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What Is Beacon Interval?

Examples of 802.11ad beacon intervals. Download Scientific Diagram
Examples of 802.11ad beacon intervals. Download Scientific Diagram from www.researchgate.net


In today’s fast-paced world, where technology is constantly evolving, it’s important to stay updated with the latest advancements. One such technological innovation is the beacon interval. If you’re wondering what a beacon interval is and how it affects your wireless network, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll explore the concept of beacon interval and its significance in the realm of wireless communication.

Understanding Beacon Interval

The beacon interval is a parameter that defines the time interval between two consecutive beacon frames transmitted by a wireless access point (AP). These beacon frames act as signals that broadcast information about the wireless network, allowing devices to discover and connect to it. They contain essential details like network name (SSID), supported data rates, security settings, and more.

The beacon interval is measured in milliseconds, and the default value is typically set by the manufacturer. However, it can be customized based on the specific requirements of the network. The value chosen for the beacon interval determines how often the access point sends out beacon frames.

Importance of Beacon Interval

The beacon interval plays a crucial role in ensuring efficient and reliable wireless communication. By adjusting the beacon interval, network administrators can optimize network performance in various scenarios. Let’s take a closer look at the significance of beacon interval in different contexts:

1. Network Efficiency

A shorter beacon interval allows for faster detection of the wireless network by devices. This is particularly useful in areas with high device density, such as crowded public spaces or office environments. By reducing the interval, devices can quickly locate and connect to the network, enhancing overall network efficiency.

2. Battery Life

Devices constantly listen for beacon frames to maintain a connection with the network. However, this process consumes power and drains the battery. By increasing the beacon interval, devices can spend more time in sleep mode, conserving battery life. This is especially beneficial for battery-powered devices like smartphones, tablets, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

3. Network Overhead

Beacon frames consume a portion of the available bandwidth in a wireless network. A shorter beacon interval results in more frequent transmission of these frames, leading to increased network overhead. In scenarios where network bandwidth is a precious resource, such as in congested networks or with limited bandwidth availability, extending the beacon interval can reduce unnecessary network overhead.

Customizing the Beacon Interval

Most wireless routers and access points allow users to customize the beacon interval settings. This can be done through the device’s administration interface or configuration software. It’s important to note that changing the beacon interval should be done with caution, as it can impact network performance.

When customizing the beacon interval, it’s advisable to consider factors such as the number of devices connected to the network, the network’s physical size, and the desired balance between network efficiency and battery life. It may require some trial and error to find the optimal beacon interval for a specific network environment.


The beacon interval is a crucial parameter in wireless networks that determines the time interval between beacon frames. By adjusting this interval, network administrators can optimize network efficiency, conserve device battery life, and manage network overhead. Customizing the beacon interval requires careful consideration of various factors, and it’s essential to strike the right balance for optimal network performance.