 22:34
  • I just did iwlist frequency it gave out all the frequencies and the current one at end Commented Sep 4, 2021 at 13:54
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Use LinSSID, a GUI program that will give you information about MAC addresses, channels and power signals.

Example screenshot of LinSSID:

LinSSID 2,4 GHz scan

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Install wifi-radar from the repositories. It will show you what channel each network is using.

https://apps.ubuntu.com/cat/applications/precise/wifi-radar/

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For simplicity, you can run iwconfig in analogy to ifconfig for listing wireless interfaces:

random@wxc-dell:~/$ iwconfig 
lo        no wireless extensions.

wlan0     IEEE 802.11  ESSID:"ABC"  
          Mode:Managed  Frequency:5.745 GHz  Access Point: 04:42:1A:7D:32:6C   
          Bit Rate=36 Mb/s   Tx-Power=22 dBm   
          Retry short limit:7   RTS thr:off   Fragment thr:off
          Power Management:off
          Link Quality=47/70  Signal level=-63 dBm  
          Rx invalid nwid:0  Rx invalid crypt:0  Rx invalid frag:0
          Tx excessive retries:6516  Invalid misc:28646   Missed beacon:0

docker0   no wireless extensions.

tun0      no wireless extensions.

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