What Causes Wi-Fi Interference?
Wi-Fi signals are kind of like the weather—unpredictable at times. The technology that allows us to connect to the internet wirelessly is convenient, but many factors can affect signal strength, and in turn, the speed and quality you experience.
Today, computers, game systems, TVs, mobile devices, tablets, even smart home devices and speakers all use Wi-Fi.
Unlike a wired connection that provides a direct, physical connection from the internet to the device, Wi-Fi travels through radio waves—and it’s up to your home router to pick up and distribute the signal. A strong, consistent signal is not a certainty, though, because there are many things can interfere with the signal, resulting in inconsistent speeds or lost connectivity.
Common household objects, from floors, doors and walls to microwaves and baby monitors all can potentially interfere with your signal. Sometimes, neighboring Wi-Fi networks can cause interference, as well. Signal strength also can degrade over long distances, making it even more difficult to pass through walls and closed doors.
There are some simple things you can do to minimize interference and receive a stronger, more consistent signal throughout your home.
A wireless router will operate best when located centrally in your home, away from walls and other obstructions. But even with your router in an optimal location, it’s still possible to receive interference, weak signals and connection issues. Fortunately, there are devices to remedy some of the issues.
+ Range Extenders
These devices connect wirelessly to Wi-Fi routers, and as the name implies, they extend the reach of your network by picking up the signal and retransmitting it. Range extenders, also known as repeaters or boosters, can be effective in large houses, where Wi-Fi coverage otherwise might be spotty.
+ Access Points
While range extenders only expand a signal, access points create a network and transmit their own signal to a designated area. Access points connect to a wired router via an Ethernet cable. Routers often have their own access points built in, and depending on the model, sometimes have more than one.
+ The more devices you have connected to your Wi-Fi network, the more competition there will be for available bandwidth which can strain your network and slow down access. If you want faster speeds, you might have to limit the number of devices connected at one time.
+ Old or outdated technology will not be able to receive signals as efficiently, so if your router is several years old, it might not be able to consistently deliver a strong signal.
+ Consider a wired connection for devices that allow it. Smart TVs, game consoles and computers all can be hard-wired with an Ethernet cable. A one-to-one connection is a better way to get a stronger, more consistent signal.
Wi-Fi interference is a common issue with wireless networks. Even so, there are some relatively easy ways to improve your signal and enjoy a better online experience. If you need assistance, we’re here to help too.