What is DTIM Interval | Best Settings for DTIM Interval

Regardless of the internet subscription plan you have, facing internet issues with routers happens with everyone. No matter how good a connection you have, if you did not set the router settings correctly, the experience can get ruined in seconds. However, we won’t let anything like that happen with our readers since we keep discussing things that can help you tweak the router settings and make it perform like an absolute beast. So, for today, we have something called DTIM interval which most people overlook to check because not everyone has a technical background. However, you definitely don’t need one too because you can learn most of it from the internet at the time of need.

So, to make your router perform better, there are plenty of tricks and settings that you can play with. Out of which, we will discuss one of the router settings called DTIM. Not everyone is quite aware of it and uses it for their good. But, if you want to learn how you can use the DTIM interval to improve your WiFi connection. Make sure to read this article until the end as this is something you can understand pretty easily and use the DTIM mode to increase the connection stability and take advantage of its other benefits.

What is DTIM Interval?

DTIM Interval

Some of you might be wondering “What is DTIM Interval?”. So, for those who are reading about DTIM for the first time, it basically stands for Delivery Traffic Indication Message. As you might already know, a beacon is sent from the Access Point (Router) to all the connected clients which include all the information about the router such as its security protocols, IP, and other information required to establish a connection. You can read more about it in i=our separate article on What is Beacon Interval. Along with the beacon, the DTIM is also sent afterwards which indicates to all the connected clients to be alert or wake up because the Access Point is going to send some valuable data.

Now, as you know it is basically a wake-up call for all the connected devices to come out of sleep mode and be ready to receive the data. When we associate the term “interval” with it, the DTIM interval means how often the Access Point or Router should send these wake-up calls to the connected devices. Usually, the DTIM period value of any average router is set to 1-3 which is also considered to be a good value to choose if you wish your connection to be stable always. So, if you want to know what these DTIM interval values signify, keep on reading. 

How Does DTIM Interval Work?

How Does DTIM Interval Work

As we discussed, DTIM actually works as a wake-up call for all the connected devices. So, why do we need to send these wakeup calls in the first place? Since, on a multicast network where multiple devices get connected to one Access Point, it is not practical to send requests to each device one by one. Therefore, DTIM is broadcasted for all the devices at the same time, right after sending beacons. Because, if not all the clients are alerted at the same time and even a single client is left on sleep mode, it won’t be receiving any information from the Access Point. Thus, it will result in packet loss.

So, it is necessary to send DTIM after suitable intervals to keep the clients alert about the incoming transmissions. Although you can set the DTIM value between 1 and 255 where the default value of the DTIM interval for most routers is set to 1, 2, or 3. So, if you set the DTIM values lower, it will send the wake-up messages more often to the clients. In that case, the connected device will need to process it more often, and that simply means putting a load on the clients. Hence, if any device is working on battery power, low DTIM mode or DTIM period can cause the battery of the client device to drain faster too.

How to Calculate DTIM Interval

Since you can only see the values of DTIM intervals ranging from 1-255, how would you get to know how many DTIM requests are being sent in actual. To calculate that, you must know about the beacon interval that you have set for your router. Because a DTIM request is always sent after the beacon is sent.

For instance, the default value of the beacon interval is set to 100ms. Therefore, it means your router or the Access Point is sending 10 beacons every second. In accommodation to that, let us suppose, the DTIM interval value is set to 2. Therefore, it means that the Access Point will send a DTIM request after sending 2 Beacons. According to our assumptions, the router is currently sending 10 beacons every second, hence, it will send 5 DTIM requests in a second (one after every 2 beacons). This is just some simple math that you can understand easily and calculate as per your personalized settings.

What is the Best DTIM Interval Setting?

Any average router would offer you to set the DTIM interval to set between 1 to 255. But, which number would work best for you? Well, that varies from user to user. Since setting up a lower DTIM interval puts more load on the connected devices, it can simply affect the battery life drastically. So, what is the ideal value to set? A higher one? Maybe.

DTIM Interval for Gaming

DTIM Interval Best Setting

Setting the DTIM period to a higher value has its own pros and cons. You can simply choose a higher DTIM interval and use the maximum possible bandwidth to be transmitted to the PC for online gaming. Meanwhile, the other devices remain to be asleep, and there will be no interference from other devices.

You can choose to set a high DTIM interval for gaming since it is beneficial if you want to increase the performance of your wireless connection to some extent. However, do keep in mind that not all routers are built to handle high DTIM intervals and the opposite of what you want can also happen.

Thus, we would suggest you stick to the default value until and unless you really need to focus the transmission on one device. Hence, the best DTIM interval setting for online gaming could be some higher values like 50 or something near to that. But, if you face connection problems, don’t hesitate to lower it.

How to Configure DTIM Period?

We’ll be discussing the Cisco router here. You can find similar settings in your Router settings. Now, to configure the DTIM Period:

Step 1. Select the WLAN to access the WLANs page.

Step 2. Now, click on its ID number.

Step 3. Disable WLAN by unselecting the Status checkbox.

Step 4. Click on Apply to save the changes.

Step 5. Afterwards, go to the Advanced tab.

Step 6. Click on the WLANs, and then select the Edit (Advanced) option.

Configure DTIM Period

Step 7. In here, Select the DTIM period value whichever you wish to set between 1 to 255, and click Apply. 

Step 8. Go to the General Tab and similarly click on WLANs again, then go to the Edit (General) page.

Step 9. Select the Status checkbox once again to enable it back.

Step 10. Save the Settings.

Conclusion

Although it is a bit of technical work to tweak up the router’s settings like that. Still, if you know how to use these features well, these simple tweaks can come out to be very handy in various scenarios since these allow you to use your wireless connection in a more personalized way. So, this guide was mainly for the curious minds who would love to play around with these settings and find out what suits best for their devices. We will keep coming up with more stuff like this. Until then, if you feel you have some uncleared doubts, slide them in the comments section below, we will try to get back to you as soon as we can.

Shoeb

I spend my time exploring different ways to harness IOT in life. If I'm not working on any projects, I'm travelling to the place for another challenge.

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