Mac OS X’s Wireless Diagnostics for a Clear WiFi Channel

Mac OS X’s Wireless Diagnostics for a Clear WiFi Channel

I live in a dense apartment complex in the heart of Silicon Valley. Saying the air around here is saturated with WiFi signals is an understatement. I’d guess that nearly every one of the hundreds of apartments in the multiple buildings in my complex has at least one WiFi station and the surrounding business all have them as well. It can make for an especially noisy atmosphere – at least for things using 2.4GHz (and 5GHz) wave lengths!

I found, particularly in the evenings when everyone is home, the Crazyradio often drops its connection to my Crazyflie. This is particularly frustrating when I’m doing some hardcore flying and the Crazyflie simply drops out of the sky. Once it even made my poor one and a half year old daughter cry because she thought it had died (she loves watching Daddy fly it around).

When trying to find the ideal (and most stable) channel for the Crazypair, I stumbled on a cool tool that does the work for me! Mac OS X has a application called “Wireless Diagnostic” tool. What a valuable thing it is!


It can be accessed by holding down the ‘option’ key and clicking the WiFi icon in the menu bar, then choosing the “Open Wireless Diagnostics…” menu item at the bottom of the menu or by launching it from it’s home in ‘/System/Library/CoreServices/Applications.’
Wireless Diagnostics Menu Item

Once the application is running, you can access it’s Utilities by choosing the “Utilities” menu item from the “Window” menu or by simply pressing the command-key and the number 2. If you’re on Mac OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) or later, you’ll want to choose the “Scan” menu item from the “Window” menu or press the command-key and the number 4.
Wireless Diagnostics Utilities
Once the “Utilities” window is open, clicking on the “Wi-Fi Scan” tab (well, it’s just text, not really a tab per-se but it is in the position a tab should be in) will get you the WiFi Scan pane.

In the WiFi Scan pane, there’s a button at the bottom right corner of the window that will eventually show you the best 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels based on the other networks it finds.
Wireless Scan

After I ran the scan, it showed me the best channels for the 2.4GHz band were 3, or 5. I programmed my Crazyflie to channel 5 and set the Crazyradio as well. Since doing this, I haven’t had any random connection drops over a week or so of flying. Help comes, it seems, from the unlikeliest of places sometimes! I take it where I can get it.

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