If you’re using WiFi equipment, you probably know about the 2.4 and 5 GHz frequencies that WiFi equipment uses, but did you know that there are other frequencies available?
Specifically, there are two other bands of frequencies that WiFi equipment can use, and one of them has just been released as 6 GHz spectrum by the FCC. How do you use your existing WiFi hardware to detect these new 6 GHz networks? The short answer is that it depends on what kind of hardware you have and what operating system it’s running on.
What is the 6GHz band we are talking about?
The new frequencies for WiFi, known as the 6 GHz band, have been approved for unlicensed use by the FCC. This means that anyone with a compatible device can start using them right away, without having to worry about interference from other devices.
However, these new frequencies are not compatible with older devices that only support 2.4 or 5 GHz. In order to take advantage of the new frequencies, you’ll need a device that supports them. But don’t worry, there’s an easy way to check if your existing equipment is compatible. Just look for a WiFi 6 logo on the device or in the documentation.
Step 1: Choose Hardware That Works on Both Bands
In order to detect new 6 GHz networks, you’ll need a router and/or adapter that supports both the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. Many newer devices do, but if you’re using an older device, you may need to upgrade. You can check your device’s documentation or contact the manufacturer to find out for sure.
Step 2: Configure Drivers and Connect to an Access Point
If you’re using a Windows computer, you’ll need to install the appropriate drivers for your adapter. Once that’s done, open the Network and Sharing Centre and click Change adapter settings. Right-click on your adapter and select Properties.
Click the Configure button and go to the Advanced tab. Change the Value field to 6.
Step 3: List Available Access Points (APs)
In order to get started, you will need to have a list of all available APs in your area. This can be done by running a wireless site survey. A wireless site survey is conducted by using a laptop or other device with a wireless adapter and special software. The software scans for all available APs and displays their signal strength.
Step 4: Monitor Channel Activity
You can use either a 2.4 or 5 GHz adapter to monitor channel activity and look for new networks in the 6 GHz band. To do this, open the command prompt and type “netsh wlan” show all (without the quotation marks).
This will bring up a list of all available networks, including those in the 6 GHz band. Look for any networks that have a Channelization of 160 MHz or 80+80 MHz. These are the new 802.11ax networks that are using channel bonding to increase their bandwidth.
Step 5: Observe AP-to-AP Communications on the Same Network Band
If you have a 2.4 or 5 GHz adapter, you can use it to passively detect 6 GHz networks by looking at the communication between APs on the same band. To do this, set your wireless adapter to monitor mode and then use a tool like Wireshark to capture traffic. You should see beacon frames and other management packets being sent between APs on the same band. If you see these packets, it means that there is a 6 GHz network in your area!
If you have a 2.4 or 5 GHz WiFi adapter, you can use it to detect the presence of new 6 GHz networks in your area. Make sure you follow the steps highlighted above and you are covered for good.