Are Your Holiday Lights Killing Your Wi-Fi?

2 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

4 reasons why fairy lights could ruin your Christmas cheer.

Regulator Ofcom warned, during the launch of a new app to test Wi-Fi in homes, that interference from electronic goods — which also include baby monitors and microwave ovens — can affect wireless networks, especially if they are not set up correctly. “Mobile and broadband have become the fourth essential service, alongside gas, electricity and water,” said Ofcom CE Sharon White.The head of regulator Ofcom has suggested that BT could be forced to sell off its Openreach business, to the delight of its rivals who claim the wholesale service, which supplies nearly every household, could be uncompetitive.But that’s not the only scourge draining our wireless networks – with anything from poorly positioned routers to wrong channels possibly killing your wireless speeds.

While more than a quarter of homes in the UK have a “superfast” broadband connection of more than 30MB per second, about 8% of households cannot get speeds of more than 10MB per second, a figure that rises to nearly half of houses in rural areas. The regulator’s chief executive said she was looking at four options for the future of the broadband providing service, warning that keeping the status quo was “unlikely”.

Some routers have an ‘auto’ mode that’ll do this for you – although it’s less likely to work on new routers which use the 5GHz range, as these are less prone to interference. The regulator’s advice to those who are dissatisfied with their broadband experience is to move routers away from electrical devices such as halogen lamps, electrical dimmer switches, stereo or computer speakers, fairy lights, televisions, monitors and AC power cords — all of which have been known to cause interference. BT’s rivals have wanted Openreach to be split off from the former state-owned business as a condition of its £12.5bn mega-merger with mobile phone operator EE.

Residents behind the annual winter wonderland in a cul-de-sac near Southampton said they’re pulling the plug on this year’s fundraising spectacular. The watchdog says Internet service providers often receive complaints over the holidays about interruptions to Wi-Fi service, and the strings of lights may be a key reason. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents says that older fairy lights “may” be safe, but they urge households to seriously consider buying new ones to meet safety standards. According to the Department of International Relations and Co-operation, Xi and President Jacob Zuma will engage in talks over the 5-10 year strategic programme for co-operation they signed in December last year. Chief executive of Ofcom, Sharon White, told the BBC one option was “the structural separation” of Opeanreach from BT, although this was one of four possible options being weighed up.

The warnings about common household devices causing service interruptions are nothing new, although consumers may not think of them as the reason a Wi-Fi signal goes down, says a white paper released by Cisco. These include: checking the box for the maximum size of fuse to be used, switching them off when not in the room, avoiding letting the bulbs touch anything that can burn easily and taking care not to overload sockets. Since the country has, in fact, de-industrialised under the Zuma administrations — the rapidly declining steel industry stands out — it is of concern that his govern-ment appears to have outsourced SA’s manufacturing trajectory to central control by China. Wireless “repeaters” such as the Netgear WN3000RP Universal Wi-Fi Range Extender can boost range – plug into a wall (say upstairs), then log in via PC with the password, and it extends Wi-Fi network so people can browse etc in bedroom Powerline internet connectors, are worth having even if your wi-fi’s NOT on the blink, just to get the speeds you’ll need for streaming music and video without stutter. TECHNICAL terms for financial instruments and how they’re used conjured up some interesting mental images with the Rand Water Board’s latest notification on the JSE’s Stock Exchange News Service. • Do you have juicy gossip from the world of business or politics?

Openreach is run at arm’s length by BT, providing and maintaining the infrastructure for the UK’s broadband network while the different operators lease the lines that lead into homes. BT has said previously that it is the only company with enough scale to maintain the country-wide infrastructure, but rivals have claimed the company could either increase prices unilaterally or offer customers to its own service faster speeds, although this is protected by regulations.

The company has already been censured by Ofcom over the EE merger, which was approved in October, when it was revealed £1.7m of Openreach’s revenues was used to fund the deal. That’s because Wi-Fi’s spectrum is on the unlicensed “industrial, scientific and medical” radio band, and shares similar frequencies with a range of other devices. A running microwave oven, for example, uses microwaves at a frequency of around 2.4 GHz, which is in the same band as Wi-Fi, which makes it a virtual black hole for Wi-Fi signals, the Guardian notes. Other common offenders include speakers, water pipes — which can absorb energy from the radio waves that carry wireless Internet and even household insulation, which can also absorb the signals coming through the walls.

To fix many of these problems, you can try switching the channel that the router is broadcasting on (often done via software made by the Internet provider or the router’s manufacturer) and using equipment that broadcasts on the less widely-used 5 GHz band.

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