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What is a DTIM interval?

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Quick Answer

The DTIM interval stands for delivery traffic indication message, and it is a setting on certain wireless routers that controls the frequency with which the router sends beacons containing network information to devices on the network. The DTIM interval is normally set at one, and the typical beacon interval is set at 100 milliseconds. This means that the network information is sent with every beacon.

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Full Answer

A DTIM interval of two and a beacon interval of 50 milliseconds would result in the network information being sent at the same rate as in the earlier example. A shorter beacon interval helps wireless devices connect to the network more quickly but results in more network traffic and may cause a decrease in connection speeds. On the other hand, a longer beacon interval can result in the network becoming out of sync and dropping wireless clients. Setting the DTIM interval higher helps mobile devices connected to that network retain battery life, but it may result in the router's multicast buffer overflowing and the delaying of time-sensitive data.

The DTIM interval is important primarily because of its effect on devices that have entered a power-saving mode. These devices are programmed to ignore non-DTIM beacons and only respond to DTIM beacons during power-saving mode.

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