What is Wi-Fi Interference and How to Work Around it?  

Angry woman staring at the router

Who doesn’t need Wi-Fi in this modern era where we use the internet for our day-to-day tasks such as shopping, watching TV, and looking up weather updates and directions for a place?  

With the advancement of technology, we use smart home devices for everything. Good Wi-Fi connectivity has become a basic need for life only next to air, water, food, clothing, and shelter.  

With a surge in video streaming (SVoD) compounding at 8.89% annually, there is a need for an affordable, reliable, and seamless Wi-Fi network that is capable of handling multiple devices. 

But all Wi-Fi issues are not device-related, or firmware related. No or Slow internet can also arise by having some devices that are close to your network.  

In other words, you should be able to attend a video call on Zoom while your kids upload a video of their project on YouTube and your wife should be able to watch movies on Netflix simultaneously.  

Signs of Wi-Fi Interference   

The following cues indicate the presence of external signals which impedes the performance of your Wi-Fi network:   

  • Low signal strength even if you bring your phone or laptop near the broadcast device   
  • Slow transfers of files between computers if done through Wi-Fi   
  • Frequent disconnection   
  • Slower internet   
  • Not able to pair with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi gadgets   

Reasons behind Wi-Fi Interference:   

Below are the possible factors for Wi-Fi interference at your location:   

Nearby Wi-Fi Networks   

When there are many networks around your apartment, this puts the capacity of wireless at risk. Wireless networks use two frequency bands – 2.4 and 5 GHz. 802.11b/g wireless networks operate on the 2.4 GHz band, 802.11a networks on the 5 GHz band and 802.11n networks on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. 

If the wireless adapter installed on your PC/laptop/tablet/smartphone is intended for the USA (e.g., in Apple devices), you can only use channels from 1 to 11 on it. So if you set the channel number to 12 or 13 (and if the channel selection algorithm automatically selected one of them), the wireless client (iPad/iPhone) will not see the access point. You need to manually set the channel number from 1 to 11 in this case. 

Physical Obstructions   

You must have discovered that the no-signals issue persists at certain corners of your area. Due to physical hindrances, Wi-Fi signals stop reaching your device. These hindrances may include wood, mirror, metal, synthetic material, bricks, marble, glass, water, and concrete. You will be surprised to know that even TV is another major cause of weak Wi-Fi signals.  

Microwaves   

Surprisingly, microwaves intrude with Wi-Fi like other wireless devices because they work on the 2.4GHz spectrum. Specifically, the less expensive or older model microwave is more likely to interrupt Wi-Fi performance. Thus, you may encounter internet interruptions when the microwave is plugged in.  

Satellite Dishes   

When satellites have incorrect, old, or deteriorating wiring, chances are there that they might leak or render signal interference in the area.  

Monitors and Displays   

Some displays radiate harmonic interference—particularly between channels 14 and 11 within the 2.4 GHz band.   

Refrigerators   

Refrigerators can act as a barrier regardless of the ice around them. These motors are attached inside the fridge and can interrupt the Wi-Fi signals, thus leading to slow internet and frequent disconnection of Wi-Fi.   

Hearing Aids   

Hearing apparatuses also can act as a barrier. When anyone with a hearing aid living around reaches within a range of a wireless broadcasting device disrupts the signal.   

Aquariums and Christmas Tree Lights   

Aquariums and Christmas tree lights often operate in frequencies that stagger Wi-Fi signals. When frequencies match, they usually overlap and cancel out each other. Therefore, they are the primary cause of Wi-Fi signal interference and disrupted internet connection.  

Cordless Wi-Fi Phones   

In general, a cordless phone operates on a 2.4GHz range. Whenever the phone rings or anyone talks on the phone, you may face Wi-Fi interference. Keep in mind that this disruption is only because of the Wi-Fi multiplicity. However, DECT (Digitally enhanced cordless) phones are not affected.  

Bluetooth   

Wireless Bluetooth devices such as keyboards, headsets, mice, etc., can interrupt Wi-Fi signals. The technology used by Bluetooth is known as frequency hopping which skips a 2.4 GHz band more than 1600 times per second. Bluetooth devices reach the frequency range of another device with a Wi-Fi connection. Thus, it can create delays and damage some of the Wi-Fi traffic.   

How to Resolve Wi-Fi Interference?  

Now that you know the causes of Wi-Fi interference, you may look for its solutions. Following are some tips that would be helpful: 

  1. Unplug the devices and kitchen appliances when you are not using them.   
  1. Do not use too many wireless devices at the same time.   
  1. Consider using a different wireless band or multiple wireless frequencies. It is advisable to use the newer 5 GHz Wi-Fi frequency not used in various congested areas.   

The 5Hz frequency can carry more data and therefore provide faster speeds. However, routers that can broadcast 5Hz frequencies are expensive.   

  1. Upgrade your firmware to the latest version. Upgrade your device to the latest Wi-Fi technology (newer technologies and configurations can avoid the susceptibility of earlier solutions). 
  1. Avoid placing wireless access points, such as routers behind or near the TV, fish tanks, and Christmas lights.   
  1. Do not place the Wi-Fi broadcasting device near the fridge.   
  1. Do not place your Wi-Fi device next to hard walls made of concrete or metal. 
  1. Choose the design of a Wi-Fi network wisely because it has a lasting impact on the capability and coverage.   
  1. Make sure within your space that the electrical fittings are set properly.  Poor electrical connections result in broad RF range emissions. 

In a Nutshell   

Wi-Fi interference can become a big nuisance as it impacts your productivity and often puts you in trouble. Being aware of your surroundings and taking possible precocious measures helps to overcome poor Wi-Fi strength due to interference. As your needs grow it may be time to upgrade your devices and use an internet package that delivers more total speed for all your devices. Reach further using a Mesh Wi-Fi system and replace your routers that will intelligently route traffic back to your modem providing complete home coverage in a single Wi-Fi network that reaches everywhere you need.  Improving the Wi-Fi coverage requires more Wi-Fi access points spread out in each room of the home. This gives your Wi-Fi enough strength to penetrate the network via the Vilo Mesh system.  

To get affordable, seamless and secure Wi-Fi coverage, get Vilos and plug them into your modem or talk to your ISP for installation.

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