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Wi-Fi Interference

Optimize Your Wireless

With all the technology in a home today, wireless interference can be a growing challenge. It generally fits into one of these categories:

  • Physical interference such as walls, windows and building materials
  • Modem location
  • Other wireless networks that belong to neighbors or other devices
  • Electronics in your home

While we can’t always change our surroundings, it’s important to understand that the materials used to construct each home and physical items within your home can impact Wi-Fi.

  • Walls, doors and windows between your Wi-Fi modem or router and your devices can prevent the wireless signal from distributing consistently throughout the home.
  • Even the construction of the walls makes a difference. Wood, plaster, brick, steel and concrete are all items that will interfere with Wi-Fi signals.

Where your wireless modem is located can affect the Wi-Fi signal throughout your home. To provide the best signal possible, here are some items to consider regarding your wireless modem:

  • Because distance from the wireless modem impacts Wi-Fi performance and signal strength, place your modem centrally in your home where you use wireless devices most often. The size and layout of your home may also impact performance, meaning wireless coverage may be limited in some areas in a large home or multiple-level home.
  • Maximize the wireless modem’s ability to broadcast a solid, dependable wireless signal by elevating it on a table or stand to keep it off the floor.
  • Keep your modem in the open. Avoid closets or cabinets, and don’t place it behind other electronics such as TVs, stereos/sound bars and computers.

Other Wi-Fi networks within range of your home and devices can impact your Wi-Fi performance. There are a limited number of channels – or space – available for Wi-Fi to run on, which can result in your neighbors’ wireless interfering with your own.

Wi-Fi Modem Channels

Many Wi-Fi modems and routers will determine which channel is best to connect to when they are rebooted. Simply unplug the power to your modem or router for 10 seconds, and then plug it back in. When the modem comes back online, it will attempt to find the best wireless channel available – meaning less interference.

Having to reboot your modem more than once or twice a month may indicate that something else is impacting your wireless quality.

Wi-Fi Frequencies

Wi-Fi networks can run on two frequencies, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz; however, not all Wi-Fi modems and routers or devices can connect on both frequencies. Newer equipment will have the capabilities for both. These are called dual-band devices, and use 802.11n or 802.11ac technology.

Because 2.4 GHz is very common in many consumer electronic devices, there can be a lot of interference on this frequency. While 2.4 GHz has good distance/range, it can’t handle as much capacity or throughput. Today, there’s typically less interference with 5 GHz, because it’s not as common in consumer products. The 5Ghz technology has a shorter distance/range, but uses updated technology to allow for more capacity or throughput.

  • Because manufacturers make devices with the technology they choose, it’s best to simply be educated about the equipment in your home.
  • Know that each home and user are different.
  • Discover more details on how wireless works.

Today’s world is full of the Internet of Things – and it’s only growing as our homes become filled with an increasing number of devices that connect to the internet, mostly wirelessly. Knowing how many wireless devices in your home won’t fix interference issues, but it can help understand why there might be interference.

Examples of devices that can cause wireless interference include laptops, phones, tablets, streaming media players, TVs, Blu Ray players, printers, exercise equipment, sound bars, thermostats, refrigerators, bathroom scales, security cameras, cordless phones, microwave ovens and more.

  • If you’re not using devices – especially for their wireless features – disconnect them from the wireless network.
  • Connecting devices directly to the internet through a wired connection will help improve the signal quality – and may reduce interference from and to other devices.
  • Some devices can be adjusted to only use Wi-Fi when they need it, instead of being constantly connecting to it.
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