December 4, 2015
Christmas lights may slow your WiFi
The lights are all strung up, and now the Christmas tree, the mantel and the windows glow with holiday cheer. But now you’ve noticed that your Internet connection seems slower, and your cell phone calls are cutting in and out.
Those pretty lights could be the culprit, according to the Washington Post. They may be interfering with your WiFi network.
“On Tuesday (Dec. 2), Ofcom — a British agency similar to the Federal Communications Commission — named holiday lights as one of many electronic devices that can trip up your Internet connection. The agency has released a new app to check for interference that, alas, is only available in Britain,” according to the Post.
“How do lights affect a WiFi network? Apparently the wiring in the lights can add to the radio frequency interference in your home, which in turn could confound the signals from your router. Lights aren’t the only culprit, however — the same is true of many other devices. Microwaves, older Bluetooth devices, baby monitors and cordless phones all get a mention in a Cisco white paper from 2007 outlining common reasons for WiFi interference. Many Internet providers see complaints spike around the holidays, since networks can get congested when you’re all gathered for a family meal — but lights may be a contributing factor. ”
The Post has these tips for improving your WiFi connection that work year-round:
- Move electronics away from your router if you find that you’re dropping your connection or losing speed.
- If you don’t have a password on your home network, add one. This will increase both your speed and your security. Your neighbors may be using your network without your knowledge.
- Change the channel on your router. As with a radio, your router can broadcast over multiple channels, and switching this can help you avoid interference. Go to your router’s settings from any machine connected to the network, which you can find by typing your router’s IP address into the part of your browser where you normally type in Web addresses.