Is Interference Affecting your Wireless Network?

Does your home Wi-Fi network sometimes seem slower than normal? It’s possible that some very common household items, like microwave ovens or cordless phones, are slowing down your homeWi-Fi network performance. Here’s what you need to know.

What is Wireless Interference?

Wireless interference occurs when something disrupts or weakens the Wi-Fi signal coming from the wireless router. The most typical channel for Wi-Fi connections today is in the 2.4GHz band. Because this radio band is shared with other devices in the home, interference from other radio signals can affect your Wi-Fi network’s performance. In fact, interference can be caused by almost any device that emits an electro-magnetic signal.

The Common Interference Culprits

Several household electronics can be sabotaging your Wi-Fi performance:

  • Microwave oven
  • Cordless phone
  • Baby monitor
  • Wireless video camera
  • Wireless game controller
  • Older Bluetooth devices

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What Can You Do About Wireless Interference from these Devices?

If you suspect that wireless interference is slowing down your home network, there are multiple steps you can take to help alleviate the problem. These include:

    • Don’t use other devices that operate in the 2.4GHz band: Most problems with cordless phones and other devices involve products that work in the 2.4GHz band. Many of these electronic devices also have models that operate at 900 MHz. Using a 900 MHz cordless phone or baby monitor won’t impact your Wi-Fi.
    • Upgrade your microwave: Newer microwaves offer better shielding than their older counterparts, and therefore cause less interference. If you’re not ready to buy a new microwave, you can position the microwave so that it isn’t between your wireless router and Wi-Fi devices.
    • Purchase a dual-band router: The 2.4GHz band is the most crowded today. However, there’s much less congestion in the 5GHz band. You can purchase a newer wireless router that supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz simultaneously. Then, you can use the uncrowded 5GHz band for applications like streaming HD video to your television.

 

Can Other Wi-Fi Networks Cause Interference?

Yes. For example, if you live in a densely populated area, your neighbors’ Wi-Fi networks could actually be interfering with your own. This is particularly true if you’re using a 2.4GHz wireless router.

To determine if interference from another Wi-Fi network is interfering with your wireless signal, you can use an app like Actiontec’s free WiFi Assistant. This app will show you which wireless channels are being used by nearby networks. If multiple nearby wireless networks are all competing for the same wireless channel, this will cause problems. You can change the wireless channel used by your wireless router to a less congested one to.

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