Can an AP broadcast on more than one channel?

I have 2 TP Link routers that can only broadcast on a single channel at any given time. You can choose the channel to be fixed, or select the 'auto' feature, which brings me to my other question >

if you select the 'auto' channel option, is the selection random, or the AP has an scheme that can detect what are the surrounding channels and choose a channel accordingly; more over, once an 'auto' channel is selected, does it change if there was too much interference on that channel, ie, is the channel selection adaptive and automagical?

  • If you are discussing consumer-grade equipment like a router/firewall/WAP, that is off-topic, and you can ask those questions on Super User. Enterprise-grade Wi-Fi equipment can do the sort of thing you describe, but it can involve a lot of things like WAPs, LWAPs, controllers, software, etc., and there are many possible designs.
    – Ron Maupin
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 15:54
  • Auto simply means it will pick one at startup. Most devices have very simple logic to scan for active signals before picking the "least used" one. I've never see a consumer level AP reselect the channel without resetting the radio (ie. reboot)
    – Ricky
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 23:55
  • Did any answer help you? if so, you should accept the answer so that the question doesn't keep popping up forever, looking for an answer. Alternatively, you could provide and accept your own answer.
    – Ron Maupin
    Commented Aug 12, 2017 at 20:53

1 Answer 1


Let's use a more correct term "transmit" instead of "broadcast," which has other meanings.

A radio can only transmit on one channel at a time. Some radios can change frequency very rapidly to give the appearance they operate on more than one channel, but that technique is too complicated and expensive for something like WiFi.

To answer your second question, it depends on the AP manufacturer. Most have some sort of algorithm to pick an unused channel, but how they do that is a proprietary secret. Generally, changing channels in the middle is a bad idea, since there will be an interruption in service until the user can "find" the new channel.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.