Why Are Global WI-FI Users Except Japan Banned From Using Channel 14?


Wireless routers operating at 2.4 GHz can use 14 different Wi-Fi channels, but there are three channels that ordinary users don’t use. Channels 12 and 13 can only be used in low energy mode, while channel 14 is banned from global coverage (except in Japan). This article will explain why.

What is the Wi-Fi channel?

Wi-Fi technology uses radio waves (radio waves) to communicate close. Wi-Fi networks can operate on several separate channels to minimize the risk of conflicts between networks and routers. When many Wi-Fi networks are working in the same area, they can run on different channels so as not to affect the operation of other networks.

Wi-Fi networks running on the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi frequency can only operate on specific licensed channels. In the US, users often use channels from channels 1 to 11. These channels themselves overlap in frequency. That’s why it is often recommended that users set up their Wi-Fi networks in channels 1, 6 or 11, which are less likely to be overlapped on the frequencies of the other channels.

Although US authorities restrict users of Wi-Fi networks to 2.4 GHz, only 11 frequencies can be used, but in other parts of the world channels, 12 to 14 are still allowed. Therefore, if you install a router in the United States, you can even enable prohibited frequencies by changing the regional / country settings in your router settings (we do not recommend this). Among them, channel 14 is the biggest attraction, because it almost doesn’t get disturbed by other channels – but deliberately using this channel in the US is illegal.


The new 5 GHz Wi-Fi standard uses more channels to prevent interference between channel fish, but there is a reason to use the 2.4 GHz frequency extensively. The idea is because the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi wave quality is more stable and can transmit at greater distances, penetrating substantial obstacles. The Wi-Fi industry had a great time with 5 GHz Wi-Fi, but now, with the introduction of Wi-Fi 6, the speed of Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz has improved significantly and therefore, it still has a place in the market.

Users in the US are free to use Wi-Fi channels from 1 to 11

In the United States, the country’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) manages and regulates wireless frequency spectrums that organizations and individuals are allowed to use. You cannot freely broadcast radio waves at any frequency you want. Different parts of the range are specified separately for each user, such as amateur users (individuals), satellites, airplanes, civil maritime, military operations, radio waves. AM, FM, and of course, there’s Wi-Fi. Above is the spectrum diagram issued by the US Government in 2016, to illustrate to you the complexity and detail of radio frequency distribution.

FCC regulations are stringent and serious about this issue. For example, if you build a radio transceiver and FM radio broadcast, you will interfere with the signals of other FM radio users. They can report this to FCC, and the FCC will have the right to confiscate your device and penalize you for a sum of money.

For Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz standards, FCC licenses US users to use channels 1 through 11. You can choose any of these channels for your Wi-Fi network, and Some modern routers even can automatically select the most appropriate Wi-Fi channel to avoid interference from surrounding systems.

Channels 12 and 13 are only allowed to be used in low power mode.

Channels 12 and 13 are not strictly prohibited in the US, but many router manufacturers do not offer this option (Need to distinguish from completely banned channel 14).

Wi-Fi routers in the US can operate on channels 12 and 13, but only in “low power” mode. There are strict rules about the amount of energy that Wi-Fi routers can emit in this channel to avoid conflicts with neighboring bands, which are exclusively owned by Globalstar for use with satellite phones and some data transfer operations at low speed.

For this reason, routers often do not provide this option, and you are very rare to see users of channels 12 and 13 in the US. You are not prohibited from using channels 12 and 13, but you are also not allowed to use them in full power mode.

The laws regarding the use of these two Wi-Fi channels differ in different regions of the world. For example, European and Japanese countries allow ordinary users to use two channels 12 and 13.

Channel 14 is completely banned.

Channel 14 is completely banned in the United States and most countries in the world, except Japan.

This may make those who are knowledgeable about radio waves regret it because channel 14 possesses many advantages. Its frequency is farther away from the rate of circuit 13 than other channels. Specifically, the frequency range of channels 1 to 13 is 5 MHz apart, separate the frequency band of channel 14 away from the frequency band of channels 13 to 12 MHz. It also overlaps with the frequencies of channels 12 and 13, which are rarely used in the United States. In theory, the Wi-Fi network set up at this frequency will minimal conflict with other frequencies!

However, this is also the crux of the problem. Channel 14 is at the end of the frequency band. The page writer Chris Tilbury The Kernel explains:

” This band, with a central frequency of 2.48GHz, is called the Industrial Science and Health Band (ISM) and has been used by many devices worldwide. The most popular device operating on this band is a microwave (at a frequency of 2.45 GHz).

It’s still unclear whether the use of channel 14 affects microwave oven operation and vice versa. We think that the strict rules for using this channel are because it is used by military satellites and communications for global communication. ”

Even if allowed, you probably won’t want to use this channel. Devices running on channel 14 usually only operate at the same speed as the old 802.11b standard. Therefore, in general channel 14 has no place in the development flow of Wi-Fi technology.

You can use tricks to use restricted channels, but don’t do it!

Need to clarify this issue: This is not a piece of advice. We don’t encourage you to do so. You shouldn’t do it, and you don’t have to.

Depending on your wireless router, you can enable channels 12 and 13 in maximum power mode, along with the 14 channel that has been banned, by merely changing the country settings in the router settings page. Yours. Some routers will allow us to change the country to Japan, and from there you can get full access to the banned channels. However, if you try to activate these channels in the United States, some devices will refuse to connect to such Wi-Fi networks.


With some routers, you will not be able to change the country settings. It is possible that the router control software does not allow you to perform this action, or that the manufacturer has limited that feature to the hardware level when selling equipment in countries where it is prohibited.

Another way to “circumvent” the rule is that you can install third-party firmware (firmware). Or there is a more straightforward way, that is, you can buy manufactured equipment for the Japanese market. However, even if channel 14 is enabled, devices will only be able to transfer data at a slow speed equivalent to the 802.11b standard or yet unable to connect.

Center back: Don’t do that. If your surroundings have too many wireless devices in operation, switch to Wi-Fi 5 GHz – that’s what you should do. It can work on more channels, and you can limit network congestion.


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