Are Christmas fairy lights really ruining your Wi-Fi?

1 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Are Christmas fairy lights really ruining your Wi-Fi?.

The UK’s telecoms regulator Ofcom has warned that Christmas lights can slow down your Wi-Fi, but is it really time for those lights to stay in the box? The watchdog says wireless internet networks often suffer ‘interference’ from electronic goods including baby monitors and microwave ovens – and even festive fairy lights.This comes as they estimate up to six million homes and offices could improve their broadband connection – which they hope to help with a new app they have released that tests wifi in homes.UK TELECOMS TERRIER Ofcom has welcomed in the start of December with a warning that Christmas fairy lights might ruin your home wireless internet experience. Keep your router away from electrical devices: lamps, dimmer switches, stereo or computer speakers, fairy lights, TVs and monitors and AC power cords can all cause interference to broadband routers.

It is available now, and Ofcom reckons that it will help people to iron out their connections, and make an example of interfering systems and speed hogs. Use an Ethernet cable: Although obviously this prevents a wireless connection, an Ethernet cable is a computer networking cable which provides a faster, more reliable connection.

If you suffer some festive wifi frustration, you might want to try switching the channels over which your wifi broadcasts, or simply moving electrical equipment out of the way. But everything that has electricity running through it also generates an electromagnetic field, and this causes interference to the electromagnetic waves attempting to travel through it. Recent research found more than a quarter of homes in the UK have ‘superfast’ broadband connection of more than 30MB per second – an increase to 7.5 million households from six million last year – but higher-speed broadband is available in fewer than two in five (37 per cent) homes in rural areas in the countryside where telephone and network exchanges are few and far between.

So if you’re hoping to make use of your Wi-Fi over Christmas, you may want to check your Wi-Fi connection and be aware of electronic devices, even fairy lights, that can affect your connection. Mobile 4G coverage has also increased across the major networks from 44% in 2014 to 73% this year, with data use on mobile growing at a faster rate than on fixed wireless networks.

A digital cordless telephone, for example, typically uses frequencies between 1.8GHz and 1.9GHz, which is quite close to the 2.4GHz band used by Wi-Fi. The signal can only penetrate so far through solid objects before it loses energy and is no longer useful, which is why having more walls between you and your router means you get a weaker signal. Water is also a fabulous Wi-Fi sponge, meaning water pipes make excellent Wi-Fi signal blockers, particularly when placed side-by-side with other water pipes as is normally the case in walls and floors. Like another rock in the pond that blocks those propagating ripples from going any further, anything that gets in the way will cause reduced Wi-Fi signal strength behind it.

Placing it in the ideal spot isn’t always practical, particularly given that the ADSL or cable typically comes in at the front or back of your house or flat, and routing cables to a better place for the router can be a nightmare. You should avoid putting your router within close proximity to other electrical goods such as on top of a games console or behind a TV or stereo for instance.

It’s worth noting that the length and quality of the cables coming into your property from your broadband provider can make a big difference on your broadband speed. The situation was simplified in 2009 with 802.11n, which covered both 2.4 and 5GHz frequency bands, offering greater resistance to interference and speeds of up to 600Mbps per connection. The latest widely available standard is 802.11ac, often written as Wi-Fiac, which is the most robust system to date and offers multiple connections between the router and a single device, reaching maximum speeds of 1Gbps – one thousand times faster than the first version of Wi-Fi.

The situation is made worse because as interference increases from other networks your router ups its broadcast power stretching further into others’ homes, causing their router to try harder and in turn creating more interference for your router. The best possible scenario would be to turn your home into a giant Faraday cage, which would block signals from coming in and your Wi-Fi from leaking out. Switching to one of them may help your Wi-Fi network, but most modern routers using the latest Wi-Fi standards have automated systems to switch between channels to avoid interference.

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