Arlo|Smart Home Security|Wireless HD Security Cameras

Be able to modify the wireless channels of a base station in order to increase service reliability.

This is piggybacking an older Arlo Idea request with more than 140 votes, that was closed. 


Summary of the idea:

Allow users to adjust the Wi-Fi Radios settings of the base station, in order to be able to change the channel in which the base station transmit (in both 5 GHz or 2.4 GHz band).



With a lot of smart things in our home and the use of automation, a "good and reliable" wi-fi network is mission critical for our daily lives,  understanding that home security is super important as well.  In addition, we really love the hassle free approach that Arlo offers. 



Arlo does not offer the option to modify the Wi-Fi radio settings of the base station,  most of the time the station use the same Wi-Fi channels of the existing home router/wireless infrastructure. This create a situation that channel contention occurs and creates co-channel interference, providing a poor user experience and downgrading the reliability aspect of both (security cameras and home network)


In the following image, the Arlo Base station is in the same channel of my home Wi-Fi router (Arlo uses 20 MHz channel width, my home router use 40 MHz width). So if you have 2 or 3 Netflix or youtube streams in your home network and the Arlo station is in the same channel, you will likely create a scenario that cameras would struggle to send data to the base stations or provide live feeds. 


Arlo Issue.png





Proposed Idea or Solution


Simple Option:

  • Create an option to tell the Arlo Base station to not use the existing channels of the wi-fi network. A menu could be created that Arlo prompts the owner which SSID is the home network, so the Arlo base is aware to not transmit and use the same channel of the home network. 

Advanced Option:

  • Create an option to allow some channels to be disabled in the 5 GHz and 2.4GHz. (and not allow a fixed channel to be selected that might be congested in the future and tentative disrupting the security cameras).


Conclusion and closing thoughts:


Any of these options would provide flexibility to the Arlo base station to select the best channel, without creating co-channel interference (or increasing channel contention) with the existing wi-fi router/wireless infrastructure, will not downgrade the hassle free approach of ARLO and will provide a reliable user experience to both security and wireless use cases.


P.D: A nice to have option is to be able to change the SSID name of the Arlo Base Station (but, baby steps first)


I hope that Arlo community support in this idea and Arlo engineering team understands that this is not about power users being picky, this is about increasing reliability to both Arlo and home wireless services.


Be safe.






Arlo Issue.png

 Screenshot of the issue. 


If you can implement a solution to let us change the WiFi channel the Arlo system uses, at least change the solution to only use supported WiFi channels (1, 6 and 11). In my system the Arlo base changes the WiFi to channel 11 at a reboot (the same channel as the AP with stongest signal) but after a while it changes to channel 3 which causes severe interferance on both my access points on Channel 1 and 6.


@anol64 wrote:

If you can implement a solution to let us change the WiFi channel the Arlo system uses, at least change the solution to only use supported WiFi channels (1, 6 and 11)

All 11 channels are "supported", so I am unclear as to what you mean by that term.  It is true that in the 2.4 band the channels overlap - creating some co-channel interference.  Channels 1, 6, and 11 have no overlap.  But neither do channels 2 and 7;  3 and 8, and many other combinations. 


1, 6,and 11 are popular in dense deployments because it's the only 3-channel combination that avoids co-channel interference.  But if those channels are already in heavy use, then channel 3 might well be the best option for the Arlo network.


Do you mean that the cameras are interfering with the normal wifi network's performance?  Or that the wifi clients are interfering with the cameras? 


How many clients do you typically have connected to channels 1 or 6? 


Have you measured the impact of the interference when the base switches to channel 3, or is this hypothetical?  


I have 3 AP´s, one on each channel 1, 6 and 11. My understanding is that the Arlo system is built to automatically use the same channel as the existing WiFi network. This principle seems to appy also in my case since after a reboot of the base station it starts up using the same channel as the AP with the stongest signal (channel 11).

This AP is used for my guest network so its the AP with least clients connected and usage, and thats why i have moved the Arlo Base closer to this AP since i want it to stay on channel 11.

Still after one hour to a couple of days the Arlo changes to channel 3 creating interferance with my AP´s on channel 1 and 6, theese AP´s have ~10 clients connected continously and are in heavy use during day and evening. Once the Arlo changes to channel 3, the interferance in the regular WiFi is obvious the TX and RX errors are doubled and the bandwith are cut in half.



This is th number of retries on the AP on channel 1 showing when the Arlo base changes channel from 11 to 3







Thanks for the followup - clearly not hypothetical for you.  I am wondering if there is something that is triggering the channel change - does it usually happen at about the same time?


Personally I think they should allow people to simply set the wifi channel (and perhaps adjust the power level also).  Many folks (like you) have the tools and knowledge to plan out their spectrum use, and if they have a dense AP setup it would be ideal if they can manage the Arlo channels along with the rest of their APs.


But I also think that if the system is simply choosing the "best" wifi channel, then it's a bad idea to limit it's choices.  It'd be better to improve the algorithm for determining "best".


In your specific case, if this were implemented then the base might well end up on channel 1.  That would almost certainly give you more retries/interference with the channel 1 AP - I don't see how it would give you less.  The worst case for interference is when the two APs are sharing the same channel.  Co-channel interference can be significant, but it normally would be less than the worst-case.


Are you also using 5 gHz?  As a practical matter, shifting traffic away from 2.4 gHz would probably help a lot.




I have not been able to isolate the trigger point for the channel change.

In my opinion ACI is worse then CCA and thats why i think it would be better if the Arlo system could at least stay at channel 1, 6 or 11 and not use any channels in between since that introduces ACI (Adjacent channel interference) which cause TX and RX errors. Sure CCA (Co-channel Interference) would cause lower bandwith due to more retries but thats in general better than a high amount of dropped packages due to ACI.


typo correction: CCA should have been CCI

And yes im using 5GHz WiFi as well.


I am trying to put this nicely..... I live in a place that has zero interference. My networks are the only networks reachable for a 100' in all directions. I have tried it with Meraki, Google Wifi mesh, Ubiquiti, and now an ASUS gaming router which finally has enough power to overpower the Arlo for 25'. EVEN STILL, as soon as a camera kicks, my locally streamed Sonos music, airplay sessions, and Plex videos stop, the Arlo chime stutters out a choppy motion alert 30 seconds late, device internet slows to a crawl. When I forcibly separate the channels, everything is smooth as butter. You claim to be a network company, but your design screams that you are complete plebs when it comes to the most basic networking concepts. 


The reason that coexistence is a problem here is the gain the Arlo devices are pushing. If you think of wifi signal as sound, the Arlo devices are pumping wifi signal at concert volume levels and all other devices are configured to use just enough volume to get the job done to save your phone, tablet and laptop batteries. I understand that the reason they did this is to make jamming the cameras more difficult. However, because of this design, they cannot coexist with any normally operating wifi system. 


To tell everyone the math, arlo pushes -29dBm and my gaming router can barely push -50dBm. For those who don't understand decibels, they are exponential, each decibel doubles the power. So the difference here in power here is over 400x more powerful than a gaming router tuned to output at max output. That is a waste of power, worse for peoples health, and means no wifi will ever live well with it.


Fixes by usefulness in the real world:

  1. Allow manual selection of channel
  2. Allow lowering the gain of the system
  3. Make it auto-select most open channel

Given the countless threats on this issue, how on earth is this still not fixed in 2020?!!!!  @Arlo pull your finger out and just fix it. FFS