Common Causes of WiFi Interference 

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There is often one specific spot in a home or workplace that wifi just cannot seem to reach no matter where the router is placed, or what frequency the router is set to. This article will go through some of the most common causes of wifi interference. Read on to learn more.


Physical Barriers

Physical barriers, such as the construction materials inside a building, are the most likely reason that a wifi signal is not penetrating as far as it should be. The following is a list of physical barriers that may be in a building, and their effect on the signal.

 


Type of Barrier

Interference Level

Wood

Low

Plaster

Low

Synthetic Material

Low

Glass

Low

Water

Medium

Bricks

Medium

Marble

Medium

Concrete

High

Metal

High

Mirror

Very High


The only way to get better performance through physical interference is to move your router to a different location, or try broadcasting with a 5 GHz frequency router.

Frequency Interference

If your wifi signal seems to be strong, but then suddenly will drop for periods of time, that may be a symptom of frequency interference. Frequency interference is when another wireless signal passes through your home that is on a similar bandwidth to your wifi network, overpowering or corrupting the wifi signal. The following is a list of common sources for signal interference that you might find in a home.

 

 

  • Microwave - If the router is located near a microwave, massive network interference will often be experencied while the microwave is heating something up. Many microwaves operate on the 2.4 GHz spectrum, which is the same spectrum as older wireless routers.
  • Cordless Phone - Cordless phones that operate on the 2.4 GHz spectrum can cause large signal interference in the same way as the microwave. Interference will be experienced while receiving a call, or talking on the handset.
  • Poorly Wired Satellite Dish - Some satellite dishes can leak signal interference if they are not wired up correctly, or the current wiring is deteriorating.
  • Other Wireless Devices - Any other wireless device can technically cause signal interence. These devices could include: wireless speakers, baby monitors, garage door openers, etc.
  • Neighbours WiFi Network - Powerful wifi networks in a close proximity can detract from eachother's performance.
The most common and simple switch for frequency interference is to change the channel on your wifi router. Typically the channel can be set from 1-11 for the broadcast frequency. More expensive routers will allow for broadcast on the 5 Ghz frequency, which is an even better solution.

 

Other Barriers

There are some other barriers that may affect an individuals wifi experience that don't fall under the traditional categories of physical or frequency. These barriers can include:

 

  • Hearing aid - Slight signal disruption in a very close proximity.
  • Blasting area - Such as a mine, can cause interference.
  • Power lines, railway tracks and power stations - There is debate as to whether or not this actually effects the signal, but if you believe it does, try changing your broadcast channel.
  • Your hand - Your hand can and will effect the wifi performance of your phone or other device if positioned in the wrong way. Try changing your grip for better signal.

 

Conclusion

Wifi performance will always be inferior to wired performance, but there have been large strides in recent years that have closed the gap between wired and wireless connections. The most recent innovations in the wireless field is 802.11ac frequency wireless, and dual band frequency wireless routers (routers that broadcast on both the 2.5Ghz and 5Ghz spectrum).


For the best possible wifi performance use a dual band 802.11ac router, and position the wireless router in a place that avoids the most of amount of metal (ductwork) as possible. Multiple routers can also be setup in bridge mode on different floors of a building in order to further boost wifi performance.

 

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