What is Wifi Beacon Interval | Definition & Setup

Wifi Beacon Interval

Almost everyone these days has a WiFi connection at home, it is quite obvious as the world without the internet is absolutely a nightmare since we are so dependent on it now. And, to have the best experience out of the router, most people purchase high-end routers that offer dozens of features and also subscribe to high-speed internet plans to access through the router. However, there are some overlooked factors such as the WiFi beacon interval which most people don’t even know about. But, it is actually something quite interesting that can be tweaked on any router regardless of its price or brand name.

We are stressing more on the wireless beacon interval because if you know how to manage it well, it has plenty of benefits that you can use for your advantage and use your WiFi connection in a much better way. So, if you are curious to know what beacon interval is and how it improves the quality of your connection, stay tuned and keep reading this article till the end as you will get to know some quite interesting and good piece of knowledge that you might be missing out on till this very moment. 

What is Beacon Interval?

What is Beacon Interval

So, before we get into the details, we must take a look at what Beacon Interval actually means and what it stands for? So, basically, the beacon includes the set of rules, data, and all the other information about your router including security settings, etc. In other words, it is a packet of information that travels on the WiFi signals and reaches to all the connected devices. It is done so that the connected device can receive the information and accommodate with the settings of your router. But, since not every connected device is static, the beacon is necessary to be sent multiple times so that connection can be stabilized. The interval in which a beacon is sent from the router to devices is known to be the WiFi beacon interval.

Well, you can play around with this wireless beacon interval timing to manage the stability of your connection and improve the quality of the network. But, before that, there are some other factors that you should know about.

1. RTS Threshold

Beacon Interval Wifi RTS Threshold

There’s a term associated with beacons, RTS Threshold which is basically a mechanism that controls and prevents the beacons to collide and overlap the information when there are multiple devices connected on the same network. Since each connected device will ask for beacons from the access points, your router will be sending the same information to multiple devices at the same time. Therefore, it can cause actual chaos in the network.

However, the Request to Send or Ready to Send (RTS) flag is sent to the connected device first before sending the beacon to ensure the line is clear. And, if the CTS (Clear to Send) flag is acknowledged, a beacon with all the necessary information is sent without any interference even if there are multiple devices connected on to a network.

Thus, the RTS Threshold is the value that indicates the size of these request packets, and if you manage to set the right values, you can control unnecessary packet loss over the network to a good extent. Although the default value is set to 2306, it is not recommended to go below 2304 if you wish to change that.

2. Wifi Preamble Mode

Beacon Interval Wifi Preamble Mode

Since all the transmission of data is done via radio signals over a wireless network, there are many factors that can affect the data and tampering of the packets meanwhile can lead to loss of information. Thus, Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) is a method that associates a string of bits fetched out from after following a proper protocol. So, this newly prepared string of bits is sent along with the packet containing data so that it can be figured out at the receiver’s end if they have received the right information or not.

So, the WiFi preamble mode is of two types, long and short, which determines the size of the CRC block that will be attached to the packet. Since, this string is going to occupy the packet space, choosing the Long preamble option will result in occupying more space in the packet. Thus it is less efficient, but also it promotes the connection reliability at the same time. Most devices have support for the Long Preamble option.

But, if we choose the Short Preamble mode, it will promote the network performance since the access point would get more space to fill up essential data in each packet to send. But, it is not a reliable option since not all devices have support for it, as of now. So, we suggest you stick to the Long preamble option. 

How to Choose the Right Interval Setting

Beacon Period

Since the WiFi usage scenarios are different for everyone, you should know about your usage pattern and then select the suitable wireless beacon interval or beacon period. By default, the beacon interval WiFi timing is set to 100ms. However, it is up to you whether a lower value would work well for you or a higher one. So, let’s see what WiFi beacon interval would be suitable for you.

High Beacon Interval

As we know, the default beacon interval is set to 100ms, if you set the value more than 100, it would be considered as a high beacon interval. In other words, you are basically indicating your router or the access point to send the beacon less frequently.

It is beneficial if the connected device is stationary and the connection is highly stabilized with good signal strength. For instance, if you have a work desk nearby the router and your laptop generally show good signal strength, receiving the beacons frequently is of no use to you.

Since when a beacon is received, the connected device has to handle it and decode to access the information. So, if the same information is received more often, the device would have to do the same task more often which is not practical at all. As a result, you might also experience more battery drainage on that device as well. Thus, setting a high beacon interval is a viable choice if the connection is strong as it will also help you out to save some battery life of the connected devices too.

Low Beacon Interval

Unlike the high beacon interval, the low interval settings are more suitable in the case where the devices are not stationary, and also if the signal strength is weak. So, setting up a low beacon period will command the access point to send the beacons more often so that the connection stability can improve.

Although it might be a helpful option for you to stabilize the connection, finding the right balanced value is quite necessary too. You must not choose a very low interval value since the packets will be sent quite frequently in this case, you will lose on to the overall bandwidth which can result in lesser internet speeds.


In addition, the receiver will also have to put some load on the processor to fetch information from the packets which directly affects the battery life. Thus, both the high and low beacon intervals are good, but you need to figure out the right value according to the situation.

Best Beacon Interval for Gaming

Although it is not recommended to play games on a Wireless network as wired connections are quite better in this matter. Still, we would consider a situation in which you are gaming on a wireless connection. So, the first most thing that matters while gaming is connection stability. And, as we have learned so far, you can achieve that by setting a low beacon interval WiFi setting. Well, in this case, setting to the low beacon interval settings won’t affect the battery life much since a game itself sucks up battery. But, since it is recommended to play games while connected to a power source for the device to perform well, there should not be any battery problem even if the beacon interval is set to low. Although there is no best beacon interval for gaming as standard. We would suggest you choose a value between 50ms and 100ms for an ideal gaming experience.

How to Setup Beacon Interval

If you are pretty much satisfied with this router setting and think it can come in handy for you. Then, you must be wanting to know how you can set up the beacon interval. Well, the process is pretty simple and you can do it by following a few simple steps:

  1. Connect your PC to the router.
  2. Open up a web browser.
  3. Now, type in the IP address of your router and log in.
  4. Once you are signed in, find the Beacon Interval Settings.
  5. Change the beacon interval value.

Conclusion

We hope you are now pretty much aware of the WiFi beacon interval settings and would be using this feature to improve your wireless connection from now on. In most cases, the default 100ms value is good enough, however, you can choose a higher value if the connection is already stable and signal strength is good. On the other hand, if there is too much traffic on the network, a lower beacon interval would be a good option for you since it will help to make the connection more stabilized while connecting to it. So, that’s it for now, in case you have any further queries, feel free to ask us in the comments section below, we would try to get back to you as soon as possible.   

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