Wi-Fi and Bluetooth interference

How can you minimize wireless interference that causes slower performance or disconnects you from the Wi-Fi network?

Although there are many reasons why your Wi-Fi connection can be slower than expected or your connection drops periodically, there are several things you should check to ensure the problem isn’t in the room with you. When we look at sources of Wi-Fi interference or poor signal strength we often think it is due to poor Wi-Fi design. While that can be a cause, often the problem is much closer to home (literally, the problem is in the room with you).

What can cause Wi-Fi interference? The following is a list of devices that often cause interference with your Wi-Fi connection.

1) Microwave ovens- using a microwave oven near your computer or cell phone can cause interference depending on what frequency your devices are using.

2) Wireless speakers- wireless speakers that operate in either the 2.4 or 5 GHz band will cause interference.

3) Cordless phones- many cordless phones operate in the 2.4 GHz and some of the 5 GHz range. These devices often frequency hop between channels to reduce the amount of interference they cause.

4) Wireless radio- wireless radio and video transmitters are another common source.

5) Other wireless devices- other devices they can cause interference include wireless cameras, baby monitors, wireless keyboards, wireless mice and a neighbor’s Wi-Fi device are sources of interference.

6) Wireless printers- this is one of the most common sources of interference on campus. Most of the Wi-Fi printers use 2.4 GHz and essentially create their own mini network right in your room. This causes contention with the campus Wi-Fi network and ultimately reduces the performance of the Wi-Fi in your room and nearby areas.

7) USB 3.0 has been identified to cause interference in the 2.4 GHz band. The industry is aware of the problem and they are attempting to be proactive in reducing the impact from devices that use USB 3.0.

Where you are in a building can also affect Wi-Fi performance. In metal, concrete or brick-lined rooms the wireless signal is much weaker than if you are in a room surrounded by glass, wood, or other synthetic material. Wi-Fi design is critical to ensure proper coverage in those difficult locations. Wi-Fi is here to stay but for us to be able to maximize its capabilities we must proactively help ourselves by reducing potential problems in the areas where we use it most.