Common Causes of Wi-Fi Interference

We all know that feeling. You’re right in the middle of doing something important on your phone, tablet, or laptop when all of a sudden… your Wi-Fi cuts out! What gives?

There are a surprising number of things that can cause your Wi-Fi connection to slow down, even when your internet connection is strong and stable. Let’s look at some of the common causes of Wi-Fi interference.

Wi-Fi Signal: The Basics

In layman’s terms, your Wi-Fi connection enables your electronic devices to share data and communicate via radio waves. The Wi-Fi signal is free-ranging and isn’t tethered to your device via cables, which means that the waves have to travel through your home’s wireless router to get where they’re going. But even the most powerful Wi-Fi connection has its limitations. 

Imagine that your signal’s reach is like trying to talk to someone in a different room. In ideal conditions, your voice will travel loud and clear and reach its destination without a problem. But with poor conditions – like dense, soundproof walls, the TV blaring in the next room, or the sound of other people talking – your voice can easily get lost or drowned out altogether.

So what is the root cause of these so-called ‘poor conditions’?

Barriers to Good Wi-Fi Signal

Something is standing in the way, literally! Remember when we talked about ‘dense, soundproof walls’ preventing your voice from traveling? Well, the same thing happens with radio waves—especially when you use a 5 GHz network.

  • Thick walls, especially ones made from reinforced concrete, brick-faced masonry, and dense timber, are a challenge for Wi-Fi signals to permeate.
  • Metal – if you keep your router inside a metal cabinet, take it out and store it elsewhere. 
  • Radiant floor heating may feel great, but it poses a problem for Wi-Fi, especially if it’s traveling through multiple levels in your home.
  • Water may stall your Wi-Fi signal, especially if it has to travel through, say, a giant aquarium.
  • Next to your television is not the best spot to stow your router! Try somewhere else.

Other Devices

Your microwave oven may be co-opting your Wi-Fi signal! Both devices operate on a 2.4 GHz wavelength, but a microwave oven may actually be more powerful than your router and can disrupt and slow your connectivity. There is a similar problem with using Bluetooth devices, although this is caused by a phenomenon called ‘frequency hopping.’

Blame the Neighbors

Surprisingly, your neighbors’ Wi-Fi connection can disrupt the capacity of your own, especially if you live in close quarters like an apartment or a townhouse.

The Disruption is Coming from Inside the House

If there are multiple routers in your own home, the networks may be competing with one another. This can ultimately slow down the connection.

Wi-Fi interference is a major pain, but it doesn’t have to be. Contact us today to make sure you get the most of your high-speed internet from S&T.